The Propane Education & Research Council sees a bright year ahead, with an anticipated doubling of sales due to more engine platforms, more certified engines, and more manufacturing resources. That’s the word from PERC’s new director of autogas development, Mike Taylor.
Taylor told F&F that the industry is exploring new niches for propane autogas in Class 7 vehicles, to build on the current market offerings in Class 2 through 6 vehicles.
“This will provide us with school buses, vehicles for propane marketers like cylinder trucks, and delivery vehicles,” he says. In the future is a bi-fuel option with gasoline and diesel.
PERC worked with Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp to develop a factory-installed propane (or LPG, for liquefied petroleum gas) engine for the medium-duty truck market. FCCC’s S2G was unveiled at the Work Truck Show earlier this year. FCCC partnered with Powertrain Integration and CleanFuel USA for the LPG injection module for the 8.0-liter engine from General Motors. Expect to see a limited preproduction run of S2G chassis in the fourth quarter of this year, with full production slated for the first quarter of 2013.
Taylor says this Freightliner system will go into a Thomas Built Type C school bus next year. “It gives us two of the top three manufacturers in the school transportation industry, which is huge.”
The biggest barrier for the industry continues to be the time it takes to certify engines and OEMs’ product changes. “We’re at mercy of manufacturers and engines they elect to install in their chassis. Our game plan revolves around the engines they select for certification.”
Long term, Taylor says, the industry hopes to overcome those barriers by having propane autogas systems directly installed into OEM platforms off the OEM assembly line.
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