‘Fuel-Agnostic’ Firm Nevertheless Finds Itself Promoting Autogas
Michigan’s Power Solutions International continues to promote its road-capable engines, and although the firm insists it is “fuel-agnostic,” there is a decided whiff of propane as the company gears up for the 2014 edition of the NTEA Work Truck show in Indianapolis March 4-7.
PSI will display a Capacity of Texas truck powered by its wholly-proprietary 8.8-liter engine – propane fueled. Propane, says marketing chief Jeremy Lessaris, is emerging as the alternative fuel of choice among operators, many of whom were initially drawn to alt fuels by natural gas.
With propane, he says, “The payback is a lot quicker and the infrastructure is a lot more sound.” He sees propane autogas as a “bridge” fuel, he told F&F, allowing operators to save money and reduce pollution today, as the natural gas infrastructure develops.
Gasoline or Propane or CNG
PSI offers engines that run on either of the gaseous fuel alternatives, or conventional fuel. “We don’t care whether its gasoline or propane or CNG,” Lessaris says. PSI promotes a wide range of engines that run on any of them. Broadly speaking, its product range runs from 0.97-liter engines to (as of this past November) 61-liter engines for industrial applications.
The online grocery service Peapod is testing both propane and CNG versions of PSI’s 4.8- and 6.0-liter GM-based engines in its delivery vans, Lessaris says.
Helping maintain economies of scale is a multi-year strategic supply agreement, disclosed just last month, from forklift manufacturer Nacco Materials Handling, for PSI’s new 2.0- and 2.4-liter engines, as well as the firm’s 4.3- and 5.7-liter power systems, for one- to 8-ton forklift applications. PSI says it “specifically designed all four systems to run on propane,” and collaborated with Nacco on a newly certified compressed natural gas system.
PSI’s Mitsubishi-based 2.0- and 2.4-liter engines were certified by both the U.S. EPA and California for propane and CNG in 2012.
Engines for Amp-Workhorse
PSI’s 2.0-liter engine is being used for the new “E-Gen” range extender just unveiled by Amp Trucks/Workhorse (F&F, February 7) for its battery electric trucks. Amp is using larger PSI engines for its gasoline, propane and CNG trucks too.
PSI expects certification soon for the 8.8-liter engine powering the Capacity truck to be shown in Indianapolis – first for propane, with natural gas approval to follow, Lessaris says. The engine is designed to fit in vehicles that formerly used GM’s discontinued 8.1-liter engine, but with 20% more power and a 15% efficiency gain.
It’s a pure PSI design, “our tooling from the ground up,” Lessaris says.
PSI and Capacity announced their collaboration at MATS, the Mid-America Trucking Show, nearly one year ago, at which time they showed the 8.8-liter engine in a TJ5000 tractor, and emphasized “the attractive economics of natural gas.”
Power Solutions International, Inc. (NASDAQ:PSIX), which reported net sales of $176.3 million for the first three quarters of of 2013, is to release its 2013 totals late Thursday, February 27.
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Source: Fleets & Fuels interview