HHP Summit 2017

Utilimaster

Landi Renzo USA Goes to Work

March 9, 2013 in CNG, NGVs by Rich Piellisch  |  No Comments

Nearly Half a Dozen Vehicles at the Work Truck Show

Once again, Landi Renzo USA was all over the NTEA Work Truck Show in Indianapolis, with its compressed natural gas upfits visible on even more vehicles than last year (F&F, March 9, 2012).
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Utilimaster-BAF CNG F-59 Strip Chassis

March 8, 2013 in CNG, Companies, NGVs by Rich Piellisch  |  No Comments

Michigan Upfitter Becomes ‘Exclusive and Preferred Installer’

BAF and Utilimaster have a new preferred and exclusive installer agreement by which Utilimaster will handle upfits of Ford F- 59 walk-in van strip chassis with natural gas fuel systems from BAF.
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Azure Dynamics Files for Bankruptcy

March 28, 2012 in Electric Drive, EVs, Hybrids by rich  |  No Comments

item updated late March 29

‘We Can Come Back Stronger’

Citing tight finances, government demands for further information related to a planned stock offering, and a lack of time, Azure Dynamics (Toronto:AZD) gave word March 26 that it’s asked for protection from creditors via the Supreme Court of British Columbia under Canada’s Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act. Azure said too that it will file “a voluntary petition under Chapter 15 of title 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code to seek recognition and enforcement in the United States of the Initial Order requested in the CCAA proceedings.”

The stock offering has been be abandoned.

A pure battery electric Transit Connect with drivetrain by Azure Dynamics was among the alt fuel vehicles shown by Ford at this year's Work Truck Show in Indianapolis.

A pure battery electric Transit Connect with drivetrain by Azure Dynamics was among the alt fuel vehicles shown by Ford at this year’s Work Truck Show in Indianapolis.

Azure has laid off approximately 120 of 160 workers and has closed down operations in Michigan, Boston and the UK.

“We had to retreat back to British Columbia,” says marketing VP Mike Elwood, “and begin the process of restructuring.” Azure will do so, he told F&F, with a team of about 30.

“We’re going to be lean,” he says. All of the firm’s core engineers, Elwood adds, have been retained.

Production meanwhile has ceased, including the battery electric Transit Connect by AM General and Balance hybrids by Utilimaster. Other major creditors include Ford, Johnson Controls, and Britain’s Lotus.

Future projects, like the planned development of plug-in hybrid electric versions of Ford trucks, are for now in limbo.

‘We Need to Get the Ship Turned’

“We’re not going to abandon anything, but we need to get the ship turned,” Elwood says.

He insists that he’s optimistic, that Azure’s failure to secure approval for the new stock offering forced a move that might well have been necessary anyway.

“We can come back stronger than we were before,” he says, and “grow the business in proportion to sales.”

“The decision to abandon the offering and commence CCAA proceedings comes after several weeks of formal and informal communications with staff of the Ontario Securities Commission,” Azure CEO Scott Harrison said in a release. Azure said that OSC indicated it would not approve the offering, despite the inclusion of detailed risk factor information in the proposed prospectus language.


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Isuzu Commercial Truck for Gaseous Fuels

March 9, 2012 in CNG, NGVs, Propane by rich  |  No Comments

CNG with Landi Renzo and Likely Others,
Propane with Bi-Phase, both via Utilimaster

Isuzu Trucks is venturing into compressed natural gas and propane, tapping Utilimaster to do upfits using 6.0-liter spark engines from GM in its Class 4 NPR HD trucks.

Isuzu displayed a Schwan Foods NPR with propane system by Bi-Phase Technologies at the at the Work Truck Show in Indianapolis.

Isuzu displayed a Schwan Foods NPR with propane system by Bi-Phase Technologies at the at the Work Truck Show in Indianapolis.

“We are now stepping into a new world,” says John Marshall, senior sales and marketing VP with Utilimaster. “We are going to install the upfit system at the same place we assemble the truck,” he said at the Work Truck Show in Indianapolis last week. Utilimaster is a unit of Spartan Motors, which handles Isuzu vehicles in Charlotte, Mich. The firm is best known for truck bodies. Elsewhere in the alt fuels world, it does bodies for Azure Dynamics, Electric Vehicles International and Smith Electric Vehicles, Marshall says.

Beyond Schwan’s Now for Hugely Experienced Bi-Phase Technologies

A CNG-fueled Isuzu NPR with Landi Renzo USA fuel system was shown in Indianapolis by Utilimaster, while Isuzu displayed a Schwan Foods NPR with propane system by Bi-Phase Technologies, the Schwan Food subsidiary that’s outfitted some 10,000 Schwan’s trucks – with upwards of 5,000 still in service.

Now that Bi-Phase system is being offered to other fleets, Utilimaster will take advantage of some 350 existing Schwann’s facilities for aftermarket service, Marshall says. Some, he told F&F, will be able to perform conversions of existing vehicles to gaseous fuels. These would be located near ship-through centers.

Utilimaster displayed a CNG-fueled Isuzu NPR with Landi Renzo USA fuel system at the at the Work Truck Show in Indianapolis.

Utilimaster displayed a CNG-fueled Isuzu NPR with Landi Renzo USA fuel system at the at the Work Truck Show in Indianapolis.

The dedicated-propane Bi-Phase system will be available for other vehicles too, says the Schwan Food unit’s John Roberts. A Bi-Phase system for Ford trucks with the 5.4-liter engine is already certified with both the U.S. EPA and in California, he says, with approvals for the 6.8-liter engine for larger trucks like the F-550 coming soon.


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