Green Operations

It IS Easy Being Green

January 2012, Green Fleet Magazine - Feature

by Chris Wolski

Alternative-fuel and fuel-efficient vehicles are increasingly becoming fleet mainstays — electric vehicles and hybrids are a common sight in a growing number of fleets. While OEM alternative-fuel and fuel-efficient vehicle availability is improving, there are still gaps for fuels such as propane autogas and compressed natural gas (CNG). GM and Honda both offer CNG models, but, only for select models.

This doesn’t mean a fleet can’t green its footprint with one of these alternative fuels. Quite the contrary. There are numerous second-stage manufacturers and aftermarket suppliers who can convert gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles to a variety of alternative-fuel options, delivering the same performance with the benefits of a lower total cost of ownership.

Liquefied Petroleum Gas

Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), also known as propane autogas, is produced from both natural gas and crude oil refining, and is among the most commonly used fuels in the world. Of all of the alternative fuels on the market, it has the largest public refueling infrastructure. Among LPG’s biggest benefits for fleets is its lower cost compared to gasoline — as much as 30 percent to 40 percent cheaper in some markets. In addition, most of it is produced domestically.

While transit fleets are among the largest users of propane autogas, automobiles and light- and medium-duty trucks are increasingly becoming popular platforms for this inexpensive fuel.

GM 4.8 V-8
GM 4.8 V-8

Alliance AutoGas offers a dedicated LPG system for a variety of OEM vehicles, including, but not limited to, 6.0L V-8 GM engines for the model-years 2011 and 2012 and 4.8L V-8 GM engines for MY-2008 to 2012. According to the organization, its system can cut emissions by about 20 percent. Alliance AutoGas can also provide a fleet with a fueling infrastructure for no cost with a fuel contract.

CleanFUEL USA specializes in liquid propane injected engine technology for GM fleet and commercial vehicles. Currently, it offers propane autogas systems for a variety of GM medium-duty and transit vehicles, particularly the GM 8.1L C4500 to C8500 models. The company’s most recent offering includes a factory option for propane autogas in a G4500 Cutaway Chassis equipped with a 6.0L engine which is widely used for school bus, shuttle bus, and a variety of vocational and commercial applications. The company expects to offer a propane autogas option for other GM products in the future, including the 6.0L C2500/3500 Series Chassis Cab, 6.0L G3500 Cutaway-Van Chassis, and GM pickup trucks.

GM 4500
GM 4500

The company’s LPG fuel system is backed by GM’s five-year/100,000-mile transferable powertrain warranty. In the current 6.0L V-8 configuration, the system delivers 324 hp and 373 lb.-ft. of torque. It is available in two fuel-capacity configurations. The three-tank configuration has a 35-gallon capacity with an estimated 315-mile range. The four-tank configuration has a 513-mile range. The company also offers fuel dispensing equipment, solving the fueling infrastructure problems that can often accompany a move to an alternative fuel. The company also offers conversions for non-GM products, including the 6.0L Workhorse W42 Chassis.

Icom’s JTG Liquid Injection Propane (Autogas) System enables standard injection (JTG II) or direct Injection gasoline (JTGhp) and diesel engines (JTG-Dynamic) to deliver power, torque, and drivability comparable to gasoline, according to the company. The patented Icom JTG system is EPA Certified for over 50 fleet platforms, and is Canadian IGAC certified for North American markets.

Custom solutions are available for fleets. The vehicle performance is comparable to the original fuel system and, according to the company, throttle response is immediate and direct since the Icom JTG system does not Interrupt or interface with the original vehicle ECU, which directly commands the Icom propane injectors. According to the company, the benefits of the Icom JTG II liquid injection system also include increased fuel efficiency and reduced maintenance due to the OEM-quality components utilized in the simple-to-install plug-and-play system. Icom has National Distribution across the United States and Canada. The company also offers a bi-fuel LPG system as well and can help fleets install a fueling infrastructure and fuel supply.

RGR Alternative Fuels offers dedicated propane autogas conversions for Ford’s MY-2009 to 2011 4.6L Crown Victoria, Police Interceptor, Lincoln Town Car/Limo, and Grand Marquis. The company’s dedicated LPG auto conversion kit is a non-invasive, plug-and-play fuel-injection delivery system that uses OEM injector ports, eliminating the need to tap the intake, and specifically designed clips for injectors and the engine control unit (ECU) to minimize wire cutting, splicing, and soldering. The system includes a 40-gallon fuel tank and offers mileage and horsepower comparable to gasoline. According to the company, its system reduces greenhouse gases by up to 35 percent. The system is EPA certified and OBD-II compliant and comes with a two-year/60,000-mile warranty for parts. In addition, the company can help fleets install a fueling infrastructure at no out-of-pocket cost.

Currently, ROUSH CleanTech offers propane-autogas conversion systems for Ford’s F-Series light-duty and medium-duty trucks and E-Series vans. The company expects to add the Ford F-450, F-550, F-650, and F-59 to its conversion roster in the future.

Ford F-150
Ford F-150

Among the advantages of the ROUSH CleanTech system for these Ford vehicles is that it allows them to deliver the same horsepower, torque, towing capacity, and warranty protection as their gasoline configurations but with lower emissions. According to the company, its system reduces nitrogen oxide by 20 percent, carbon monoxide by 60 percent, and greenhouse gases by up to 24 percent. It also generates fewer particulate emissions. ROUSH CleanTech propane-autogas vehicles are EPA- and CARB-certified.

The propane-autogas system is available for the F-250 and F-350 5.4L V-8 and 6.2L V-8 with either a 4x2 or 4x4 drivetrain along with the E-150, E-250, and E-350 5.4L V-8. There are two fuel configurations available. The company also offers a fuel system for the Ford E-450 dual rear wheel cutaway equipped with the 6.8L V10 engine. For the MY-2009 through 2010 F-250 and F-350, the in-bed configuration has a capacity of 50 usable gallons and a 23-usable gallon capacity for the under-bed configuration, and 43-usable gallon in-bed and 22-usable gallon under-bed tank for MY-2012. The E-Series vans offer a mid-ship propane autogas tank with 25-usable gallons and the extended range tank, which offers 45-usable gallons.

Ford 5.4L V-8
Ford 5.4L V-8

ROUSH CleanTech maintains Ford’s factory five-year/60,000-mile limited powertrain warranty on vehicles equipped with the liquid propane autogas system. The company can also help fleets establish a refueling infrastructure.

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