Natural Gas – Conversions, Vehicles and Technology

Freightliner M2 112 Goes All-Natural

March 2010, Green Fleet Magazine - Feature

by - Also by this author

Studies show an estimated $6,000 can be saved in annual fuel and operating costs per truck with the use of natural gas technology. Freightliner Trucks now offers that option with the new Business Class M2 112 NG chassis, the truckmaker's first natural gas-powered truck.

"The M2 112 is a versatile and hard-working truck, and adding a natural gas option only enhances its efficiency," said Melissa Clausen, director of product marketing for Freightliner Trucks.

Forty of the OEM factory-built M2 112 NG vehicles are currently deployed at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, said Freightliner Western Region Vocational Manager Robert Carrick. The truck is targeted at port operations, natural gas utilities, and municipalities.

EGR Engine Cuts NOx

To reduce emissions, the M2 112 NG, which is mated to an Allison 3000 HS automatic transmission, features the ISL G engine, supplied by Cummins Westport. The 8.9L stoichiometric cooled-exhaust gas recirculation  (EGR) engine lowers nitrogen oxide emissions by 85 percent.

Already meeting 2010 EPA standards, no further technology or aftertreatment is required.

The ISL G, available in ratings up to 320 hp, features a maintenance-free exhaust system with a three-way catalyst. Additionally, Freightliner has designed easy access to the engine. Commonly inspected components are placed within easy technician reach; see-through tanks reduce inspection time, and a removable floor section allows transmission access for hassle-free service.

Aluminum Cab Standard

Featuring a 2,500-square-inch windshield and up to a 55-degree wheel cut, the M2 112 NG provides excellent visibility and maneuverability, according to Freightliner. With frames of up to 3.7 million resisting bending moment (RBM) and 1,200 square-inch radiators, the truck features a lightweight aluminum cab and doors that maximize payload and resist corrosion. The standard aluminum fuel tanks resist rust.

The natural gas-powered medium-duty work truck, available as a truck or tractor with end-of-frame connectors, offers a GVWR from 33,000 lbs to 80,000 lbs. and optional 20,000-lb. capacity front axles and suspensions.

Additionally, customers have the option of spring or air suspension - including TufTrac and AirLiner rear suspensions rated up to 52,000 lbs.
The M2 112 NG model's efficiently designed dashboard features easy-to- read LED backlit gauges with easy-to-reach controls.

An improved blend-air heating and air-conditioning system now comes standard with the vehicle. According to Freightliner, the system fine-tunes temperature control, while three levels of insulation provide extra protection against noise and climate extremes.

Purchasers of the M2 112 NG are under a complete warranty of the vehicle, including the fuel tanks and plumbing.

'Complete' Lineup Planned

"By the end of 2010, Freightliner will have a complete Cummins Westport-powered lineup with configuration options for more than 90-percent of trucks in North America," said Roe East, president of Cummins Westport.

Additionally, Freightliner also offers a compressed natural gas (CNG) version of the M2 112, CNG single axle tractor, 4x2 and 6x2 truck, and vocational configurations.

"The sooner we start developing an infrastructure around the country to use the abundant supplies of natural gas that we have, the better off we all are," said Carrick.

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