29 April 2012

Alternative Fuel Vehicle News for April 2012

Posted by John Freeland

With the century-long dominance of petroleum-derived fuels in the transportation sector, it’s been tough to bring in and establish alternative technologies for cars and trucks. Here are a few developments from recent articles I’ve found interesting this month:

Electric Cars
Forbes reports in How One Chevrolet Dealer Is Selling 25 Volts a Month that the key to selling the Volt is understanding the nuances of the product and educating the consumer. Salespersons at Serra Chevrolet in Southfield, Michigan use an excel spreadsheet to analyze and demonstrate the cost of purchase and operation of the Volt, compared to conventional cars.

Natural Gas Vehicles
The San Diego Metropolitan Transportation System is buying 53 compressed natural gas (CNG) buses this year. The buses are built by New Flyer, a US-Canadian venture, and the storage tanks are guaranteed for 20 years.

Kwik Trip Sets Up 3-State Natural Gas Fuelling Infrastructure – This retailer has about 400 stores in Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.

Kwik Trip’s ownership and management holds a strong belief that Natural Gas is the vehicle fuel of the future. The company currently operates over twenty natural gas vehicles (NGVs), from light duty vehicles to heavy duty class 8 vehicles… Through Kwik Trips own anchor fleet, they will test, promote and educate Kwik Trip consumers about the benefits of Natural Gas as a vehicle fuel.

Frito-Lay Pledges Shift to Natural Gas Trucking. Frito-Lay is buying 67 CNG trucks for long-haul routes and says it intends to switch to predominantly nat gas. They say they’re saving $2.50 per gallon compared to diesel fuel and reducing greenhouse emissions 23 percent. They’re using 8.9 litre Cummins-Westport engines that can run on CNG, LNG, or biomethane. Frito-Lay also has a fleet of plug-in electric trucks.

Converting to alternative fuels is slow process, but it looks like cost-conscious corporations may be leading the way.