During a press event held in Detroit, FCA announced their $40 million investment to deploy 179 ‘class 8’ parts hauling trucks from diesel to compressed natural gas (CNG).
“Our transition to CNG reflects the way FCA U.S. attempts to balance our search for profitability with social responsibility and community development, including environmental stewardship,” said Steve Beahm, FCA U.S. Senior Vice President of Supply Chain Management, FCA – North America. “This project was a win-win-win – it offered a solid business case, clear environmental benefits and an opportunity to invest in our Detroit facility and workforce.”
Prior to the changeover, the FCA Transport Detroit fleet used nearly 2.6 million gallons of diesel fuel per year while driving about 16 million miles to deliver parts to assembly plants from suppliers and FCA U.S. component facilities. The company expects to experience net fuel cost savings of about 35% per year with the CNG-powered fleet.
Beyond cost savings, FCA Transport estimates the Detroit fleet’s transition to CNG will reduce CO2 emissions by more than 16,000 tons per year. This decrease is equivalent to the annual carbon dioxide emissions that come from burning more than 17 million pounds of coal, or the reduction of CO2 emissions from the annual energy use of nearly 1,500 homes.
“Today is the culmination of two years of research and planning, an extensive pilot programme of CNG trucks and ongoing training of more than 6,000 hours,” said Marty DiFiore, Head of FCA Transport and Auto Transport Services, FCA U.S. FCA Transport drivers and mechanics participated in extensive hands-on training to prepare them to drive, fuel and maintain the new trucks. It included maintenance, repair and operating courses taught by Cummins, Allison Transmission, Agility Fuel Systems and FCA’s own in-house trainers.
Agility Fuel Systems has worked closely with FCA to provide their latest behind-the-cab fuel system with a capacity of 160 Diesel Gallons Equivalent (DGE) and an operating range of over 600 miles. Agility also took an active role in training their drivers and mechanics at their Detroit facility. “We are excited to see FCA Transport transitioning to CNG, and leading by example in reducing their environmental footprint while reducing their cost of operations. They are demonstrating with their actions their commitment to be great stewards of the environment,” said Scott Lucero, Vice President of Sales for Agility Fuel Systems.