Freightliner Trucks and Westport Innovations have scheduled cross-country trips in compressed natural gas-powered trucks to prove the availability of the fuel out on the road.
The trips are meant to show that the infrastructure to support CNG is rapidly developing and long-haul operations are feasible.
Freightliner drivers will run a Cascadia 113 CNG daycab tractor, featuring the new Cummins Westport ISX12-G engine, coast-to-coast, from Long Beach, Calif., to Washington, D.C., from May 17th to the 24th. It will pull a 53-foot trailer carrying at 30,000-pound load, the company said.
From May 21 to 24, a Westport Innovations team will take a new Ford F-250 equipped with a WiNG bi-fuel system from Plymouth, Mich., to New York City. Though the truck can run on either CNG or gasoline, the team plans to make the trip almost entirely on natural gas.
"These days, CNG at the pump is about half the price of diesel or gasoline," said a Westport spokesperson in a statement.
"While there are currently fewer natural gas fueling stations than traditional gas stations, the numbers are growing and with planning, it's possible to do a long-haul trip entirely on natural gas."
Organizations like CNGnow.com post maps showing station locations, and the Westport team will use them to refuel with CNG. Freightliner drivers likewise will use established CNG stations, a representative said.
The F-250 WiNG will be shown at several Ford dealers and fuel suppliers along the way:
- Valley Ford Truck Sales, Cleveland, Ohio, May 21 from noon to 3 p.m.
- SARTA-Clean Energy, Canton, Ohio, May 21 from 4 to 5 p.m.
- Allegheny Ford Truck Sales, Pittsburgh, Pa., May 22 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
- John Kennedy Ford, Pottstown, Pa., May 23 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
On reaching its destination, the van will be displayed at Times Square, New York City, on May 24 from 1 to 5 p.m.Coast-to-Coast on CNG
The Cascadia CNG trip will "promote Freightliner's latest addition to its natural gas product line by proving a truck can run coast‐to-coast on CNG, which to our knowledge has never been done before," the company said in a statement.
The tour will leave the Alternative Clean Transportation Expo in Long Beach, where it was on display, on Thursday afternoon, May 17, and will arrive in Washington on Thursday, May 24. It will use Interstate 10 and 40 to North Carolina, then I‐85 and I‐95 to Washington, D.C. with stops along the way for customer ride and drives, natural gas education, and giveaways. The schedule:
- Friday, May 18, Freightliner of Arizona, Tolleson;
- Monday, May 21, ATC Freightliner, Oklahoma City;
- Tuesday, May 22, ATC Truck Centers of Arkansas, Little Rock; and
- Wednesday, May 23, Neely Coble Co., Nashville.
The tour will also stop at the Daimler Trucks North America corporate office in Fort Mill, S.C.
The company has set up a microsite, www.freightlinergreen.com, where viewers can follow the tour's progress. Drivers will post blog entries, photos and videos. Fuel savings and greenhouse gas reduction estimates will also be featured.
Sponsors of the Freightliner CNG tour include Agility Fuel Systems, Allison Transmission, Cummins Westport, Gladstein, Neandross and Associates; Ryder System; and Trillium USA. The environmental group, Coalition for Clean Air, has endorsed the LA to DC tour, Freightliner said.