Bobtail, dispensers among Southeast’s autogas highlights

April 17, 2013 By    

Several new propane autogas products were unveiled April 13-15 at the Southeastern Convention & International Propane Expo at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta.

Among the introductions was Roush CleanTech’s autogas system for Ford’s F-650 pickup in the latest of the company’s fleet vehicle options. Todd Mouw, Roush’s vice president of sales and marketing, along with Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) President Roy Willis, debuted the F-650, explaining how the new chassis has a variety of applications, including a light-duty bobtail and a propane cylinder delivery vehicle.

Propane isn’t the only target industry for the F-650, though.

“This will work for food and beverage companies,” says Brian Carney, Roush’s director of marketing. “There is potential for tow truck companies and others.”

Mouw adds that the F-650 has potential for fleet managers operating dump trucks, boom cranes, box trucks, snowplows and spreaders.

The F-650, which has a 6.8-liter, V10 engine, has a 30,000 gross vehicle weight rating. Roush is taking orders for the autogas fuel system now, and production of it will begin in October.

The chassis isn’t designed for full bobtail use, but Carney says he anticipates Ford launching an F-750 in the next three or four years with a bobtail application.

“We’ve seen so much success with fleets and autogas,” Carney says. “It’s really where the future is.”

Bobtail update
An update on the Freightliner S2G bobtail chassis, meanwhile, was given at PERC’s meeting in Atlanta. Bob Harbin, president of Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp., gave a short presentation and answered a few questions about the S2G, whose launch is expected to take place in mid-September – a little more than one year behind schedule.

According to Harbin, Freightliner needs at least 150 orders to officially launch on the bobtail front. Harbin says Freightliner has made significant progress in reaching that 150-chassis mark, but he adds that the company has had to turn down orders because the bobtail won’t be available until after the typical ordering cycle for marketers.

Part of the delay in the launch has been Freightliner’s desire to fully test the S2G in cold- and hot-weather environments, says Curtis Donaldson, CEO and founder of CleanFuel USA.

The S2G was showcased in March at The Work Truck Show in Indianapolis, where Donaldson says those who gave the truck a test-drive raved about its “great turning radius,” its ability to drive like a car and other features.

“I’d like to [produce and sell] 1,500 to 2,000 a year,” Donaldson says. “We’d love to get 50 percent of the bobtail production, but that’s just my personal hope.”

Debut for dispensers
In addition to the S2G, CleanFuel USA showed off two new dispensers in Atlanta: the redesigned CFT Pro 2200, which features an expanded cabinet for easier installation and service, and a Gasboy autogas dispenser that will integrate into existing fleet fueling systems.

“Probably 80 percent of the fleet dispensers out there are Gasboy,” Donaldson says.

He also believes more propane marketers are finally seeing new possibilities for propane through autogas.

“It’s hard for people to see this as a year-round fuel because there are some challenges,” Donaldson says. “But propane can be a year-round fuel. I think people are starting to see there are enough propane vehicles out there and they are starting to believe in autogas.”

About the Author:

Kevin Yanik is the senior editor of LP Gas Magazine. Contact him at kyanik@northcoastmedia.net or 216-706-3724.

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