Posted by: carboncreditsusa | December 9, 2008

Daimler Trucks North America Delivers New Liquefied Natural Gas-Powered Trucks






“We believe one way to reduce emissions may be a mixed fleet approach that adopts hybridization, as well as natural gas and clean drive diesel along the path to zero-emission mobility,”

Daimler aims to be a major player in the green truck movement. The manufacturer plans to spend $20 billion in research and development by 2010, said Chris Patterson, president and CEO of Daimler Trucks NA. The company is developing Class 3 through Class 8 NG-powered vehicles, Freightliner diesel hybrids and fuel cell and battery-drive systems.

Cal Cartage is taking delivery of 132 Sterling Set-back 113-inch, 320-hp daycabs by the end of the year as part of a long-term plan to make trucks under its control greener. The company is exchanging the 2010-compliant LNG trucks for the oldest, most heavily polluting trucks driven by its owner-operators.

Most of the cost of the trucks is being provided by about $12 million in U.S. Environmental Protection Agency grants and a state program. Owner-operators will pay about $500 a month under a seven-year lease before gaining ownership of the vehicles.

“We have a program with a bank that takes the balance of the payments and leases the truck to the drivers,” said Bob Lively, vice president of strategic planning for Cal Cartage, which contracts with about 1,200 owner-operators. In return the bank obtains a federal tax credit for purchasing alternative fuel equipment.

After the LNG trucks are distributed, Lively said, the company plans to purchase about an additional 300 Daimler trucks that will be either LNG or compressed natural gas-powered. The Daimler trucks, scheduled for delivery beginning in the second quarter of 2009, might include Sterlings, Freightliner Model M2-112 trucks, or the Freightliner Columbia, as Lively prefers for its larger cab. The company also hopes to deploy another 25 Sterling trucks for its operations at the Port of Oakland.

Cal Cartage and other companies are moving from Sterling to Freightliner because Daimler is dropping the Sterling brand and ending manufacturing in March. Daimler is gearing up to transfer the NG technology to Freightliner.

“We really like the Sterling because it stepped up with the [Westport] ISL G engines when nobody else did,” Lively said.

Lively said owner-operators will have a choice of the Freightliner NG model or a diesel truck, although he will try to convince them to choose the near-zero emission NG truck. Operator payments will be greater with the diesel truck because less government funding will be available for it. He said he didn’t know how much the operator share of the cost will be with the Freightliner trucks. Owner-operators who buy into the NG program go to the head of the line for load assignments.

Other drayage companies at the California ports and elsewhere will be watching Cal Cartage’s experience with NG-powered vehicles, Lively said. “We stepped up and took the lead,” he said.
The future probably will be with CNG because of the lower fuel cost, the availability of more fueling stations than LNG and the ability to process CNG locally. Lively said only one LNG station with two nozzles is available at the ports.

The Daimler-Cal Cartage program, introduced at a media demonstration Monday at the Long Beach port, is part of a $1 billion ports of Los Angeles-Long Beach Clean Trucks program to get older trucks transporting containers off the road. Pre-1989 trucks were banned Oct. 1, while pre-1993 and un-retrofitted 1994 to 2003 trucks will be eliminated by Jan. 1, 2010. By 2012, all 2006 and older trucks working the ports will be shut down.

Daimler also is delivering another 100 NG trucks to be used by licensed motor carriers and owner-operators working directly with the ports.

Another drayage company at the port, Total Transportation Services, is operating Kenworth T800 combination diesel and LNG-powered trucks.


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