Daimler Trucks division Mitsubishi Fuso unveiled a Class 4 concept truck powered by compressed natural gas, or CNG, Wednesday at the 2019 Advanced Clean Transportation Expo in Long Beach, Calif.
The vehicle is called the Fuso FE CNG concept truck. It is intended to serve medium-duty functions such as Class 3 through Class 5 food delivery, cargo shipment and construction.
Fuso built the FE CNG truck in partnership with alternative-energy provider Agility Fuel Solutions. It is based on the Fuso FE Gas truck unveiled in March at the Work Truck Show in Indianapolis.
Agility provided two side-mounted CNG fuel systems and other components that feed compressed natural gas into the 6-liter V8 engine from General Motors. The new fuel systems deliver a maximum driving range of 190 miles.
The partnership with Agility delivers a reliable CNG option to Fuso customers, said Jasmin Kluge, project manager for alternative fuels at Fuso.
“The additional benefit is its total cost-of-ownership advantage: lower fuel cost, less maintenance, less emissions and less noise, making this a win-win for truck fleets’ bottom line and environmental stewardship,” Kluge said.
Fuso took steps to ensure customers experience an easy transition from gas or diesel to compressed natural gas. The company installed a familiar fuel gauge instead of the “pressure valve” normally used on CNG vehicles. It also ensured the new system did not add too much weight to affect the vehicle’s overall payload capacity.
Some fleets prefer CNG trucks because they produce much lower emissions than comparable gasoline and diesel vehicles. The FE CNG reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 15-20 percent, according to Fuso. It also features decreased amounts of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide emissions. The system is also simple compared to the complex exhaust treatment required of all new diesel trucks.
The use of compressed natural gas in medium-duty trucks has the potential to increase, according to Fuso. Currently, 160,000 CNG trucks operate in the U.S., and more than 1,600 refueling stations are available. Fuso is eyeing both the U.S. and Canada for potential sales.
Fuso and Agility will conduct tests and market studies to determine next steps. Agility could provide an aftermarket CNG system by 2020.
“CNG is an excellent option for return-to-base and urban-delivery fleets, with an attractive total cost of ownership,” said Brad Garner, president of powertrain systems for Fuso.