FCA US Launches Fleet of 179 Natural Gas-Powered Trucks in Michigan
FCA US announced that it has invested $40 million in FCA Transport, the FCA US-owned truck fleet, to convert its 179 Detroit-based parts-haulers to run on clean-burning CNG rather than diesel fuel. The move gives FCA the largest private fleet of CNG-powered heavy-duty vehicles in the state of Michigan.
“Our transition to CNG reflects the way FCA US attempts to balance our search for profitability with social responsibility and community development, including environmental stewardship,” said Steve Beahm, Senior Vice President – 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.”
FCA Transport, built in 1965, is located in Detroit, just across from the Detroit City Airport. The Company spent $1.8 million to enable the 36,000 sq. ft. maintenance facility to handle the new CNG fleet. The $5 million on-site CNG fueling station was designed and built by TruStar Energy and, according to FCA, is the largest private CNG station in North America.
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 US component facilities. The company expects to experience net fuel cost savings of about 35 percent per year with the CNG-powered fleet. Beyond cost savings, FCA Transport estimates the Detroit fleet’s transition to CNG will reduce significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
FCA Transport’s transformation is a product of our dedicated, engaged workforce and close collaboration with the UAW,” said Marty DiFiore, Head of FCA Transport and Auto Transport Services, FCA US. “Today is the culmination of two years of research and planning, an extensive pilot program of CNG trucks and ongoing training of more than 6,000 hours.”
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.
FCA US offers the Ram 2500 Compressed Natural Gas truck, the industry’s first factory-built pickup powered by CNG.