Industry Headlines

BYD Expands California Facilities

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BYD is expanding its Lancaster, CA, facility in anticipation of increased demand for its electric trucks. The plant, a repurposed coach and bus factory, has been expanded by 40,000 square feet with another 200,000 square feet planned by year’s end.

Already a major force in electric bus manufacturing, BYD says the new trucks will feature similar technology used in the buses: no heavy metals or toxic electrolytes used; high-efficiency, permanent magnet synchronous motors; and regenerative braking extends battery life and reduces brake component wear.

A pilot program between BYD and UPS will see the development of electrified versions of the delivery company’s iconic package trucks.

Cutting CNG Fueling Costs

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Simple-Fill has developed a CNG fueling technology that it claims will reduce the cost of installing fueling infrastructure. According to Work Truck magazine, the technology “would replace a traditional reciprocating piston compressor, known as a recip, that’s used as part of CNG fueling infrastructure. Rather than a recip, Simple-Fill uses a unit that is filled with glycol-based fluid that takes the moisture out of the gas during compression. It replaces the dehydration unit used in a recip. Simple-Fill’s liquid compresses, cools, and dehydrates the natural gas, while eliminating methane leakage.”

Safelite AutoGlass has been using the technology at its Worthington, OH, facility. Simple-Fill’s technology costs about half the price of a recip.

Alkane Hopes to Expand Across North America

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Alkane Truck Company, a South Carolina-based alternative fuel vehicle assembler, announced plans for more than a dozen new facilities in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico over the next three years. The company makes class 7 and 8 trucks, and boasts a model that lowers the costs of manufacturing.

Alkane is working with local economic development officials to identify specific sites for the facilities. Similar to franchise agreements, the company plans to work with local owners to get the facilities up and running.

Shell and Toyota Opening Seven Hydrogen Stations in California

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California is getting seven new hydrogen fueling stations as the result of a partnership between Shell and Toyota. The stations are part of the state’s zero emission vehicles and greenhouse gas reduction program, with 100 more stations expected to open by 2024.

These seven stations join eight being developed by First Element Fuel. Funded in part by the California Energy Commission’s budget of up to $31.7 million for such facilities, the companies are contributing more than $11 million and see hydrogen as an expanding fuel option.

Clean Cities Success Stories Video

Motorweek.org and the Clean Cities Program have a series of “success story” videos that we have been featuring during 2017.

For March, we have two success stories to share. The first describes how St. Landry Parish, LA, turns methane from solid waste into fuel for garbage trucks. The 300 tons of trash generated each day are turned into compressed natural gas at an onsite facility.

See the video at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cVqgAhRjHs4&index=1&list=PLTTHf6mU88szr6_qSXbg_CPRCjnPtzw1

Portland, ME, has been powering many of the city’s buses with natural gas for more than a decade. Currently, 40% of the fleet is powered by CNG, displacing more than 150,000 gallons of diesel each year. As older buses reach the end of their lives, they are replaced with the cleaner CNG models.

Learn more by watching: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jHftlruFR40&list=PLTTHf6mU88szr6_qSXbg_CPRCjnPtzw1-&index=2


NAFTC Updates

The last few weeks have seen NAFTC training sessions in four different parts of the country. Mark Schmidt, national trainer, went to Kenner, LA, to teach the Light Duty CNG Vehicle Technician Training course at the end of February.

At the same time, NAFTC Director Bill Davis returned to northeast Ohio as a featured presenter at a February 24th Earth Day Coalition workshop that covered propane autogas. The workshop is part of a longer series and Davis will return to discuss other AFV issues over the next few months.

Safety was the topic for trainer Chris Womock in Eureka Springs, AR, where he taught the First Responder Safety Training for Alternative Fuel Vehicles for the North Central Texas Council of Governments and Arkansas Clean Cities.

Womock then joined Micheal Smyth, NAFTC assistant director for curriculum development and training, in Tehachapi, CA, to conduct the NAFTC’s First Responder Safety Training for Alternative Fuel Vehicles course with a special emphasis on electric motorcycles and scooters.

With final plans for National AFV Day Odyssey coming together, we would like you to know that it’s not too late to host an event in your community. Check out the Odyssey Update section to learn more!