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Fleet Briefing: CNG In A Box, Chevy Volt Hiatus, Coca-Cola BioMethane Fleet, VIA eREV for Verizon

GE and Chesapeake Energy have announced a multi-year collaboration that aims to develop and bring to market compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied natural gas (LNG) transportation as well as natural gas home-fueling technology, the companies said. The deal seeks to combine GE’s oil and gas technology portfolio with Chesapeake’s experience in developing fueling technology to lower the ownership and operational costs of natural gas vehicle (NGV) fueling stations, the companies said. Beginning this fall, GE will provide more than 250 modular and standardized CNG compression stations – so-called CNG In A Box units – for NGV infrastructure brought to market by Peake Fuel Solutions, a Chesapeake affiliate. A vehicle using CNG can reduce annual fuel costs up to 40 percent, assuming 25,700 miles per year driven, gasoline priced at $3.50/gallon, and CNG at $2.09/gasoline gallon equivalent, the companies said.

With the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid not meeting targets, GM plans to stop production for five weeks beginning later this month rather than discount the cars. The GM Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant will halt production from March 19 until April 23 to keep the proper level of inventory, Business Week said. Despite a January report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that the Volt poses no more fire risk than other cars, publicity surrounding Volt fires last year hurt car sales, Business Week said. Sales of the Volt in February more than tripled from a year earlier to 1,023, but the rate is below what’s needed to achieve the goal of 45,000 U.S. deliveries this year. GM missed its target of 10,000 Volt sales last year, finishing 2011 with 7,671 deliveries, Business Week said.

Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) has invested in a fleet of 14 gas Iveco Stralis vehicles and a biogas refueling station due to be operational in June. The new CCE gas fleet will consume about 168 tons of biomethane, saving over 300 tons of CO2, 1590 kg of NOx and 33 kg of PM emissions per year, the Centre of Excellence for Low Carbon and Fuel Cell Technologies said. The CCE purchase comes after the beverage bottler and distributor contracted Cenex to test and compare the emissions, fuel consumption, economics, reliability and operability of a 26-ton Iveco Stralis gas vehicle with a diesel Stralis vehicle.

Verizon and VIA Motors will collaborate to develop and trial plug-in electric pick-up trucks and cargo vans using VIA’s extended range electric vehicle (eREV) technology, and evaluate the technology for possible wide scale use in Verizon’s fleet, the companies said. In independent testing, VIA’s eREV pick-up trucks have demonstrated up to 100 mpg in typical fleet driving.  VIA anticipates the Verizon electrified work vehicles should improve fleet fuel economy up to 300 percent while cutting emissions in half or more, the company said. VIA’s eREV power train technology have up to 40 miles of all-electric range using advanced technology lithium ion batteries, with the added capability to drive unlimited additional miles using VIA’s onboard electric generator.


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