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Fleet Briefing: Ford Partners with Dow; CNG for Veolia, Waste Connections and Hertz

Ford Motor Company is partnering with Dow Automotive Systems to research the use of advanced carbon fiber composites to reduce weight in high-volume vehicles. If the development effort is successful, carbon fiber components may begin appearing on new Ford vehicles in the latter part of this decade, Green Car Congress said.

Ford is aiming to cut the weight of new cars and trucks by up to 750 pounds (340 kg) by the end of the decade, as a key component of its strategy to improve fuel efficiency. While reduced weight will benefit the efficiency of every Ford vehicle, it’s particularly critical to improving the range of plug-in hybrid and battery electric vehicles.

Veolia ES Solid Waste debuted Indiana’s first fleet of compressed natural gas (CNG) powered refuse trucks in its Evansville service area. Indiana-based manufacturer Autocar built the chassis for 20 of the trucks and Kenworth manufactured eight roll-off trucks for Veolia’s new fleet. All will service more than 24,000 residential and commercial customers, Veolia said.

In addition being more environmentally friendly – CNG produces 29 percent less carbon dioxide than oil and is 90 percent cleaner than diesel in its natural state, Veolia said – the new trucks run about 15 percent (8-10 decibels) quieter than trucks powered with diesel engines.

Texas-based Waste Connections says about a fifth of its collection fleet will be powered by compressed natural gas in five years, and a fifth of its new truck purchases this year or early next year also will be CNG-powered, Waste & Recycling News reports.

Waste Connections wants to convert truck fleets in franchised markets on the West Coast where there is either a financial incentive or request from local municipalities to take such action, CEO Ronald J. Mittlestaedt told stock analysts. In addition to some vehicles in Oklahoma City, the company is working to place CNG trucks in California and Washington, Mittlestaedt said.

In a pilot program for Hertz Corporation’s CNG airport rentals program, the company will begin renting eight CNG Honda Civics and two CNG GMC Yukons at Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City in early May, Green Car Congress writes.

Last year, Hertz introduced CNG vehicles through Hertz On Demand at Oklahoma State University. The company also uses CNG buses at its Los Angeles International Airport location and rents CNG vehicles in both Italy and the U.K.

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