Each decision maker will have an important motivation to make their fleet fueling decision. Our role in the conversion of your fleet to CNG is to review your fleet fuel decision motivation to find the best solution for you and your fleet. Our expertise is, of course, using compressed natural gas, but we recognize that not every fleet can make the switch to CNG unless it is actually a good economic choice for that company.
Fleet owners that can easily see the economics of less expensive fuel they must also realize an investment payback appropriate for their cash flow and capital resources. Generally speaking, the more miles traveled by the vehicle, the better the economics of switching to CNG and the shorter the payback period on their investment. Part of our assessment is to determine what types of vehicle use are expected.
Understanding the dynamics of the engine operation is critical to making a good assessment for the fleet owner. CNG is quite capable of pulling the load with very little torque differences, whether in bi-fuel or dedicated CNG mode. However, in bi-fuel mode, the engine remains a compression diesel engine for startup and initial acceleration situations. CNG is blended into the chamber once the initial acceleration has been completed. Then CNG assumes the majority fuel role while diesel is used only to ignite the CNG during the compression cycle.
CNG Energy Partners can highly recommend a CNG course of action for vehicles that pull a load to highway speeds and remain at that speed for long periods of time, regardless of the fuel mode. Conversely, the vehicles which routinely are accelerating and then stopping, such as school buses, will be more economical with a dedicated CNG fuel mode system than one with a bi-fuel mode system. Knowing the likely use of the vehicles in the fleet will help us to provide a clear assessment for the owner. Our company’s assessment process takes into consideration industry metrics that relate to successful implementation of CNG and uses models that make calculations of the economic payback and return on investment aspects of the decision.
Our analysis includes much more than simple economics. Assessment is based upon the economics but also involves the locations of destinations and the customer habits that the fleet seeks to service. We will review the needs of the drivers, customers and the fleet owner to help determine to what level the fleet should participate in the CNG fuel choice. In order to do so effectively, CNG Energy Partners will conduct some interview type discussions and will need to review the details of your fleet. In preparing for our assessment process, the fleet owner will need to provide:
- Engine data: Model, Serial number, and Engine Family Code.
- Vehicle data: Model, Year of manufacturer, and VIN.
- Mileage data: Current Odometer reading and actual miles traveled in each of the past two years.
- Fuel consumption data: The amount of fuel used while traveling those two year’s worth of miles. If possible, the actual cost of those gallons of fuel would help define the probable CNG savings for the project.
- Routing: We will need to understand the accustomed driving routes and those that are expected to be used during the life of the CNG project (normally 5-8 years). If there is a grant involved, travel is often only considered “qualified” if it occurs within specific counties.