Low diesel prices or not, Roush CleanTech is determined to remain competitive with new product offerings that aim to expand market share for the alt fuel technology company.
Roush CleanTech Marketing Manager Chelsea Uphaus hit a list of impressive talking points recently when talking with Hard Working Trucks. First up was their new autogas system for the F-750.
It was hard to miss at ACT Expo last week in Long Beach, Calif. The 33,000-pound GVW truck is a welcome addition to the company’s growing line-up of autogas conversions.
It’s not just the food industry that benefits, Uphaus said, but also those in the propane business who want a heavier hauler for their propane tanks.
“Those are the trucks that deliver fuel,” Uphaus explained. “They have wanted 33,000 GVW just to fit the propane barrel on the truck and so now we have it.”
Roush made headlines recently for selling 155 F-650 autogas trucks to Nestle Waters North America. Uphaus said the news has generated more customer interest.
It’s not just the mission to go green that attracts fleets, Uphaus said, it’s also the fact that the trucks run quieter and cleaner on a more competitively priced fuel.
For instance, Nestle reports that propane autogas, a domestically produced fuel, will cost the company an average of $1 per gallon.
Roush works closely with customers to ensure that autogas will be a good fit.
“We set them up with a propane provider and then they’re able to lock in a price for propane,” Uphaus explained. “You can sign a contract to lock in your propane price for a year, two years, so that helps with budgeting and also helps you know what you’re going to pay and stay below gasoline and diesel.”
To help appeal to an even larger swath of the alt fuel market, Roush announced earlier this year that it will be offering compressed natural gas fuel systems.
“We’re very excited. We’re going to have a CNG bus available with Blue Bird school buses in August,” Uphaus said. “We’re excited to get that product out on the market.
“There are certain markets—Oklahoma, Texas, California—those are really natural gas rich environments and so they want to put natural gas in their vehicles.”
Staying competitive requires close study of a customer’s alt fuel market and then advising them accordingly.
“If a municipality or transit fleet in their area has a natural gas station, we expect them to lean towards CNG. For anybody else, putting a propane station at your facility involves minimal cost.
“The propane provider can either sell it to you outright or they’ll lease it to you and just add it in at the price per gallon that they’re paying.
“So you have a couple of options: pay the up-front costs, or pay over time. And still you’re looking at $30,000 compared to a natural gas station, which a lot of times can cost a million dollars. So, there’s a big difference there.”