Allison Transmission recently provided European fleet representatives a Ride & Drive experience at the F1 Monza Circuit to demonstrate the outstanding performance of natural gas vehicles (CNG and LNG) fitted with Allison fully automatic transmissions. Leading European OEMs discussed the advantages of Allison-equipped, alternative-fuel vehicles – from ease of use, comfort and safety to reduced fuel consumption and emissions.
European fleet representatives in the distribution and refuse industries attended the event. Presenters included Antonio Bravo, machinery department director at FCC Environment, a European leader in public waste and resource management, operating in 35 countries. In his presentation, “Application of Natural Gas in Urban Vehicles for Environmental Services,” Bravo shared FCC’s considerable experience with Allison-equipped CNG vehicles, noting they currently have over 1000 trucks in operation.
OEMs including Iveco, Renault, Volvo and Scania made Allison-equipped CNG vehicles available for the Ride & Drive following the workshop. CNG day guests were able to experience the benefits discussed during the morning’s workshop firsthand in a variety of vehicles, including a Scania G340 tractor, a Volvo FE and a Renault D Wide.
In the afternoon, industry media joined the Ride & Drive and interviewed some of the participating fleet managers. Among Allison’s international guests, was the French group Fraikin, a European leader in industrial and commercial vehicle rental, with 175 branches in Europe and approximately 650M euro in annual sales volume. “Our Allison-equipped vehicles operate in refuse and industrial waste collection, as well as refrigerated food transport. Advantages range from driving comfort and ease of maintenance in frequent stop-and-go duty cycles, to fuel savings, depending on the application,” said Remi Paing, project manager at Fraikin. “We are particularly interested in the advantages derived from Allison transmissions matched with CNG engines. We think it is an engine technology with many relevant economic advantages and opportunities.”
Allison said Fraikin is not alone in taking this position. According to Clement Chandon, head of CNG/LNG sales development for Iveco Stralis in EMEA, “Iveco believes in and invests a lot in natural gas trucks. My job, created specifically for this market, is a testament to our will to make this technology known and appreciated,” he said.
“Natural gas markets are developing, above all in France. In the last 4 years, we have doubled sales of Iveco Stralis CNG and LNG trucks each year because there are large commercial chains and distribution companies looking for cleaner, quieter transport at lower costs than those of diesel engines,” said Chandon. “Now that end users and truck owners are starting to trust this technology, the market is poised to take off, and our dealer network is ready.”
Chandon pointed out that natural gas engines in heavy trucks are relatively small, compared to diesel models, which can raise valid concerns among fleet managers regarding startability and power. Since Allison has been supplying Iveco with fully automatic transmissions featuring Continuous Power Technology™ for the last 15 years, responsiveness in Allison-equipped alternative-fuel vehicles is not a concern at Iveco.
“Allison technology provides undeniable advantages for natural gas vehicles,” Chandon said. “Having a transmission that accelerates without ever losing power and a converter that multiplies torque at launch, highly improves fleet performance.”
(Source: Allison Transmission)