In the Canadian province of British Columbia, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (TranBC)’s Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement (CVSE) branch has issued a Circular to advise industry, staff, and the general public of an approved additional weight tolerance to compensate for the heavier fuel tanks used by Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) fueled trucks and buses.
“British Columbia is really setting the bar high with $104 million in funding support for natural gas vehicles and now this change allowing for increased weight allowances,” noted Alicia Milner, President of the Canadian Natural Gas Vehicle Alliance.
LNG-powered vehicles require heavier fuel tanks and operate differently than vehicles with traditional gasoline or diesel engines, so CVSE worked with Vancouver-based Westport, manufacturer of natural gas engines and associated technologies, to become familiar with the LNG conversion technology and update vehicle safety standards.
In coordination with Transport Canada, CVSE is translating those standards into its Vehicle Inspection Manual to assist inspectors in examining the “nuts and bolts” of LNG-powered vehicles during roadside inspections and regular safety checks.
To encourage widespread use of LNG, and because LNG-powered vehicles require heavier fuel tanks and additional LNG fuel processing equipment, CVSE is allowing LNG-powered trucks to be 1,500 kilograms heavier than traditional diesel and gasoline trucks. This weight allowance means LNG-powered trucks can carry the same maximum amount of freight as diesel-powered trucks.
Specifically, the Circular states:
- The weight allowance is only permitted on the steering axle and drive axle group to a combined maximum weight allowance of 1,500kg.
- The overall Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) for the vehicle or combination is also increased accordingly.
- The maximum GVW can only exceed 63,500kg on an approved 72-, 80- and 85-tonne routes. See Chapter 6 of the Commercial Transport Procedures Manual.
- Qualifying vehicles must not exceed the original equipment manufacturers (OEM’s) stated maximum Gross Axle Weight Rating, Gross Vehicle Weight Rating, or 100 kg/cm of tire width.
- The allowance applies to trucks, truck tractors, semi-trailer combinations, truck and pony/full trailer combinations and buses that are fueled by LNG.
This allowance is authorized by the Director of CVSE under section 7.02(1) of the Commercial Transport Regulations.
(This article compiled using information supplied by TranBC – Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure online)