In the U.S. State of Louisiana, Bossier City Fire Department has been transitioning its fleet of diesel ambulances to clean, efficient Compressed Natural Gas (CNG). Purchased from ambulance manufaturer Excellance, Inc., the custom built units run entirely on CNG . They not only save thousands of dollars on fuel costs every year but leave less of a carbon footprint, contributing to a cleaner environment. The city’s 2016 CNG ambulance has arrived and has been on displayed at FDIC International 2016, Indianapolis.
The city typically has four frontline ambulances and three reserves. Each year, a frontline ambulance is replaced and the former frontline ambulance assumes the role of a reserve for a typical ambulance shelf life of about 7 to 8 years. Plans are to continue adding dedicated-CNG ambulances to the fleet, so that within a few years all frontline ambulances will be CNG and there will be one CNG reserve.
The department’s Chief of EMS, Jeff Watson, explained their decision to convert all of their units to CNG (compressed natural gas) and how this is benefiting their city. The city initially set itself up with two CNG filling stations, in 2010 and 2011, taking advantage of its locaton atop the Haynesville-Bossier shale play.
“We started trying to do conversions on all of our city police cars, some of our public utility vehicles and then we wanted to get into the emergency part of it. What we found from the emergency perspective was that it was a little bit more difficult for a manufacturer to allow that. We eventually got to go with Ford, and we worked with Tommy Pugh at Excellance over a couple of years to develop the R & D so to speak on the CNG. We did our first one I think three years ago that we put into service and once we got that going it was completely CNG.
“The generator runs off CNG and the actual motor runs off CNG. From our city’s perspective, ambulances were once of the busiest vehicles and used the most fuel in the city and that is why they wanted to make sure that we start using those as soon as we could.
“We recently did the research for Ford and we are getting about 7 miles to the gallon for our CNG trucks, and with diesel we get about 3 ½ miles to the gallon. So it is a big savings there, on top of what we are paying for CNG from the city is less than half, around $1.45 or $1.25 a gallon, and we were paying around that time about $3 a gallon for diesel. I know fuel prices are down now, but you also have the environmental part of it where it is a cleaner burning vehicle. And it is one of those things were we are trying to do as much as we can for emissions and to save that as a city as a whole.”
In the Ford 2016 Alternative Fuel Buyers Guides, a testimonial states that since 2013, the Bossier City FD has been operating ambulances on Ford F-650 chassis with IMPCO Automotive’s dedicated CNG systems in their fleet and estimates they have displaced over 7,940 gallons of diesel. At a cost difference of nearly $2.11 per gallon besides being better for the environment, the fire department is saving taxpayer dollars as well. “Utilizing a Ford QVM was important to us. We needed the guarantee that our firefighters would get the same experience on natural gas as they did on gasoline or diesel,” said Watson. “Our main job is to save lives. IMPCO Automotive has worked with Ford engineers and trained our technicians to help ensure our ambulances stay on the road doing that.”
“This is a very exciting project to be a part of,” said Jamie Mitchell, Business Development Manager Ford Brand for IMPCO Automotive. “When people see a fire department vehicle using CNG as a fuel source, they know it is a safe fuel. ”
Ford will be showing the Bossier City (LA) Fire Department CNG unit by Excellance at FDIC Internatonal 2016.
(Sources; Excellance, Ford)