Well, finally, things are heating up on the product front, and they’re about to get warmer still. To tell you the truth, I’ve been rationing the new bits and pieces these last couple of months, limiting myself to just a few new items with each newsletter, fearful that I wouldn’t have enough good ones to fill out the next effort. But with this issue you’ll see a new engine – not much news bigger than that, even if it was no secret at all – as well as a new hybrid truck, an interesting HVAC system, and an LNG-fuelled tractor that makes me pretty angry.
No, no, it’s not the truck itself that ticks me off, rather the fact that every state in the union offers a US$28,800 tax credit if you buy one while no such credit exists in Canada. And we holier-than-thou Canadians often bitch and moan about Washington’s refusal to play ball on global environmental issues? Gimme a break.
Well, let me back up a bit. There’s one bright light on the Canadian scene. The Fraser Basin Council in British Columbia’s lower mainland has actually just announced a new incentive under its Green Fleets B.C. program to encourage truck operators to adopt emission-reduction technologies. A grant of up to $10,000 per vehicle is available for trucks that meet the Council’s enviroTruck standard. That’s largely due to the efforts of the B.C. Trucking Association and the Canadian Trucking Alliance. The latter’s ‘enviroTruck’ program, launched last fall, aims to demonstrate available fuel-saving/emission-reducing technologies such as trailer skirts.
The focus of the program is not only to get ‘enviroTrucks’ off the drawing board and onto the road, but also to demonstrate fuel and cost savings to the industry. Program participants will provide monthly usage statistics. The Council will be accepting applications until February 15, 2008 (see www.greenfleets.ca).
The LNG-fuelled vehicle I’m talking about is Kenworth’s T800 tractor with a Cummins ISX engine converted by Vancouver’s Westport Innovations to run on liquefied natural gas. Spurred on by the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and their new US$1.6 billion Clean Truck Superfund, the truck will be built on the production line at Kenworth’s plant in Renton, Wash. as of next year. That fund, which offers a grant of about US$180,000 per truck, will assist with replacing many of the 16,800 diesel-powered heavy trucks serving the ports with LNG-fuelled vehicles. So far, as of January 29th, 158 T800 LNG purchases have been approved. The ports have also introduced a new progressive ban that will remove all pre-2007 trucks by 2012. Good on them.