Toyota Transport, the automaker’s in-house vehicle transportation trucking company, now has its first car hauler that runs on compressed natural gas (CNG).
Toyota says the Long Beach, Calif.-based truck/trailer does what any other car hauler can do, except it does it while emitting 85% less overall particulate matter and 10% less carbon dioxide. The CNG truck was commissioned by Toyota and designed and built in a joint collaboration with vehicle manufacturer Peterbilt, trailer maker Cottrell Inc., and natural gas fuel system provider Agility Fuel Systems.
“We started exploring the CNG option more than three years ago, and it has been worth the wait,” says Kirk Welch, senior analyst of compliance at Toyota Transport. “Natural gas is the cleanest-burning fossil fuel and will help Toyota advance our environmental efforts to reduce fleet emissions.”
Initially, the placement of alternate fuel tanks presented a challenge for a car hauler utilizing a nine-car trailer with an over-the-cab head rack. However, working with Toyota’s specifications, Peterbilt and Cottrell were able to develop a tractor/trailer combination that accommodated the alternate fuel tanks, without compromising the extra vehicle hauling space of the head rack. According to Toyota, the achievement marks the first full car hauler trailer with head rack that Cottrell has manufactured onto a CNG truck.
“This was a first for Toyota Logistics but also for Cottrell. We were able to work with Peterbilt and Agility Fuel Systems to alter the design of our headrack to accommodate the natural gas tanks while still maximizing payload,” says Adam Strong, Western regional sales manager for Cottrell.
Toyota Transport’s Southern California vehicle delivery operations in Long Beach and Mira Loma have 32 trucks in service, and the group delivers approximately 200,000 vehicles annually. With plans to deploy the truck locally out of Long Beach as a test, the company will compare the CNG vehicle’s performance and efficiency versus the current diesel trucks. The CNG truck is expected to drive an average of 7,000 to 8,000 miles per month.
Toyota says the purchase of the truck advances the company’s own environmental endeavors and efforts in its support of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s SmartWay program, the public-private initiative to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and air pollution created by freight transportation in corporate supply chains.