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Ryder adds natural gas-fueled trucks

Keywords: Tags  Navistar, General Motors, compressed natural gas, CNG, Ryder System, commercial fleets, Eric Tech, Kevin Keene International Indústria Automotiva da América do Sul

CHICAGO — Truck rental firm Ryder System Inc. has begun to take delivery of 39 light- and medium-duty compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles, the first of their kind in North America available for lease or rent to the public.

The trucks include 20 Greenkraft cab-over vehicles with 6.0-liter natural gas engines from General Motors Co. and 19 Navistar International Corp. TranStar trucks with Cummins Westport ISL G engines.

"We are very pleased to work with Ryder to develop these CNG-powered truck chassis," Navistar sales director Kevin Keene said. "By offering CNG-powered trucks in a medium-duty configuration, Ryder is demonstrating its dedication to making natural gas commercial vehicles available for this important market segment."

The CNG trucks, which range in gross vehicle weight from 16,000 to 33,000 pounds, are available for lease or rent from Ryder in California.

The vehicles are readily applicable to metropolitan delivery applications, the company said. Unlike heavy-duty natural gas vehicles, which require fueling stations designed to accommodate large commercial tractor-trailers, the lighter vehicles are able to access much of the existing retail CNG fueling infrastructure in California.

Funding for the incremental additional cost of the vehicles was provided by the California Energy Commission and the Mobile Source Air Pollution Reduction Review Committee. The 39 new trucks put Miami-based Ryder’s natural gas-fueled fleet, including heavy-duty vehicles, at more than 300 units.

Meanwhile, Navistar’s South American subsidiary—Porto Alegre, Brazil-based International Indústria Automotiva da América do Sul Ltda.—started up commercial truck production in Canoas, Rio Grande Do Sul, Brazil, earlier this month.

The new line is able to build 5,000 trucks per year initially, with potential for added expansion as demand grows. The plant produces diesel engines for Latin America and other global markets, the Lisle, Ill.-based company said.

"We remain committed to the future in Brazil," Navistar global truck and engine president Eric Tech said. "Our investment in the Brazilian truck market—one of the largest commercial truck markets in the world—is a logical next step in our global strategy."

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