Auburn Hills-based FCA US LLC today announced it has invested $40 million to convert its nearly 180 Detroit-based parts-haulers to run on compressed natural gas rather than traditional diesel.
"This project…offered a solid business case, clear environmental benefits, and an opportunity to invest in our Detroit facility and workforce," says Steve Beahm, senior vice president of supply chain management for FCA – North America.
With the conversion, FCA will operate the largest private fleet of compressed natural gas-powered, heavy-duty vehicles in Michigan, Beam says. Compressed natural gas is natural gas under pressure, which remains clear, odorless, and non-corrosive. Natural gas is produced at relatively low costs, and is cleaner burning than gasoline or diesel fuel.
Beahm says the transition will reduce the FCA Transport's carbon dioxide emissions by more than 16,000 tons per year, the equivalent of the annual energy use of nearly 1,500 homes.
Prior to the changeover, the FCA Transport Detroit fleet used nearly 2.6 million gallons of diesel fuel per year while driving about 16 million miles to deliver parts to assembly plants between suppliers and FCA component facilities. The company expects to see fuel cost savings of about 35 percent per year with the compressed natural gas-powered fleet.
FCA Transport, founded in 1965, is located on Lynch Road in Detroit. The 36,000-square-foot maintenance facility now has a $5 million on-site compressed natural gas fueling station.