Multiplying engine torque during launch and delivering continuous power shifts when accelerating makes Allison the automatic first choice for commercial-duty CNG/LNG applications.
HANNOVER, Germany – Allison Transmission, the world's largest manufacturer of fully automatic transmissions for medium- and heavy-duty commercial vehicles and a major supplier of hybrid-propulsion systems for city buses, is also a technological leader in the development of natural gas commercial vehicle applications. Customers are increasingly adding CNG- and LNG-powered trucks and buses to their public transportation, environmental service, distribution and construction fleets to meet the rising global demand for affordable, clean, efficient and quiet powertrain solutions.
To compensate for the lower power associated with CNG and LNG engines, Allison’s torque converter multiplies engine torque to significantly improve startability, drivability and overall productivity. With Allison’s Continuous Power Technology™, vehicles don’t suffer from the typically slower response time-to-throttle cycles seen with manuals or automated manuals. Since more torque is transferred from the engine to the wheels with an Allison, operators can also expect improved efficiency and performance. Additionally, the Allison retarder enhances braking, which compensates for the reduced engine-braking torque provided by a natural gas engine.
“Allison automatics are perfectly suited for natural gas vehicles because of the inherent benefits of the patented torque converter technology and smooth, seamless power shifts,” said Peter van Cuijk, Manager of International Marketing Programs for Allison Transmission. “Expanding natural gas infrastructure, coupled with both economic and environmental advantages, has led to increased use of Allison automatics in a wide variety of applications including refuse, distribution, short haul and road tractors.”
In North America, commercial OEMs feature Allison transmissions in most CNG and LNG equipped vehicles. Freightliner’s natural gas vehicles, for example, are only available with Allison models, including the new Cascadia 113 Natural Gas day cab tractor. This natural gas tractor is equipped with the new Cummins Westport ISX12 G heavy duty engine and a 4000 Series transmission. Freightliner’s M2 112 and 114SD vehicles with the Cummins Westport ISL G 8.9L engine feature a 3000 Series transmission.
Saddle Creek Corp.’s CNG-fuelled tractor fleet has doubled, and Allison has been a partner in this expansion. The third-party logistics company headquartered in Lakeland, Fla., recently added 40 Freightliner Business Class M2 112 trucks equipped with Allison automatic transmissions to its fleet, as it continues to implement natural gas technology across its truckload operations in the southeast of the United States. The Freightliner M2 112 CNG truck has a 530 liter (140 gallon) fuel system, allowing an approximate range of 885 to 925 kilometers (550-575 miles) per day, depending on the application.
In Europe, Allison automatic technology has also become increasingly popular for CNG/LNG trucks. Major OEMs including Scania, Iveco, Renault and Mercedes offer an Allison automatic with their natural gas engines.
Berliner Stadtreinigung (BSR) is the largest municipal waste disposal company in Germany. Today, 120 Mercedes-Benz Econic CNG refuse collection vehicles are in service with BSR, all equipped with Allison 3000 Series fully automatic transmissions. To ensure a CO2-neutral operation, in the future these vehicles will be fueled with bio-methane at BSR’s own plant in Berlin Ruhleben.
In Graz, Austria, a Mercedes-Benz Econic NGT 1828 tractor equipped with an Allison fully automatic transmission was tested at the Magna Steyr factory. The Econic, owned by the Austrian transport company Frikus, is the first of its kind to enter service in Austria. The Econic NGT uses the 6.9 liter OM 906 LAG natural gas engine, which produces 205 kW (279 hp) and is exclusively equipped with an Allison 3000 Series six-speed, fully automatic transmission with retarder.
The Econic NGT 1828 tractor showed considerable reductions in air pollutants, both CO2, and NO2, as well as lowered fuel consumption (10 percent) and fuel costs (around 20 percent). Noise emissions are also 50 percent lower than those produced by a comparable diesel vehicle.
“The appeal of an alternative fuel source that burns cleaner than diesel, reduces greenhouse gases and noise emissions, and is also less costly has convinced operators around the world to acquire Allison-equipped CNG and LNG vehicles,” concluded van Cuijk.