Team Run Smart's Nevarez going natural, gas that is

By Land Line staff | Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Freightliner Trucks delivered a Freightliner Cascadia 113 compressed natural gas powered tractor to Team Run Smart Pro member Jimmy Nevarez this week and basically said, “here’s the keys, let’s see what it can do.”

Nevarez, an OOIDA member from Chino, Calif., is running the truck in southern California and will post blogs about his experiences every few days.

Nevarez was selected as a pro by Freightliner Trucks last year, and has been providing tips to other professional drivers through Team Run Smart. Nevarez owns Angus Transportation and works as an independent contractor. He has been in the trucking industry for more than 12 years

“Driving the Freightliner natural gas tractor appeals to me for a number of reasons,” said Nevarez. “Based on my initial estimates, using natural gas will save me several thousands of dollars every year, which as an owner-operator has an immediate impact on my business. Plus, I like that it’s a clean fuel that will leave a better future for my family.”

One of his first stops was to deliver the truck to the Retail Supply Chain Conference hosted by the Retail Industry Leaders Association in San Diego.

Right out of the gate, Nevarez says the feel, power and acceleration are comparable to the diesel-powered Freightliner Cascadia Evolution with Detroit power train he had been driving and documenting for Team Run Smart.

“Even now, switching to the Cummins which powers my natural gas truck, it gives me that same feeling. It’s a nice, clean, smooth feel. It’s paired with the Allison six-speed automatic and I’ll tell you that transmission shifts like a dream,” Nevarez told Land Line. “It shifts like a car.”

The Cascadia 113 CNG tractor is equipped with the new Cummins Westport ISX12 G heavy-duty natural gas engine. Best suited for regional hauling and LTL, the engine can pull up to 80,000 pounds, making it ideal for the varied freight that Nevarez carries. The truck will also feature a 140 diesel gallon equivalent fuel tank capacity, enabling an estimated 500 to 600 miles in range.

The cost of fuel and fuel economy for natural gas is figured on per diesel gallon equivalent. This is done by calculating the energy content of the two fuels and comparing them.

“We’re excited for Jimmy to experience a natural gas-powered Cascadia 113, and to give the trucking community his impressions with the technology through his blog on TeamRunSmart.com,” said Mary Aufdemberg, director of product marketing for Freightliner Trucks. “The Cascadia 113 CNG tractor is a smart alternative for business-minded professionals who are seeking sustainable solutions without compromising power and performance.”

Nevarez will post his blogs to www.TeamRunSmart.com. He says there’s already a lot to talk about.

“Some of the things I’ll tackle in the first blog will some of the rumors about natural gas out there and how to conquer them,” Nevarez said.

The first “rumor” will likely be about fueling infrastructure.

Even though Nevarez will be staying close to the nest within 150 miles of San Bernardino, Calif., he says the fueling networks are filling in around California and the country at a steady pace.

He also plans to discuss the fuel itself, how the pumps work and how natural gas burns differently than diesel.

“That’s one of the major differences. It’s a spark-activated system, so it’s not like diesel fuel. It’s kind of similar to an automotive spark plug,” he said.

Nevarez says he’ll fuel about twice a week. One of his first experiences with the truck was a “fast-fill” at a Clean Energy station. He says it took about 30 minutes.

Freightliner’s commitment to green technologies is part of parent company Daimler AG’s global “Shaping Future Transportation” initiative. Launched in 2007, the initiative is focused on reducing criteria pollutants, carbon dioxide and fuel consumption through the utilization of clean, efficient drive systems including clean diesel and alternative fuels. Since 2008, Freightliner Trucks has sold more 3,000 natural gas-powered trucks and tractors.

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