CNH Industrial and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) have announced an important achievement and milestone for the Israeli vehicle market: the commercialisation of the first ever natural gas vehicle. This order falls under the recently signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which foresees a partnership between the companies and Israel’s Fuel Choices Initiative (IFCI).
The companies’ partnership with IFCI seeks to assist the Government of Israel in fulfilling its set objective to establish the country as an alternative fuels knowledge hub. The IFCI program calls for the increased use of alternative fuel technologies in Israel’s transportation sector with a significant portion of the vehicle fleet being so equipped by 2020.
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IFCI is a ten-year Israeli Government program, managed through the Prime Minister’s Office, which is dedicated to reducing the World’s dependency on oil for transport and supporting the development of alternative fuels. The signed MOU specifies that FCA and CNH Industrial, along with several of their brands, will assist in the research, development and implementation of natural gas based fuels for transportation.
The vehicle in question is a Stralis 4×2 heavy truck from CNH Industrial’s commercial vehicles brand Iveco. It is powered by an Iveco Cursor 8 Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) Euro VI engine. The Stralis CNG will be supplied to Fridenson Group, one of Israel’s leading logistics companies with an existing fleet of over 140 trucks and trailers. This delivery is being managed by MCA, the exclusive importer of Iveco as well as several brands belonging to FCA for Israel.
Fridenson Group plans to use the CNG truck in a pilot program that demonstrates its commitment to ensuring a cleaner environment. As expressed by the Group, this first step will lead to the replacement of a significant number of diesel engine trucks in favour of CNG-powered models.
The advantages of CNG are numerous, both in terms of environmental sustainability as well as customer profitability. With regards to emissions, natural gas is an absolutely clean fuel thanks to its particulate emissions (-95% in comparison to diesel) and 35% less NOx. Furthermore, CNG makes it possible to reduce vehicle CO2 emissions from 10% up to 100% if biomethane is used. In terms of cost efficiency, overall Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) savings stand at up to 10%. Lower prices for natural gas in comparison to diesel also equate to higher profitability, which translates into up to 40% in fuel expense reductions, the most important aspect relating to TCO.
“As an innovative company, we are always on the lookout for environmentally friendly technologies. We are looking forward to cooperating with Iveco regarding CNG vehicles, and believe that the savings demonstrated in this pilot (program) will spur a shift towards CNG, ” said David Fridenson, owner and CEO of Fridenson Group.
“As part of the MOU that has been signed between FCA, CNH Industrial and the Israeli government, we are proud to play a leading part in implementing CNG vehicles in Israeli transportation. We would like to further emphasise our commitment to promote this technology, which is both greener as well as cost-effective, and are confident that this is the first truck among many, ” said Ori Lahav, CEO of MCA.
Further to this development, MCA will also be importing a 12-metre CNG urban bus from CNH Industrial brand Iveco Bus. A series of demonstrations of the bus’s capabilities will be carried out in the country over a two-month period.