3M and Rush Enterprises have announced an agreement to pursue the design, manufacture and installation of a portfolio of compressed natural gas (CNG) tanks and fuel systems for use in Class 6-8 vehicles in North America. The Agreement allows for 3M to supply tanks with proprietary technology, and for Rush Enterprises to provide enhanced fuel systems, distribution, and service support.

"We believe the lack of a holistic approach to fuel system development has slowed adoption in this segment," said Rory Yanchek, vice president and general manager for 3M's Aerospace & Commercial Transportation Division. "Our collaboration with Rush Enterprises will help accelerate industry adoption by bringing superior value to customers, and delivering quality solutions that address many currently unmet needs."

3M launched its first CNG tank in 2013, incorporating a nanoparticle-enhanced resin technology in order to engineer tanks that are up to 30 percent lighter and have up to 10 percent more storage capacity than the market leading Type IV alternative, according to the companies.

"The technological advancements brought forth by 3M in the CNG tank space have been game-changing," said W.M. "Rusty" Rush, chairman, chief executive officer and president of Rush Enterprises, Inc. "Combining that technology with our ability to provide innovative solutions to the commercial vehicle industry, vehicle integration engineering and installation expertise and a national network of sales and service centers gives us a truly unique offering."

Initial plans for the companies include introduction of a new line of CNG tanks in North America for Class 6-8 vehicles, with the first tank being introduced in late 2014 and launch of an advanced, lighter weight fuel system incorporating several design and material enhancements that delivers higher quality and reliability in Spring 2015.