Southern California Gas (SoCalGas) has launched a new program that allows fleet owners to test natural gas trucks. The "try before you buy" program allows qualified fleet owners to test drive a 12L near-zero-emissions truck for up to two weeks.
The truck available for rent is a 12L near-zero natural gas truck equipped with a Cummins Westport ISK12N engine and Momentum Fuel system. SoCalGas is partnering with Rush Truck Center, the owner of the truck, and SoCalGas is covering the cost to rent the truck, as well as the corresponding fuel used during the rental. The customer remains responsible for any damage caused while in operation, and Rush Truck Centers is responsible for maintaining the truck.
“More fleet owners have switched to natural gas trucks over the last few years, due in part to available incentive funding,” said Sharon Tomkins, vice president of customer solutions and strategy for SoCalGas. “However, some are unfamiliar with the technology and are hesitant to make the switch. The SoCalGas Truck Loan Program is the perfect way to put natural gas trucks to the test on routes driven every day.”
SoCalGas expects that operators will experience similarities between CNG and diesel trucks with respect to power, drivability, fuel range, and fuel availability.
“We had the opportunity to be one of the first participants in the Truck Loan Program,” said Gordy Reimer, president of Southern Counties Express. “Our drivers were able to successfully test the newest 12L renewable natural gas engine on trade lanes they current operate their own trucks on and discover for themselves the advances in natural gas engine technology.”
This program is part of a larger effort by SoCalGas to encourage natural gas vehicle adoption. SoCalGas account executives have assisted dozens of fleet owners with incentive funding applications to purchase more than 350 near-zero natural gas trucks and build five new CNG fueling stations since the beginning of the year. Replacing 350 diesel trucks with near-zero natural gas trucks is the equivalent of taking more than 20,000 passenger cars off the road.