Propane-powered vehicles deliver for Wright & Fillippis

Goods delivered by Rochester-Hills-based healthcare supplies provider
Wright & Fillippis are getting to their destinations on propane
power as the company converts 25 percent of its fleet to this clean form
of fuel.

That means 12 of Wright & Fillippis’ trucks and
vans will run on propane as they deliver goods in Michigan. About half
the vehicles have already been converted and are on the road and a
propane station is up and operating at the company’s headquarters.

“They’re
hoping to convert the entire fleet eventually,” says Matt Sandstrom,
mobility division manager for the Clean Energy Coalition, an Ann
Arbor-based non-profit that steers companies through the process of
converting to alternative fuels, whether for transportation or building.

The Wright & Fillippis
fleet conversion came out of a partnership with the coalition through a
$15 million grant from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. 

Wright & Fillippis and the Clean Energy Coalition worked with Roush CleanTech,
a Plymouth Township company that designs and manufactures liquid
propane autogas fuel systems for a variety of light and medium Ford
vehicles. The technology, which reduces vehicle operating costs and
vehicle emissions, is available to consumers through authorized Ford
dealerships.

The Wright & Fillippis project is one of
several clean-fuel conversions being directed by the coalition through a
$40 million agreement with the Department of Energy, says Sandstrom.

Of
all the clean fuel projects, about a third are propane, he says. The
others are compressed natural gas, electric, and hydraulic hybrid, he
says. The type of fuel used depends on the type of fleet and uses of the
vehicles, and the coalition guides companies through the learning
process to select what’s best for them.

Companies working with
the Clean Energy Coalition include Frito-Lay, which is converting 90 of
its vehicles, about half of its Michigan fleet, to propane, and U-haul,
which is converting 30 vehicles.

“It should be very clear that
this is not R&D. This is a deployment of these technologies… They’ve
already been true and tried,” Sandstrom says.

For Wright & Fillippis, propane autogas will result in the use of
48,000 fewer gallons of gasoline, the elimination of 931,200 pounds of
carbon dioxide released, and a savings of $3,000 per converted vehicle,
or $36,000 total thus far.

Source: Matt Sandstrom, mobility division manager, Clean Energy Coalition
Writer: Kim North Shine


A version of this article previously appeared in Metromode.