Dallas-based BAF Technologies has begun converting 600 AT&T Ford E-Series vans to dedicated CNG technology in 2009. This is part of AT&T’s plan to invest up to $565 million to deploy more than 15,000 alternative-fuel vehicles over the next 10 years. AT&T expects to spend an estimated $350 million to purchase about 8,000 Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) vehicles and approximately $215 million to begin replacing its passenger cars with alternative-fuel models, beginning with hybrids. (Earlier post.)
The converted vehicles will utilize the BAF CalComp System, a proprietary CNG fuel system certified by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the California Air Resources Board (ARB). CNG vehicles are expected to emit approximately 25% less greenhouse gas emissions than those traditionally powered by gasoline.
BAF’s CalComp system is fully integrated into the OEM powertrain control system. No additional control module is required. The entire gasoline system is removed and replaced with CNG storage tank(s), HP plumbing, a CNG regulator, and new CNG injectors. Control of all CNG components, including the original dash-mounted fuel gauge, is done using the OEM vehicle computer which BAF reprograms to optimize CNG performance.
System features include:
- Closed-loop fuel control
- Sequential fuel injection (SFI)
- Optimized ignition timing
- Maintains original fault codes (DTCs)
- Diagnostics accessed through DLC using original scan tool or any generic OBD-II scanner
In an E-350 van, the CalComp system is integrated with the 5.4L V8 Triton engine. The van, which is certified to the ARB SULEV standard, has a standard fuel capacity of 20.0 GGE and has a limited warranty of 3 years/50,000 miles.
The Center for Automotive Research (CAR) in Ann Arbor, Mich. estimates that for the years AT&T’s fleet purchase program is operating, more than 1,000 jobs in the United States will be created or saved. In addition to the economic benefits, CAR estimates the new vehicles will save 49 million gallons of gasoline and reduce carbon emissions by 211,000 metric tons over the 10-year deployment period.
The new CNG/passenger vehicle commitment follows AT&T’s deployment of 105 alternative-fuel vehicles in more than 30 US cities beginning in June 2008. In addition, AT&T piloted four Ford Escape hybrids, which were deployed in late 2007 in California. Through these pilot programs, AT&T determined that a mix of solutions is right for its fleet and that multiple technologies can help reduce its operating costs over time, while effectively reducing its fuel consumption and impact on the environment.