|AT&T natural gas service van. Click to enlarge.|
AT&T has awarded to BAF Technologies, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Clean Energy Fuels Corp., an order to convert 463 Ford E-250 vans to run on compressed natural gas (CNG) to be fulfilled during the second quarter of 2010. (BAF was acquired by Clean Energy in October 2009.)
The new order is in addition to a 463-unit order from AT&T for vehicles to be delivered during the first quarter of 2010. (Earlier post.) Additionally, although no formal order has been made, AT&T has requested that BAF procure on AT&T’s behalf CNG cylinders for 463 additional conversions to be completed in the third quarter of 2010.
The conversions are 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.)
Through BAF, AT&T is planning to convert a total of 1,850 vans in 2010, and is exploring additional vehicle conversions of other vehicle types, including Ford F-Series trucks. BAF anticipates completing the 600 van conversions awarded by AT&T to BAF during 2009 by year end.
BAF also announced that the Ford E-250/350 Van has been successfully crash-tested to meet the FMVSS 303 (Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard). Additionally, Ford has approved the engine system for these vehicles converted by BAF and noted that Ford’s warranty covers everything in the vehicle as with any standard Ford vehicle.
The converted vehicles 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). The CalComp system is fully integrated into the OEM powertrain control system. 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.
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.