3M and Rush Enterprises are collaborating 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. Initial plans for the companies include:
Introduction of a new line of CNG tanks in North America for Class 6/7/8 vehicles, with the first tank being introduced in late 2014.
Launch of an advanced, lighter weight fuel system incorporating several design and material enhancements that delivers higher quality and reliability in Spring 2015.
We believe the lack of a holistic approach to fuel system development has slowed adoption in this segment. 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. Industry partnerships can address these needs, but they must be built on a foundation of technology, a relentless commitment to quality, and aftermarket support.—Rory Yanchek, VP and General Manager for 3M’s Aerospace & Commercial Transportation Division
3M launched its first CNG tank in 2013, incorporating its nanoparticle-enhanced resin technology in order to engineer tanks that are up to 30% lighter and have up to 10% more storage capacity than the market leading Type IV alternative. (Earlier post.)
By pairing a leading materials/technology company with one of the largest commercial vehicle dealership networks, we hope to achieve scale as well as move the needle in customer service and innovation. Working with 3M on a new fuel system and incorporating a diversity of 3M’s proprietary materials to enhance value, as well as leveraging 3M’s expertise in Lean Six Sigma manufacturing processes, is going to improve the overall quality and reliability we bring to customers.— W.M. “Rusty” Rush, Chairman, CEO and President of Rush Enterprises
3M is exhibiting at the Alternative Clean Transportation Expo (ACT), 5-8 May in Long Beach, CA; the companies expect additional announcements later this year.