Allison Transmission dedicated Sept. 25, the first day of “Truck Emotion,” to a Ride & Drive at the F1 Monza Circuit to demonstrate the outstanding performance of natural gas vehicles (CNG and LNG) fitted with Allison fully automatic transmissions. Leading European OEMs discussed the advantages of Allison-equipped, alternative-fuel vehicles – from ease of use, comfort and safety to reduced fuel consumption and emissions.
European fleet representatives in the distribution and refuse industries attended the event. Presenters included Antonio Bravo, machinery department director at FCC Environment, a European leader in public waste and resource management, operating in 35 countries. In his presentation, “Application of Natural Gas in Urban Vehicles for Environmental Services,” Bravo shared FCC’s considerable experience with Allison-equipped CNG vehicles, noting they currently have over 1000 trucks in operation.
“At FCC, we first fitted an Allison transmission on one of our refuse trucks back in 1990,” said Bravo. “After realizing the economic advantages for a fleet as large as ours, we began using Allison Automatics in all of our refuse trucks. We strongly believe in this technology, and in the last few years, we also have been fitting Allison transmissions on our waste-bin washers, tankers and skip loaders,” he said.
According to Bravo, the economic, environmental and safety benefits Allison Transmission’s technology delivers are “crystal clear.” “Without a manual clutch, the maintenance costs decrease dramatically; Allison’s controlled acceleration reduces emissions and noise pollution; and safety increases together with driving comfort,” he said.
OEMs including Iveco, Renault, Volvo and Scania made Allison-equipped CNG vehicles available for the Ride & Drive following the workshop. CNG day guests were able to experience the benefits discussed during the morning’s workshop firsthand in a variety of vehicles, including a Scania G340 tractor on the Formula 1 Circuit.
In the afternoon, industry media joined the Ride & Drive and interviewed some of the participating fleet managers. Among Allison’s international guests, was the French group Fraikin, a European leader in industrial and commercial vehicle rental, with 175 branches in Europe and approximately 650M euro in annual sales volume. The company owns about 100 Allison transmissions fitted on medium- and heavy-duty trucks, according to Remi Paing, project manager at Fraikin.
Chandon pointed out that natural gas engines in heavy trucks are relatively small, compared to diesel models, which can raise valid concerns among fleet managers regarding startability and power. Since Allison has been supplying Iveco with fully automatic transmissions featuring Continuous Power Technology™ for the last 15 years, responsiveness in Allison-equipped alternative-fuel vehicles is not a concern at Iveco.