Volvo puts proprietary LNG engine “on hold”

Volvo Trucks announced today that it is changing its alternative fuels plan for North America. John Mies, vice president-corporate communications, told FleetOwner that the company, which has been developing its own compression ignition liquefied natural gas (LNG) engine for North America, has put “launch plans [for the powerplant] are on hold indefinitely and we’ll continue to monitor the market.”

Volvo said it will continue to offer spark-ignited natural gas engines in its VNM and VNL models. In addition, field testing of a dimethyl ether (DME) engine is ongoing and this decision does not affect those plans, the company said.

According to the company, development of natural gas infrastructure to support long-haul trucking “has been modest over the last year, and the needs of customers in the primary markets for natural gas vehicles – regional haul and dedicated routes – are being met with the company’s current natural gas line-up.”

When Volvo announced the development of a 13L LNG engine in 2012, it expected to make the engine available commercially this year.

Mies said Volvo wasn’t suspending development of the engine, but that continued work will be “at a slower pace.”

“The decision regarding our natural gas engine is based on our view of the current state of the natural gas market, rather than on how natural gas compares to other alternative fuel solutions, like DME,” he added.

Volvo has not announced when a DME-powered vehicle might be available.

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