Volvo puts natural gas engine plans on hold

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Volvo VNLAdapting to the pace of the North American alternative fuel market, Volvo Trucks has put on hold plans to launch its own compression ignition liquefied natural gas (LNG) engine for North America.  Field testing of Volvo’s dimethyl ether (DME)-powered vehicles will continue, and the company will continue to offer spark-ignited natural gas engines in its VNM and VNL models.

Development of the 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, Volvo says.

Volvo says it continues to believe that DME – which can be produced from natural gas – holds promise as a heavy-truck fuel.  Customer field tests of DME-powered vehicles will continue, but the company has decided not to establish a commercialization date as it continues monitoring market and stakeholder interest in the fuel.

Volvo’s announcement follows a similar announcement from Cummins in February, in which the engine maker said it was placing on hold its plans its production of its 15-liter natural gas engine.