In late 2012, NWNA’s delivery business ReadyRefresh started looking to introduce alternative fuel vehicles. in 2014, the first propane gas fueled delivery vehicles began service in Los Angeles. They are expanding the use of alternative fuel vehicles following the exhibition of their brand new ReadyRefresh propane gas delivery truck at ACT Expo, the country’s largest alternative fuel show, last May in Dallas, Texas, the team made a strong impression and showed what the future could look like.
“Our fleet strategy is built around enabling our Operations team with the most efficient tools for them to run their business. While enabling is an important element to our plan, alternative fuels is a must! We needed to find the right balance between all the elements including cost, and I feel we have come up with the best fit for NWNA’s ReadyRefresh business,” says Rob Austin, Director of Logistics at NWNA.
The innovation is the result of a two-year project. During the process, NWNA faced a number of challenges. First, there were no medium duty alternative fuel vehicles available in the US market that could fulfill the company’s basic requirements. Ultimately, NWNA chose propane gas vehicles, and decided to team up with four different partners –a chassis truck manufacturer, a beverage body manufacturer, a propane outfitter, and others, to develop vehicles specs, and create its own alternative fuel Route trucks.
“Our new truck is completely custom-made for NWNA ReadyRefresh. It is a first in the industry in the US. By end of this year, 200 of these units will replace 20% of ReadyRefresh’s fleet, made up of 2,000 vehicles -99% of which are diesel trucks. It was exciting to see the reactions of folks at the expo, and we are extremely pleased with the progress to date,” says Bill Ardis, National Fleet Manager at NWNA.
The project resulted in the development of 200 units, which will offer a 96% reduction in particle emissions and a 10% reduction in Green House Gas (GHG) emissions, as well as a combined savings of more than US $9 million over their eight-year life cycle (including the acquisition cost and fuel consumption), compared to the current ReadyRefresh diesel trucks.
These propane trucks are a major step in NWNA’s environmental commitments especially now that the company has partnered with manufacturers to design a beverage delivery truck that is considerably more attractive, both environmentally and financially, than other alternative fuel Route trucks. “I am excited to see the strategy come to life, and look forward to continued progress. Alternative fuels play an important role for us within our communities,” says Bob Mason, VP of Operations at NWNA.