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Isuzu Explores Alternate Fuel Solutions for Commercial Vehicles

Isuzu Motors South Africa (IMSAF) is evaluating trucks which use alternate fuel solutions and propulsion technologies that may be suitable for the African market. This is part of the company’s drive to offer unique solutions to their customers and offer added value for large fleet owners who demand low running costs and reliability while minimising the impact on the environment.

Isuzu Explores Alternate Fuel Solutions for Commercial Vehicles

“Our mission is to provide transport solutions to our customers, low-emission vehicles using alternate energy sources would be a great addition to our product portfolio. These trucks are not only a vital step toward reducing the emission of harmful pollutants, they will also contribute to the more effective utilisation of limited natural resources for transportation,” says Dominic Rimmer, IMSAF Executive for Technical Services.

Isuzu is currently looking at two types of alternate propulsion technologies for its trucks, namely; a Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) fueltruck, and a dual fuel powered truck converted to run on natural gas and diesel.

“We’ve built a handful of prototype trucks which are currently being tested in real world conditions on South African roads by a number of Isuzu fleet customers. If the testing is successful we could see more of these trucks paving the way for a greener motoring landscape in future,’ said Rimmer.

Isuzu N-Series (NPR300) Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) Vehicle

The N-Series range of trucks is a proven and flexible platform which has demonstrated its capability of meeting the demands and needs of a variety of operators with diverse operational requirements. This makes it a good starting point for a local alternate propulsion strategy.

The Isuzu N-Series (NPR300) truck uses Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) as well as a Stop – Start fuel saving system to create a more environmentally friendly truck while reducing operating costs.

Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) is available from the significant reserves of natural gas that exist in many places around the world.

The CNG-powered engines emit very low levels of Nitrogen Oxides (NOx), Carbon Monoxide (CO), and hydrocarbon (HC) with virtually no particulate matter (PM) emitted at all. Another characteristic of natural gas, whose main constituent gas is methane, is that it produces very little Carbon Dioxide (CO2). Isuzu produces three-way catalytic converter equipped CNG vehicles that achieve an excellent low-pollution emission performance.

Advantages of CNG:

  • Environmentally friendly motoring – Less Greenhouse gasses, 25% less CO2 emitted.
  • Significant reduction in particulates to zero / nitrogen oxides (NOx) down to a miniscule 0.2
  • Safety – CNG is a very safe gas. Any leaks safely “dissipate back to nature”
  • Engine power – power and torque remain about the same as traditional diesel engines.

Isuzu FTR 850 Diesel Dual Fuel AMT

Based on the popular Isuzu FTR 850 AMT model, the 850 Diesel Dual Fuel model is a locally developed dual fuel truck which uses Diesel Dual Fuel technology utilising a D-gid ECU system with the ability to run the engine on a mixture of diesel and natural gas.

The Diesel Dual Fuel d-gid system fuelled diesel engines with a mixture of diesel fuel and Compressed Natural Gas (CNG). The D-gid control unit determines the optimum mixture of diesel and air/gas required under different loads, dynamically modifying it in real time according to the feedback provided by the engine.

Benefits of the system are similar to the CNG model and include:

  • Utilising standard diesel engine
  • Easily switch between Diesel/Gas mixture and 100% Diesel
  • Little effect on torque and power
  •  Carbon footprint/emission reduced.
  •  Improved engine oil quality
  •  Engine noise reduced due to natural gas smoother combustion.
  •  Significant reductions of operating costs thanks to Diesel-Gas substitution

“These initiatives are in line with Isuzu’s SEE (Safety, Economy & Environment) philosophy of continuously searching for efficient transport solutions which will reduce impact on the environment and enable our customers to support the locally planned Green Transport strategy,” said Rimmer.

Tristan Wiggill
Special Features Editor at Business Fleet Africa