Freightliner plant in Cleveland to start producing natural gas trucks

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 11, 2013

CLEVELAND — Daimler Trucks North America is set to begin producing natural gas trucks this year at the Freightliner plant in Cleveland, following the lead of the company’s Mount Holly plant, which began doing so in 2009.
Greg Treinen, segment manager for Daimler, said the company made about 700 trucks with natural gas engines during 2012.
“That number will increase significantly in 2013 as it begins producing the heavy duty Cascadia model with the all new Cummins Westport ISX12 G natural gas engine,” he said.
During a December meeting of the Cleveland Planning Board, Freightliner representatives said the plant is expected to produce about 200 such trucks this year.
The company has not said whether that will require hiring additional employees.
Treinen said Daimler has been manufacturing natural gas trucks in its factories since 2008.
“(Daimler Trucks) and Freightliner have been producing natural gas trucks to meet customer demand … as fleets look to reduce their fuel costs while utilizing the cleanest technology available, strengthening their green image,” he said.
According to the company’s website, natural gas trucks produce near-zero emissions and are quieter than their diesel counterparts. And as the cost of diesel fuel continues to rise, the price of natural gas remains stable.
A site plan to construct a natural gas filling station at the plant has been submitted to the Cleveland Board of Commissioners.
The plan must be approved by the board because the property is located in the thoroughfare corridor overlay district.
The station will look similar to a regular gas station with required safety features including emergency shut-offs. Piedmont Natural Gas would be in charge of setting it up.
Treinen said the filling station will be used exclusively for trucks built in the factory.
“The trucks receive compressed natural gas fuel before they are shipped from the plant to the customer,” he said.
The site plan shows the filling station will be 150 feet from the railroad tracks and farther than that from the closest residence. It will be about 200 feet from a fire hydrant.
Cleveland commissioners have set a public hearing on the site plan for the next board meeting at 7 p.m. Feb. 4.

Contact reporter Sarah Campbell at 704-797-7683.