Have you mastered natural gas?
In January I dedicated an entire print edition of Truck Parts & Service to natural gas. My thought at the time was that natural gas was rapidly becoming the hot topic in commercial trucking, and if fleets were serious about adding natural gas trucks to their operations, aftermarket businesses needed to know as much as possible.
Five months later natural gas continues to dominate trucking conversations, and while it’s not the only topic of conversation — admittedly I will say now I don’t think any one topic ever totally reigns supreme — it’s clear that fleets are still seriously interested in the fuel savings and benefits of natural gas trucks.
Which means, like we discussed in January, sooner or later these trucks are going to start showing up in your service bays.
If you expect to service them, you need to know exactly how they work and the safety requirements for dealing with them.
Natural gas trucks aren’t unsafe — far from it, actually — but they are different and you shouldn’t work on them until you’ve been educated on those differences.
One great resource to help learn about these vehicles is the Technician and Fleet Operations Safety Training offered by the Natural Gas Vehicle Institute (NGVi), which I was fortunate enough to attend last Tuesday in Des Plaines, Ill., a Chicago suburb.
Offered monthly at various locations throughout the country, the NGVi Technician and Fleet Operations Safety Training course is designed to teach fleet managers, service providers and dealers about natural gas itself, how it used to fuel commercial trucks and the correct procedures for safely maintaining those trucks today.
I thought it was a great course.
Led by NGVi’s Dave Crowley, the training session was designed to allow consistent discussion between the instructor and the students. Crowley did a great job at stopping for any questions, was more than willing to go into detail on his slides during the day and brought along visual aids (i.e. natural gas engine/fueling parts) to help familiarize the participants with the natural gas componentry.