Mack® has announced that it will update the natural gas versions of its Pinnacle series trucks. The Pinnacle series is the result of Mack®‘s partnership with Cummins Westport, an industry-leading manufacturer of natural gas fueled engines.
While the upfront cost of purchasing a more expensive natural gas powered truck has led to lackluster sales Mack® has shown renewed commitment to this alternative fuel source by announcing new updates. One of the most exciting new features will act to automatically keep a set following distance between a truck and the vehicle in front by reducing throttle or engaging the engine retarder and brakes.
Barriers to the Success of Natural Gas Fueled Trucks
Mack®‘s news is exciting from an environmental standpoint, but many truck drivers remain wary about transitioning away from diesel fuel at this point.
A heavy-duty natural gas powered truck costs around $50,000 more than a standard truck. Proponents these trucks say that that lower fuel costs will help to pay back the extra cost in around 4 years. Many truck drivers also point out that fuel savings are usually passed on to the customer, not retained by the driver, making it more difficult to recoup the initial investment. Further, it can be difficult to find natural gas fueling stations that are designed to accommodate large trucks