For decades, propane autogas has been a proven and reliable alternative energy source for fleets looking for a cost-effective solution for reducing emissions. Part of the reason it has remained a critical resource for fleets is because innovations continue to evolve as new technology becomes available for vehicles powered by this clean-burning fuel.
One of the more recent innovations is the propane autogas hybrid vehicle. By converting a hybrid vehicle’s gasoline engine to a propane engine, fleets can now take advantage of the low emissions profiles of both the propane and electric energy sources. Additionally, the vehicle combines the reduced fuel needs of a hybrid with propane autogas’ low fuel costs. This alternative fuel is typically less expensive than gasoline and provides the lowest total cost-of-ownership of any energy source.
An early adopter of this emerging technology is thriving on one of the most iconic stretches of road in the nation: the Las Vegas strip. Its propane autogas-electric hybrid success story is worth sharing.
Researching the technology
Yellow Checker Star (YCS) Transportation’s 860-vehicle fleet racks up nearly 50-million miles every year. On any given Friday or Saturday, the Las Vegas fleet will run close to 1,000 shifts. When you add up all those miles, the potential emissions impact could be immense. It is one of the reasons YCS turned to clean propane autogas for its vehicles in the 1980’s, and they’ve never looked back. Vehicles powered with this fuel can produce up to 22 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions than gasoline vehicles.
When passenger hybrid vehicles began to hit the streets, YCS experimented with converting Toyota Prius V sedans to propane autogas hybrids. Before making the switch, YCS owners wanted to ensure their taxis would have the same optimal performance they experienced with propane autogas for the prior 30 years. The staff invested significant time in researching, creating, and testing a custom conversion technique for the Prius.
YCS’ in house conversion technicians engineered a solution that replaced the OEM gasoline fuel system with a custom-designed propane fuel system. It includes a fuel tank designed for maximum fuel capacity, while also providing maximum luggage space. As an added safety measure, the fuel tank is enclosed in a protective barrier.