The trucks are powered by a pre-production LNG engine developed for Class 8 tractors that FedEx said will roll off the assembly line in limited release next year.
If successful, the tractor test could point the way toward broader adoption of natural gas-powered Class 8 trucks by the over-the-road freight business.
Although LNG and compressed natural gas trucks are being used in urban delivery scenarios, natural gas trucks haven’t rolled very far into long-haul trucking.
In part, that’s because engines that could power 80,000-pound tractor-trailers over mountainous terrain and in urban environments have not been available.
The lack of ubiquitous fueling infrastructure is another obstacle, but efforts are under way to build out the LNG fueling network along interstate highways.
FedEx Freight parent FedEx last year formed the Clean Fleets Partnership with UPS, Pepsi-Frito Lay, AT&T and Verizon to promote the use of alternative fuels.