Saddle Creek teams with Freightliner Trucks to develop CNG vehicle

Freightliner Trucks and Saddle Creek Logistics Services have together developed a new Freightliner Cascadia 113" BBC day cab with natural gas technology featuring advanced aerodynamics.

Saddle Creek, a Lakeland, FL-based integrated logistics solutions and services provider, has ordered the first 10 of the vehicles, outfitted with a 120-gallon fuel system. When complete, this will mark the first time a natural gas system will be fully enclosed behind the side and back of cab aerodynamic fairings.

The company already has more than 100 Freightliner CNG tractors in its fleet of 430 vehicles, making it the largest CNG over the road tractor fleet in operation in the country. The additional 10 tractors will be used for truckload operations in the Southeastern United States.

In total, natural-gas powered vehicles which have accumulated nearly 12 million miles of use - more than any other for-hire fleet. 

It expects to order 90 additional natural gas trucks once testing is completed later this year.

Powered by the Cummins Westport ISX 12 G heavy duty natural gas engine with ratings up to 400 hp and 1,450 lb-ft torque, Saddle Creek's Cascadia CNG tractors will include a fully enclosed back cabinet behind the vehicle's aerodynamics package. The placement of the tanks will further enhance the sleek exterior, which helps reduce drag and maximize payload.

"Our new tractors are the first of their kind with this aerodynamic fuel-efficient design," says Mike DelBovo, president of Saddle Creek Transportation. "We worked closely with Freightliner engineers and Agility Fuel Systems ( to design this system."

Agility is the leading designer and producer of alternative fuel storage and delivery systems for heavy duty trucks, buses and specialty vehicles.

"We've been able to provide our customers with remarkable benefits with each generation of our existing Freightliner CNG tractors, and we look forward to bringing them even better results with this latest tractor," he says

Saddle Creek's Freightliner M2 112 CNG tractors have achieved more than 600 miles per fill. DelBovo expects his new Cascadia CNG tractors to achieve at least 700 miles per fill.

Saddle Creek is committed to environmentally-friendly solutions, such as CNG, to minimize its carbon footprint and support the sustainability efforts of its customers. Because the natural gas infrastructure is limited, the company has built its own fueling station at its Lakeland headquarters.

"Partnering with a company like Saddle Creek allows us to continue to push the envelope when it comes to offering innovative sustainable solutions," says Robert Carrick, sales manager - natural gas, for Freightliner Trucks. "Together with Saddle Creek and Agility Fuel Systems, we have developed the next generation in clean technology with improved aerodynamics that will move the industry in a new direction."

The Freightliner Cascadia 113 natural gas day cab offers the same performance and versatile benefits of the popular Cascadia tractor, he notes, with the incorporation of cheaper, cleaner burning natural gas fuel.

Full start of production on all Cascadia 113 natural gas-powered day cabs will begins this month (August).

Freightliner Trucks' commitment to green technologies is part of parent company Daimler AG's global Shaping Future Transportation initiative, says Mark Lampert, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA). Launched in 2007, the initiative focuses on reducing criteria pollutants, carbon dioxide and fuel consumption.

Freightliner is a division of DTNA (, the leading heavy duty truck manufacturer, and producer of Class 4 through 8 trucks. DTNA is a Daimler ( company, the world's leading commercial vehicle manufacturer.

In February 2012, the EPA certified DTNA's complete portfolio of model year 2013 on-highway, vocational and medium duty vehicles as fully compliant with the new GHG14 regulations. DTNA was the first North American commercial vehicle manufacturer to be certified as GHG14-compliant.