Buffalo Grove-based Advanced Vehicle Technology Services Inc., also known as Advanced VTech, plans to grow at its headquarters in Buffalo Grove by using a new technology for both commercial and consumer vehicles that can operate more efficiently and greener with compressed natural gas fuel systems. Advanced VTech designs and installs CNG fuel systems and offers maintenance of such alternative fuel vehicles.
Although its primary focus is commercial vehicles, such as those the company already does for Abt Electronics, much of its technology also can be applied to consumer vehicles, said David R. Hagopian, vice president of operations.
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"The primary drivers, no pun intended, are economics, a desire to burn a cleaner fuel, and a desire to burn a domestic fuel source," said Hagopian, of Deerfield. His partner, Ron Sheble of Lincolnshire, is vice president of finance.
Systems are available for most full-size trucks and vans, such as the Ford F and E series, most GM vans, pickups and SUVs, and Dodge pickups. There also are systems available for Chrysler minivans and several models of sedans, he said.
Annual fuel savings depend on a number of things, such as vehicle fuel efficiency, miles driven and the costs of CNG and gasoline. However, the company estimates that savings could be just under $6,000 per year, he said.
"Individuals that drive a lot can benefit just as businesses can," he said.
The technology behind compressed natural gas for use in vehicles isn't new, and other companies also compete for such business. Other installers include World CNG in Chicago, Hendrix Gastrux in Wauconda, Auto Truck Group in Bartlett and Dual Fuel Systems in Batavia.
Most systems are supplemental to the existing gasoline fuel system, so the range of the vehicle is actually extended by the capacity of the CNG storage tank. Systems can switch between gasoline and CNG on the fly, he said.
The company currently has five employees and plans to expand, he said.
The company also has a business plan to grow its fleet and residential services as well as its CNG installation business.
"Our approach is that we will service the vehicles that we install," Hagopian said. "To gear up for this we have become certified installers for a number of manufacturers, in an effort to have systems available for as many vehicle types as practical. We also have a network of suppliers for the various components necessary to engineer applications for different vehicles. An example of this would be fuel tanks for under a full-size SUV or van or a fuel system where the tank is stored inside the bed of a pickup or in the back of a van. We also offer certified inspection of fuel systems."
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