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About Us

We are a dynamic, industrial holding company dedicated to investing in, growing and starting businesses.

Founded in 1993, we invest, grow and provide strategic expertise for scalable early stage, high growth, and mid-sized businesses.

Along the way, we have expanded globally into diverse industries including manufacturing, distribution, technology, big data, engineering and energy efficiency.

People

Our people are the foundation for what we do. We are committed to developing our people to their fullest potential.

Products

Our strategy is to start with the end customer’s perspective and work backwards to develop products and services that address the customer’s needs.

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To achieve big results, we implement processes that drive sustainable growth, mitigate execution risk, increase speed to market and reduce costs.

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Our Companies

Autocar
Aculocity
GreenOhm
TRIZ Engineering
GVW Parts
J.I.T Parts
Autocar Parts
GVW Investments

Our Exits

Workhorse Custom Chassis
Union City Body Company
Uptime Parts

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5 Reasons to Work Here

You are an "A" player
You want to make a difference
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You want to win, not just play the game
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In the News...

Adopt Natural Gas Truck Technology Now or Pay Later

17 June, 2016

"Fleet owners should be taking a serious look at what natural gas vehicles have to offer now. Here’s why."

We operate today in a competitive market where, at present, oil prices are low and greenhouse gas regulations for vehicles are limited. However, this will change soon, so savvy fleet owners should be taking a serious look at what natural gas vehicles have to offer now. Here’s why.

To date, the economic argument for NGVs has been fundamentally tied to the price of oil. When conventional fuel prices are high, switching to stable, low-cost natural gas is very compelling. But when the cost of conventional fuels is low, this immediate economic argument fades.

Fleet owners who are only looking at the short-term economics forget that the oil market is highly volatile and prone to sudden price shifts.

Adopt Natural Gas Truck Technology Now or Pay Later
Even now we are seeing oil prices starting to rise off their recent lows. Experts believe this trend will continue. In a recent Wall Street Journal survey, investment banks raised their future oil price estimates to $55 a barrel in 2017 — the third consecutive monthly increase. The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s recent Annual Energy Outlook foresees crude oil nearing $85 in 2020 and topping $100 in 2023.

That’s why running an average fuel price differential between conventional fuels and natural gas at current prices will underestimate the cost benefit of natural gas over the life of the vehicle, potentially significantly.

The long-term view is behind the decision by shipping giant UPS to invest in 12 additional compressed natural gas fueling stations and 380 CNG heavy-duty trucks.

“We own our fleet and our infrastructure. That allows us to invest for the long-term, rather than planning around near-term fluctuations in fuel pricing,” UPS explained when announcing its investment earlier this year.

When major shipping companies such as UPS switch significant portions of their fleets to alternative fuel vehicles, those who don’t will miss the savings and fall behind their competition. From 2011 through 2014, fleets averaged a $2-per-gallon savings with natural gas compared with diesel fuel. For a heavy-duty pickup truck consuming 2,000 gallons per year, this equated to a $4,000 savings. For a Class 8 weight segment, or heavy-duty truck, consuming 20,000 gallons, the savings reached $40,000.

There’s more to this than just the fuel-cost savings. The 2016 Paris Agreement on climate change and the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Phase 2 GHG Standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles will force the trucking industry to reduce carbon emissions. Vehicles will need to change in order to comply, and NGVs will have an advantage.

We saw this in 2010 when regulations limiting emissions of particulate matter and oxides of nitrogen were introduced for medium- and heavy-duty trucks. Manufacturers were forced to add expensive exhaust after-treatments to diesel engines, but there were no changes for NGVs because they were cleaner. 

As regulations become more stringent, the engine technology offering the lowest possible carbon emissions at the lowest possible price will ultimately win.

The technology to meet the proposed EPA Phase 2 GHG regulations already exists for natural gas engines and can offer long-term benefits across a broad range of heavy-duty vehicles. The new ISL G Near Zero 8.9-liter natural gas engine from Cummins-Westport — a joint venture between Westport and engine manufacturer Cummins — already meets these proposed standards through 2027. Moreover, the technology can exploit the ultra-high octane properties of natural gas to create advanced, high-efficiency powertrains that match, or even exceed, diesel engine performance.

The cost advantage of natural gas will increase. According to industry estimates, full compliance with the proposed EPA regulations will add several thousand dollars to the cost of vehicles running on conventional fuels — as much as $11,000 extra for a tractor trailer in 2024. As GHG rules tighten, NGVs will cost less than compliant conventional fuel vehicles, creating a compelling economic argument even without factoring in fuel savings. Fleet owners should focus on the environmental benefits of NGVs now and reap the economic benefits in the future.

Federal and state governments are on board with NGVs and are offering the trucking industry incentives to adopt natural gas in recognition of the environmental benefits. In December, Congress passed the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act, which offers weight exemptions to heavy-duty natural gas trucks. The California Air Resources Board also plans to make it easier for fleets to adopt more sustainable solutions. Its 2016-17 Low Carbon Transportation and Fuels Investments budget proposes allocating $175 million for zero- and near-zero-emission heavy-duty vehicle projects, including incentives for new low-NOx natural gas trucks.

With the real long-term cost differentials, inherently low carbon emissions and technology that complies with upcoming GHG regulations, NGVs are a smart choice. The trucking industry needs to look to the future — which is really just around the corner — and decide where it wants to be. Heavy-duty fleet owners have a choice: They can either start planning for a move to alternative fuels now or face a costly future when the inevitable happens.

Article originally appears in Trucks.com

Autocar E3 saves East Lansing, Michigan 40 percent on fuel and emissions

6 June, 2016

“Going green” for any truck operation is often easier said than done—and nowhere is that more true than in municipal fleet work. The key factor, of course, is cost. The sticker price on almost any type of alternative-powered commercial truck is higher than a comparable diesel- or gasoline-fired model, so fleets, especially municipal ones, need to find ways to pay back at least some of that additional up-front expense.

The City of East Lansing faced such a quandary in 2014 when a strategic change in its recycling program opened up an opportunity to buy an alternative-powered truck.

Cathy DeShambo, environmental services administrator for East Lansing, says the city changed over to an automated recycling program (using a truck operated by a single driver controlling a robot arm to pick up and empty 96-gal. recycling cans) and adopt­ed a green fleet policy that authorized the fleet to pay more for alternative-powered trucks compared to diesel- and gasoline-fueled models. The policy was “driven by the goals of the city’s climate sustainability plan to reduce petroleum use and ... greenhouse gas emissions from the city’s fleet,” she says.

While East Lansing focused on finding hybrid and alternative fuel options for its new refuse truck, it also needed to meet daily operational needs and it needed reliable, cost-efficient equipment so that it could continue to  provide services for its residents.

How could the fleet prove that out prior to actually buying a new unit?

Solution:

East Lansing’s fleet department settled on demonstration drives. It put trucks equipped with compressed natural gas fuel systems, diesel-electric hybrid powertrains, and other models through a three-week trial under the watchful eyes of drivers and techs.

“We operate in a pretty cold climate for a good part of the year and regularly face lots of ice and snow,” DeShambo says. “We’re also a densely populated area ... so we’re not spread out. There’s a lot of stop-stop-stop by our trucks in the refuse operation.”

In November 2014, East Lansing tested an Autocar E3 hybrid-drive truck within its refuse operation—a truck powered by the RunWise hybrid powertrain developed by Parker Hannifin. The system uses hydraulics for braking and low-speed propulsion, making it particularly efficient in heavy stop-and-go work environments.

The Autocar E3 cost 30% more than a comparable diesel-only truck, but it offered several key cost-saving benefits:  Fuel consumption was reduced 40-50%, basically doubling the fuel mileage of a traditional trash truck, and brake wear was reduced to the point where brake pad replacement could be extended out to between three and five years.

DeShambo says that the hydraulics also reduce wear and tear on other critical parts, increasing their life expectancy.
Overall, Autocar estimates those savings typically help a refuse fleet recoup the sticker price premium paid for an Autocar E3 truck in 3.5 to 4 years.

She also points out that the city would never have been able to get a realistic feel for such cost savings by just having a truck for a day or two in limited use.

Published in Fleet Owner Magazine, June, 6 2016

Houston, El Paso, others add Autocar CNG and Hybrid Trucks to Fleet

14 April, 2016

The City of Houston is expected to order 18 new Autocar E3™ refuse trucks with the RunWise series hydraulic hybrid driveline from Parker Hannifin. Houston is to place an order for 13 trucks in June and another five in July, says Cliff Buck of Autocar.

The order follows a comparison of Autocar hybrid and compressed natural gas-fueled trucks, Buck says. Houston opted for the hybrid, which uses conventional diesel fuel, in part due to concerns about fuel availability in the case of a hurricane, he told F&F. Advantages of the RunWise-drive trucks include diesel better fuel economy – “RunWise typically reduces fuel consumption 35%-50%,” says Parker Hannifin – and reduced brake wear.

Brakes? ‘Once in Six Years’

“Your don’t have to do the brakes but once in six years,” Buck says.

The City of New Braunfels, northwest of San Antonio, operates ten of the RunWise hybrid trucks.

The City of Austin operates four RunWise hydraulic hybrid and 48 CNG-fueled Autocar trucks.

WCA Waste in the Houston Area Too

According to Buck, “68% of our production right now is CNG.”

WCA Waste, which operates more than 100 CNG-fueled Autocar trucks, recently received 12 more for Missouri City, southwest of Houston.

Switching to Heil

The City of El Paso, which already operates 15 CNG-fueled Autocar trucks with McNeilus bodies, has ordered eight trucks with Heil bodies and Type III CNG fuel tanks from Worthington.

Autocar’s CNG trucks have 8.9-liter ISL G engines from Cummins Westport. The E3 hydraulic hybrids have a Cummins ISL H variant – “H is for hybrid,” Buck says – to accommodate the lower torque requirements of the Parker Hannifin hydrostatic drive.

Originally appeared: http://www.fleetsandfuels.com/fuels/cng/2016/04/autocar-parker-runwise-hybrids-for-houston/

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