Request for Proposals to Develop an Aftermarket Bi-Fuel Propane Autogas Vehicle System

August 15, 2011

Download RFP: Request for Proposals to Develop an Aftermarket Bi-Fuel Propane Autogas Vehicle System


General Information
The Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) is a nonprofit 501(c)( 6) trade organization authorized by the Propane Education and Research Act of 1996 (PERA), Public Law 104-284.  PERC was created “to enhance consumer and employee safety and training, to provide for research and development of clean and efficient propane utilization equipment, and to inform and educate the public about safety and other issues associated with the use of propane.” This Request for Proposals (RFP) is not subject to any federal or state procurement law or regulation.
A 21-member Board of Directors appointed by the National Propane Gas Association and the Gas Processors Association governs PERC. 

Project Overview
Economics and environmental regulations continue to be the drivers for market development in the propane autogas market. Present economic and environmental conditions have created opportunities for alternative fueled propane autogas vehicles to compete in today’s automotive markets.  The Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) has determined there is a need for an organization to develop a bi-fueled propane autogas powered light duty vehicle aftermarket conversion system. The bi-fuel system is characterized by enabling the vehicle to run on either propane or gasoline. The bi-fuel system must meet existing and future customer needs and comply with all Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and California Air Resources Board (CARB) requirements.

Propane's clean-burning properties can greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions in on-road applications. Propane offers tangible benefits to the user in the form of lower operating costs, reduced maintenance, and lower emissions.

Propane Education & Research Council (PERC)
Bi-Fuel Vehicle Development Guidelines

PERC is interested in funding projects whose success is measured by: (1) how many units can enter the marketplace, (2) establishing a proven and repeatable roadmap to EPA and CARB certifications, and (3) how many new propane gallons will result from those units over the next five years.  PERC is not interested in proving technical feasibility.

In order to have successful development, commercialization and sustainability of propane vehicles entering into the market, PERC has developed a template that applicants must follow and answer completely. Applicants must fully address the following two main requirements:

I. Product Development and System Considerations

• Technology
The bi-fuel technology selected will play a critical role in the vehicles performance and durability. Please provide a detailed explanation of the technology and components used within the bi-fuel system, any applicable code or standard to which the component or system must comply, and the level of compliance actually achieved or to be achieved.

• Certification Levels
Meeting the most stringent emissions requirements is critical to the continued success of propane autogas vehicle programs. Please indicate the certifications levels expected to achieve for light, medium and/or heavy duty vehicles. Please be specific with regards to EPA’s exhaust, running loss and SHED emission standards as well as EPA’s On-Board Diagnostics (OBD) & On-Board Diagnostic II (OBD II) compliance and California Air Resource Board’s (CARB) requirements.

a) Durability and Vehicle Testing
Specify how your system will continue to meet vehicle performance and durability standards. Please provide a detailed explanation of the durability and vehicle testing protocols & standards to be followed in the development process and indicating which are voluntary or arbitrary and which are mandatory.

II. Commercialization Plan

Commercialization is critical to the success of this bi-fuel propane autogas vehicle program. The elements of commercialization must address the following:

b) Marketing
The competitive environment of gasoline, diesel and other alternative fueled vehicles requires innovation and thoroughness. Please provide background information, timing, and budget for your marketing plan as well as plans for:
o Product distribution
o Sales training & incentive programs
o Vehicle demonstration availability

c) Maintenance Service & Training
Define your strategy to accomplish worry-free maintenance and training on bi-fuel vehicles in multiple geographical locations to meet customer expectations. Please describe partnerships or joint ventures established to successfully maintain bi-fuel propane autogas vehicles once entered into service including:

  • Technical support
  • Technician & parts training
  • Field service
  • Special tools & equipment
  • Parts inventory

d) Warranty
Describe product warranty and coverage. Additionally, discuss affects of aftermarket propane autogas bi-fuel system on OEM warranty, if any.

e) Cost
Based on the above related information and amount of funds requested from PERC to assist in the development of a bi-fuel propane autogas vehicle (bi-fuel system and/or bi-fuel system components), applicants are expected to have a reasonable estimate of the per unit cost regardless of quantities per customer. Applicants must also be prepared to commit to a “not to exceed” per unit price to manufacture, and a per unit price to the customer. Please provide a detailed breakdown of retail pricing of a complete installation and (if anticipated) sales of kits/components as well.
Note:  Any interested applicant will be given equal opportunity to review non-proprietary previous research sponsored by PERC.  A summary report will be available upon written request to PERC Projects Manager, Jeremy Wishart, at

The successful applicant will be an experienced company in the development, testing and commercialization of vehicles and/or engine development programs partnered with an OEM in either alternative or conventional fueled vehicles.
Project completion dates will be an important factor in selecting a contractor.  PERC anticipates this project will be completed within a maximum of 12-16 months after the awarding of the project.  

Other Requirements
Responding proposals must include the following administrative specifications:
1. Applicant must work within PERC’s Propel process, which follows the principles of the Stage Gate® process. For a detailed description of the Propel process please visit or call the PERC offices at 202-452-8975. Responding proposals must include the following specifications.  The specifications are derived from PERC’s idea submission form. 
a) Idea Submitter Information


b) Description of Idea
I. Describe your new product, new technology, or service idea.
a. In particular, describe the key value attributes of the idea.
II. Who is the logical customer(s), consumer(s) or market(s)?
a. Indicate if this is a new or current market for propane.
b. How familiar is the Propane Industry with the market?  Has the Propane Council funded or otherwise supported any product development activities to this market today?
III. What is the competitive situation? 
a. Who are the competitors?
b. What are the competitive products?
c. Does the Propane Council or propane technologies compete against any competitors in the market today?
IV. Have you talked to anyone (for example, experts, industry members, or customers) about this idea?
a. List the people you have talked to about this idea and where they are from.
b. When?

c) Description of Solution

I. What is the proposed solution?

a. List any other possible solutions you have been considering.

II. How familiar is the technology to the manufacturing partner?

a. Consider design and manufacturing.

III. What are the key risks and challenges of developing and commercializing this idea?

a. Highlight any risks you are aware of.
b. Do you know of any patents related to your idea?

d) Benefits of Idea

I. What customer problem(s) is solved? 

a. How important is this problem to the customer?

II. What is the business rationale for developing this product or service? 

a. Why should this idea be pursued?
b. What is the impact?

III. How does the idea align with the Propane Council’s business strategy?

2. What aspects of PERC’s strategy will be served by this project?

3. The applicant will provide a detailed project timeline including:

a) Assume an anticipated start date of December 2011
b) Completion date
c) Key project stages and activities

3.   The contractor will submit a proposed budget covering the entire project period on a separate budget page.  The proposed budget will provide a cost breakdown in sufficient detail by the following cost categories, where applicable:

a) Personnel

I. Wage rates, salaried rates, hourly rates, etc.
II. Specify the duties of the professionals to be compensated under this project.
III. State the total amount of compensation for each position for the total project.

b) Fringe Benefits

I. Explain how the fringe benefit rate is computed and what base (i.e., labor costs or labor hours, or other) it is applied to.

c)  Administrative

I. General and administrative overhead, facilities capital cost of money, etc.

d) Travel
e)  Equipment

I. NOTE:  Any proposed equipment will be carefully reviewed relative to the need and appropriateness for the proposed research.

f) Supplies

I. Itemize supplies as to the types, quantities, unit price, and total price.

g) Contractual

I. Describe the purpose of each sub-recipient/subcontractor and why they are required.

h) Other (must detail)

4. The applicant shall include justification on vehicle and/or platform selection.

a) Product Identification
b) Market intelligence used in selection of product
c) Number of platforms being brought to market

5.   The contractor will include a description of the background and qualifications of all subject matter experts and individuals that would be performing the work.

6.   The contractor will provide a client list and completed project list.  Documented experience in producing and supporting a similar project is highly desired.






RFP issued


 August 15, 2011

RFP responses due


October 28, 2011

Award made


December, 2011


PERC is seeking a reputable manufacturing partner with a proven ability to produce and sell an EPA and CARB certified aftermarket conversion system.  Matching funds and in-kind contributions from the applicant and other project partners strengthen the application and are encouraged.

PERC anticipates this project will be awarded in December 2011. The completion date should be proposed by the applicant based on the anticipated commercialization of the product within the 12-16 month timeframe.



1.   Given the various skill sets and requirements surrounding this RFP, PERC may divide the work between more than one vendor.  In so doing, PERC may elect to designate one offeror as the general contractor and other(s) as sub-contractor(s).

2.   PERC, in its sole discretion, also reserves the right to not award any contract on the proposals received.

3.   PERC may request additional information from any offeror.

4. Neither this RFP nor the submission of any proposal creates any contract or obligation on the part of PERC.

5. Should PERC identify a proposal(s) suitable for award, the offeror(s) will be required to sign a written agreement for the services sought.  This contract will be an indefinite quantity contract which will permit PERC to order the successful offeror(s)’ review of as few as one program.  The quantity ordered beyond the minimum set forth in any resulting contract shall be at the discretion of PERC.

6. PERC will not accept any information in any proposal that is designated confidential or proprietary or contains confidential or proprietary information.  PERC cannot and will not guarantee that should such information be submitted that it would be maintained as confidential.  Should an offeror’s desire to submit proprietary or confidential information, it should contact PERC in advance to discuss whether and how such information may be effectively submitted.


Additional Information
Proposals will be subject to an objective merit review procedure of PERC’s Engine Fuel Advisory Committee, and senior leadership. Please send all questions regarding this request for proposals in writing via e-mail to Jeremy Wishart at
For copies of the following PERC documents, please visit our web site at

a) Propane Education and Research Act
b) Fact Sheets
c) Press Releases
d) Propane Market Information


Submitting Proposals
Proposals are required to be contained in a single file and must be sent in electronic PDF or Microsoft Word format to  They are due at PERC’s office no later than 5 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on Friday, September 16, 2011.   A CD or memory stick may also be mailed to:

Propane Education & Research Council
1140 Connecticut Ave. NW, Suite 1075
Washington, DC 20036
202-452-8975 (phone)