Diesel has been fuelling the road transport industry for decades, but now there’s an alternative fuel and a new
generation of vehicles on the market offering operators a chance to reduce their costs, improve their sustainability
and enjoy a genuine edge over the competition.
At IVECO, we’ve been pioneering natural gas technology – what we call Natural Power – for the last two decades. And during this time we’ve delivered more than 25,000 gaspowered vehicles into fleets across Europe – including most recently to a growing number of high-profile UK operators.
What makes Natural Power the perfect replacement for diesel is that it’s a safe and proven technology and available now, on IVECO vehicles from 3.5 to 44 tonnes. The refuelling infrastructure is also growing by the day and there’s a multitude of gas suppliers ready to support you with custom refuelling solutions and open access sites.
Sound too good to be true? Keep reading to see top reasons why your next vehicle should be running on gas.
Whether you opt for compressed natural gas (CNG) or liqufied natural gas (LNG), switching to Natural Power over fossil fuels is a win-win w both you and the environment. You will also make an instant reduction in your carbon footprint – something buyers are increasingly taking into account when awarding contracts to logistics firms.
If your vehicle is typically handling long-distance motorway work then your CO2 saving is going to be around 15 per cent, 10 per cent for regional missions or around 5 per cent on urban distribution, versus an equivalent Euro-6 diesel truck.
Switch to a biomethane fuel, and those CO2 reductions are going to jump to as much as 85 – 95 per cent depending on your mission. If you are running on CNG, sourcing compressed biomethane is currently easy – and if you need liquid biomethane for an LNGpowered truck, there’s soon going to be a lot more available in the market. Farmers around the country with anaerobic digesters all have the potential to be producing liquid biomethane and we expect a lot of them to start turning their attention to producing this clean fuel in the very near future.
Switching to Natural Power should cut your fuel bills by around a third, depending on the fuel you are running and the type of work you carry out. For some operators, that saving could even be as high as 40 per cent.
To put that into perspective, add up all the fuel saving technologies you have introduced in recent years – such as the latest trailer aerodynamics, low rolling resistance tyres, synthetic oils, advanced driver training etc – and nothing is likely to get close to equalling this level of savings.
Detailed testing of diesel verses Natural Power technology has shown the current generation of gas engines cut NOx emissions by around half.
The move from Euro-5 to Euro-6 diesel engines had already made a dramatic improvement in NOx emissions, but with Natural Power, we’ve successfully turned something small into something a lot smaller still.
Plus, with the Stralis NP, particulate mass emissions are 99 per cent lower than with a Euro-6 diesel vehicle – delivering another significant environmental saving.
In recent years there’s been a huge move to reduce the noise trucks make, particularly to improve quality of life for those living in urban areas where night-time deliveries make the most sense for an efficient logistics operation.
With the Stralis NP, we’ve almost halved its external noise. A diesel-powered Stralis XP operates at around 75dB, versus a Stralis NP at around 72dB. That might not sound a huge difference, but due to the logarithmic decibel scale used for measuring sound, it’s very noticeable.
What’s more, you can specify a special night-time noise reduction switch on the Stralis NP which reduces sound emissions even more – giving operators on urban work the ability to cut noise to 71dB when it really matters and ensure PIEK compliance.
That’s not just great for urban communities, but it makes for a more enjoyable driving experience too.
Yes, the cost of the vehicle is going to be higher than buying diesel – particularly until Natural Power takes over as the dominant fuel of choice in our industry. Maintenance is also around 25 per cent higher, yet fleets can easily expect to see TCO reductions of around 10 per cent. What’s more, for operators covering more than200,000km per year, TCO savings could be as high as 20 per cent.
Furthermore, in the Budget 2018, the Chancellor announced that following review, the government will maintain the difference between alternative and main road fuel duty rates until 2032 to support the de-carbonisation of the UK transport sector, subject to review in 2024. This provides the perfect environment to support operators making the transition to natural gas.
Every IVECO heavy truck dealership in the UK and across Europe has technicians trained to work on Natural Power vehicles, so getting access to expert repair and maintenance – including spare parts – will be no different than with a diesel IVECO vehicle.
If you prefer to maintain your own fleet, the IVECO training school in Basildon offers courses for in-house workshop staff to attend, training alongside our very own dealer technicians.
And the feedback from those fleets already doing their own maintenance on our Natural Power vehicles is very positive – with no issues encountered, and their staff reportedly enjoying the challenge of learning new skills.
In a world where brand image has never been so important, your marketing department won’t need any convincing that Natural Power is the way forward.
The corporate sustainability agenda is critical to big business, and you only need to look at the early-adopters of gas technology to see which companies view it as essential to be seen to be doing the right thing and reducing their carbon footprint.
But with Natural Power, those benefits are available to everyone, and immediately. You don’t need a fleet of hundreds of trucks to make the argument for Natural
Power financially viable. Take companies like Gilmour Brothers Transport in Lesmahagow and H Parkinson Haulage in Preston as the perfect example of smaller businesses
leading the way by becoming early adopters with Natural Power fleets, and delivering great results on the back of it.