Despite 30% of Ocado’s fleet already being CNG-powered vehicles, fleet manager Graham Thomas wanted to overcome driver concerns about the capability of CNG for longer routes, such as from the operator’s Hatfield base to its depots in Manchester and Leeds.
Thomas says: “Before we took any CNG vehicles onto the fleet we had to have a very close look at the logistics of routes and fuelling, because the only practical restriction to CNG is not having the option to refuel away from our base.”
Thomas (pictured, right) joined Guest’s key account director Bal Singh in the cab of an IVECO NP400 Stralis for a return trip from Hatfield to Manchester.
“During the trip, the IVECO NP400 Stralis 4x2 with its lightly loaded trailer, simulating a typical load for this route, achieved 12.4mpg on the 590km journey and returned to base with fuel still left in the tank,” reports Thomas.
Robert Spittle, managing director of Guest Truck and Van, says this is typical of the work that the dealer’s sales and technical teams are doing to overcome objections to alternative fuels that fleet managers or drivers might have.
He says: “The efficiency statistics show that there are definitely both economic and environmental advantages to using compressed natural gas (CNG) power, and driver feedback tells us that there is no compromise on power.
“However, the current lack of refuelling infrastructure right across the UK means that it takes some research and planning to make sure that a CNG vehicle is the right addition to a fleet.”
Spittle adds: “It’s easy to see the issue that some fleet managers might have when they’re introducing new technology or practices, and telling someone is never as convincing as showing them."