Their arrival marks the first Volvos to enter service in Kuehne+Nagel’s UK fleet, following the firm’s participation in the Innovate UK-funded ‘Dedicated to Gas’ project. This evaluated the viability of Euro VI gas heavy goods vehicles as an alternative to diesel and demonstrated their potential to unlock significant CO2 savings and reduce running costs.
Supplied by Volvo Truck and Bus Centre East Anglia, the 6x2 pusher-axle tractors feature 155 kg LNG tanks and feature Volvo’s 12-speed I-Shift automated transmission. The specification also includes the latest generation I-See predictive cruise control system, which analyses the topography to optimise speed and gear changes. The new trucks will pull temperature-controlled double-deck trailers on national trunking routes from the customer’s Wellingborough regional distribution centre (RDC) to sites in Avonmouth, London and Manchester. Each vehicle is expected to cover 125,000 miles per year, with refuelling taking place using an on-site facility operated by Air Liquide.
Andrew Blake, national distribution manager at Kuehne+Nagel, says: “We’d previously run dual fuel trucks for seven years, but it was our involvement in the Dedicated to Gas trials which confirmed that LNG was the right approach to take. We’re projecting an initial 20% reduction in CO2 emissions on these routes using standard LNG, with the intention of moving quickly to bio-LNG to increase this reduction to at least 80% in the near future.”
Volvo’s approach to natural gas stands out for using compression-ignition technology which relies upon small amounts of diesel to initiate ignition of the air-fuel mixture. This enables the Volvo G13C engine to deliver the same 454bhp and 2,300Nm of torque as its diesel-only counterpart, with matching service intervals and reliability. These engines also provide secondary vehicle retardation thanks to the patented Volvo Engine Brake.
Blake explains: “From an engineering perspective we have absolute confidence in Volvo’s natural gas powertrain to deliver the performance we need in an intensive around-the-clock, 44-tonne application. We looked at the spark ignition options available in other vehicles, but we didn’t want any trade-off in terms of performance or fuel efficiency.
The new vehicles have been supplied on a five-year Volvo Financial Services contract hire deal which incorporates a Volvo Gold Contract repair and maintenance package, supported by a 100% uptime promise. All scheduled servicing and maintenance will be carried out at Volvo Truck and Bus Centre East Anglia’s Wellingborough dealership, located less than five miles from the customer’s RDC.