Over the past two decades we have witnessed the introduction of many ‘Clean-technology’ alternatives to the Internal Combustion Engine for the sub-18t commercial vehicle sector. Many have been superbly engineered and evidenced, in small volumes, to provide a genuine proof of concept for urban and suburban applications.
We can look back at the pure EV’s from Smith Electric Vehicles and Modec as prime examples. We have also seen highly credible hybrid solutions using technologies such as fuel-cells, mini-turbines and supercapacitors.
Unfortunately a number of factors conspired against mass-adoption. These included:
- A lack of infrastructure, from a recharging and/or refuelling perspective
- An inability to mobilise an immature and specialist supply-chain to produce components in high volumes
- A nervousness to provide finance from Contract Hire and Asset Finance providers
Lack of volume means higher build/supply costs, and regardless of how ‘Green’ medium and large corporates want to be, the product has to stack up from up from a total cost of ownership (TCO) standpoint. The suppliers have to have a profitable and sustainable business model to ensure they will be around to support the product for the next 10 years. Niche manufacturers didn’t have pockets deep enough to support sale prices at a level that created volume, resulted in critical mass and ultimately a positive TCO to the user. The large OEM’s have the pocket size to develop and support the introduction of low-emission vehicles, but many have hedged until they had visibility of what was to be introduced in terms of regulation and legislation.
HGVs account for 4.2% of UK carbon emissions, so decarbonising the sector is essential to meet the UK’s goal of achieving Net Zero by 2050. An increasing number of UK and European cities are (or are planning to) introduce high tariffs or complete bans on vehicles which do not meet stringent emission levels. Commercial vehicle OEM’s are now realising that a large market is going to open up for load movements and deliveries into cities and are accelerating the deployment of vehicles to fulfil the requirement.
So what is available now and does it fulfil the CSR agenda for large fleet operators?
One such technology that is certainly worth serious consideration is Biomethane-Compressed Natural Gas. The gas is currently sourced from waste feedstocks, such as food waste, and is the most environmentally friendly and cost-effective alternative to diesel for HGVs.
Iveco, Volvo and Scania are established manufacturers of CNG powered trucks. Iveco are 20-year veterans of LPG and CNG technologies. They have produced over 32,000 gas powered vehicles, and have supplied to major operators such as Hermes, UPS, Waitrose and Sainsbury’s.
Iveco has an available range covering
- 3.5t – 7.2t with a runge up to 300 miles
- 16t Rigid with a range with a range up to 300 miles
- 26t Rigid with a range up to 500 miles
- Tractor 4×2 with a range up to 350 miles
- Tractor 6×2 with a range up to 300 miles
CNG Fuels Ltd is a leading operator of bio CNG refuelling infrastructure and is embarking on a major roll-out of new facilities across the UK with current sites in Leyland, Crewe, Northampton (M1) and Warrington (M62). New sites will be opening throughout 2020 in Liverpool and Birmingham and during 2021 in Avonmouth, Bellshill, Wakefield, Newark and Milton Keynes. The Fuel supplied by CNG Fuels is 100% renewable and sustainable Biomethane approved under the UK Department of Transport’s Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) scheme. It cuts vehicle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by up to 85% and is 35%-40% cheaper than diesel.
BNP Paribas Rental Solutions has experienced a rise in interest for CNG products. We have calculated a TCO benefit for certain age and mileage profiles. We support the deployment of this technology and would be delighted to provide contract hire quotations. If you are interested, contact us.