Ocado is adding 29 Iveco Stralis NP tractor units to its fleet, marking the largest order for single-fuel gas-powered trucks of any manufacturer to-date in the UK.
Five of the compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles will enter service immediately, operating out of the company’s Dordon customer fulfilment centre, near Tamworth.
The remaining 24 trucks will go into operation later in the year when Ocado’s dedicated natural gas refuelling facility is opened by Gasrec, in Hatfield.
Stuart Skingsley, head of fleet at Ocado, said: “We were immediately attracted to the Stralis NP when it was launched as it appeared to be the step change in technology that would drive gas powered trucks to a new place in the market. The demonstrator vehicle received positive feedback from our drivers, and our own experience driving the vehicle was also positive.
“The green credentials of this vehicle are clear, and once we had reviewed the fuel costs against our existing diesel fleet it was clear there was also a cost benefit to running these cleaner, quieter vehicles.”
The Stralis NP is powered by a Cursor 9 Euro VI natural gas engine which doesn’t require any diesel or petrol-derived fuel, and benefits from a maintenance-free and AdBlue-free after-treatment system. It delivers the same output of 400 hp and 1,700 Nm torque as its diesel equivalent, resulting in an excellent power-to-weight ratio, power density and quietness of operation – perfect for Ocado’s operation, where artics typically operate at gross vehicle weights up to 38 tonnes.
Each vehicle emits 50 per cent less NOx emissions, 95 per cent less particulate matter versus Euro VI limits, and 95 per cent less CO2 when using compressed biomethane. They are fitted with eight gas tanks, offering an expected range of up to 600km. This fuel also offers the opportunity for Ocado to reduce its running costs thanks to natural gas being around 30 per cent cheaper than diesel.
James Westcott, chief commercial officer of Gasrec, added: “Seeing the first CNG-powered trucks entering the Ocado fleet represents a turning point for the industry, as businesses begin the transition from diesel to a cleaner, quieter and cheaper fuel.
“The new refuelling station we are building for Ocado is testament to our commitment to helping environmentally conscious companies move to natural gas, through both open-access refuelling stations and the construction of dedicated facilities for larger fleets.”