Ocado has expanded its fleet of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) fuelled trucks with 20 new Iveco Stralis NP tractor units.
It has welcomed six Stralis NP 400 (AS440S40T/P NG) 4x2 tractor units and 14 higher-powered Stralis AS440S46T/P NG 4x2s to its fleet.
This latest batch forms a larger order of 31 new Iveco Stralis trucks, with the remaining 11 being AT440S42T/P 420-horsepower diesels, with the narrower, lower AT cab for use within the M25.
“We had the desire to look at how we could begin to move away from diesel and the first time we saw the Iveco, we knew it was a game changer in terms of gas technology”, said Graham Thomas, fleet operations manager at Ocado.
“We chose CNG as we didn’t necessarily need the extended range offered by liquified gas, and in terms of a refuelling experience, CNG has much more in common with diesel. It’s an easier transition for the drivers, and in terms of health and safety, it allowed us to adopt the changes quickly and with minimal disruption to day-to-day operations.”
By shifting to 460-horsepower 12.9-litre Cursor 13 powered trucks, Ocado can monitor their performance using Iveco’s in-built fleet telematics system. A further benefit is that the bigger engine and 12-speed HI-TRONIX automatic transmission will make lighter work of pulling its five-metre high double-decker trailers, increasing the fuel economy.
By the end of the year, Ocado’s tractor fleet will reach 168 units, more than a third of which will be Iveco Stralis running on CNG.
Ocado has already managed to rack up more than 11.5 million CNG-fuelled kilometres, and with the government locking gas fuel duty at 50% of diesel until 2032 means that it is already seeing significant financial benefits too.
The trucks are run on a five-year operating lease through Hitachi Capital Vehicle Solutions and save the business around £7,000 per truck, per annum, offering a two-year payback against an equivalent diesel truck. The Stralis are maintained by a number of IVECO service centres dependent on their home base on five-year Elements 3XL R&M contracts.
Currently, the majority of the CNG trucks run out of Ocado’s Hatfield CFC (Customer Fulfilment Centre) where last year it partnered with Gasrec becoming the first retailer to self-fund its own CNG refuelling station. This on-site station is linked directly to the grid and will be maintained and supported by Gasrec as part of a 10-year agreement.
The latest batch will run out of Ocado’s North Warwickshire CFC in Dordon where the company is exploring plans for a second refuelling station as it intends to expand its fleet of gas-powered trucks further still.