Mercedes-Benz Trucks UK and BP have successfully tested the first digital in-truck fuel payment system in the UK, running a successful pilot trial with Wren Kitchens.
The new app-based system, BP In-Truck Pay, aims to make fuel purchasing and management faster, more efficient and more secure for both truck drivers and fleet managers.
It has been developed for the latest-generation Mercedes-Benz Actros, which can be specified with Multimedia Cockpit, Interactive. This incorporates the Truck App Portal, an open platform that can be used by fleet managers to easily assign apps to their vehicles via their Multi-Touch Display.
Automatically relaying purchases, mileage and other data back to base, In-Truck Pay eliminates errors, provides accurate information to managers and removes the need for drivers to enter mileage themselves, says BP.
In the pilot trial, Mercedes-Benz truck customer Wren Kitchens used BP In-Truck Pay with 11 vehicles from its fleet.
Lee Thompson-Halls, national fleet manager for Wren Kitchens, said: “The trials have shown an increase in efficiency, with savings of approximately five minutes per transaction.
“When you add that up over time, it will have a hugely positive impact on our business, which delivers over 100,000 kitchens per year across the UK.
“Not only that, but it will also be beneficial for our drivers, by creating a safer and quicker way to pay for fuel.”
The app is designed specifically for fleet operators to help get drivers back on the road faster. Drivers confirm the site, unlock the pump and refuel.
The truck directly logs the fuel transaction – paying for the fuel itself. Drivers don’t need to pay in the shop or to enter data and there is no need for fuel cards.
When Mercedes-Benz Trucks UK launched its new Actros range in 2019, it polled customers to ask them what type of app they would like developers to offer that could help their businesses. Top of the list was ‘solutions that address refuelling issues’.
Alexandru Eftimiu, BP’s VP fleet Europe, said: “We aim to provide innovative digital solutions to make customers’ lives easier.
“BP In-Truck Pay shifts how we connect with our customers through digital and online platforms. It makes life easier and more convenient for both managers and drivers of commercial fleets.
“We’ve already received fantastic feedback from Wren Kitchens and look forward to bringing bp In-Truck Pay to other customers and countries in due course.”
Richard Skidmore, head of customer service delivery at Mercedes-Benz Trucks UK, said: “Connectivity is integral to the strategy of Mercedes-Benz Trucks. BP In-Truck Pay demonstrates perfectly how the Truck App Portal can amplify the benefit of running Mercedes-Benz trucks by helping customers to save money, increase efficiency and retain drivers.
“We are proud of the part our Connectivity team has played in the development of this app that has the potential to transform the way in which operators may purchase their fuel.”
BP In-Truck Pay was installed on 11 of Wren Kitchens’ Actros trucks – six tractor units used to distribute quartz worktops from its headquarters in Barton-upon-Humber, and five 18-tonners based at a depot in Tipton in the West Midlands, that deliver kitchens to customers’ homes.
Wren Kitchens buys from BP all but a tiny percentage of the fuel needed to run its fleet of 300 trucks, which operate from a network of seven locations nationwide. Approximately 100 of these vehicles are Mercedes-Benz trucks.
The operator worked closely with development teams from BP and Mercedes-Benz Trucks UK on the implementation of the new system, and provided feedback on its operation, with particular focus on data availability and quality, and driver opinion.
Thompson-Halls said: “Going card-less has saved us so much time and trouble, not only at the fuel station but also on the admin side. It has ensured that we’re working with clear, accurate data, and is also where we need to be from a security perspective.
“Our team of drivers do a challenging job, so anything we can do to make their lives easier and less stressful has to be a good thing, not least because it will help to make them that bit safer at the wheel.”
He continued: “Our drivers have found the app very straightforward and easy to use, and they like the idea of being at the forefront of new technology.
“A lot of them are looking at the bigger picture and see this as a development that will help drivers of the future, as well as themselves.”