‘Range Anxiety’ Trial Completed

RESISTANCE to the take-up of alternative fuelled vehicles may be showing signs of decreasing according to Iveco’s largest truck dealer group in the UK.

Robert Spittle, managing director of Guest Truck and Van, says that their sales and technical teams are helping customers, particularly fleet managers to slowly overcome objections that they or their drivers might have.

He said, ‘The efficiency statistics show that there are definitely both economic and environmental advantages to using Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) power, and driver feedback tells us that there is no compromise on power.

‘However, the current lack of refuelling infrastructure right across the UK means that it takes some research and planning to make sure that a CNG vehicle is the right addition to a fleet.’

In the latest of a series of practical CNG tests with Ocado Group, Guest’s key account director Bal Singh joined Ocado fleet manager Graham Thomas in the cab for an almost non-stop return trip from Hatfield to Manchester to prove the range capability of an Iveco NP400 Stralis.

Graham said: ‘Around 30% of the Ocado truck fleet is already powered by CNG and although people are sometimes resistant to change, many of our drivers have commented favourably on the move to the CNG powered Iveco Stralis, although range remains a concern for most.

‘Before we took any CNG vehicles onto the fleet we had to have a close look at the logistics of routes and fuelling because the only practical restriction to CNG is not having the option to refuel away from our base.

‘This has resulted in ‘range anxiety’ in some of our drivers who are working the longer routes, particularly between our Hatfield base and some of the further away spokes such as Leeds and Manchester.

According to our calculations, it is feasible to complete a return journey on either of these trips with fuel to spare, providing you set off with a full tank.

‘During the trip, the Iveco NP400 Stralis 4×2 with its lightly loaded trailer, simulating a typical load for this route, achieved 12.4mpg on the 590kms journey and returned to base with fuel still left in the tank.

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