Global logistics provider Kuehne+Nagel has put eight new Volvo FH Globetrotter LNG (Liquified Natural Gas) tractor units into 24/7 operation on two major contracts with Whitbread and Costa, as part of a drive to reduce emissions and improve the sustainability of its transport operations.
Their arrival marks the first Volvos to enter service in Kuehne+Nagel’s UK fleet, following the firm’s participation in the Innovate UK-funded ‘Dedicated to Gas’ project. This evaluated the viability of Euro 6 gas heavy goods vehicles as an alternative to diesel and demonstrated their potential to unlock significant CO2 savings and reduce running costs.
Supplied by Volvo Truck and Bus Centre East Anglia, the 6×2 pusher-axle tractors feature 155 kg LNG tanks and benefit from Volvo’s 12-speed I-Shift automated transmission, which helps to maximise fuel efficiency. The specification also includes the latest generation I-See predictive cruise control system, which analyses the topography to optimise speed and gear changes.
The new trucks will pull temperature-controlled double-deck trailers on national trunking routes from the customer’s Wellingborough regional distribution centre (RDC) to sites in Avonmouth, London and Manchester. Each vehicle is expected to cover 125,000 miles per year, with refuelling taking place using an on-site facility operated by Air Liquide.
Volvo Trucks provides complete transport solutions for professional and demanding customers, offering a full range of medium to heavy duty trucks. Customer support is secured via a global network of dealers with 2,100 service points in more than 130 countries. Volvo trucks are assembled in 14 countries across the globe. In 2019 approximately 131,000 Volvo trucks were delivered worldwide. Volvo Trucks is part of Volvo Group, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of trucks, buses, construction equipment and marine and industrial engines. The Group also provides complete solutions for financing and service. Volvo Trucks ́ work is based on the core values of quality, safety and environmental care.
Andrew Blake, National Distribution Manager at Kuehne+Nagel, says: “We’d previously run dual fuel trucks for seven years, but it was our involvement in the Dedicated to Gas trials which confirmed that LNG was the right approach to take. We’re projecting an initial 20 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions on these routes using standard LNG, with the intention of moving quickly to bio-LNG to increase this reduction to at least 80 per cent in the near future.”
Volvo’s approach to natural gas stands out for using compression-ignition technology which relies upon small amounts of diesel to initiate ignition of the air-fuel mixture. This enables the Volvo G13C engine to deliver the same 460hp and 2,300 Nm of torque as its diesel-only counterpart, with matching service intervals and reliability. These engines also provide secondary vehicle retardation thanks to the patented Volvo Engine Brake.
Blake explains: “From an engineering perspective we have absolute confidence in Volvo’s natural gas powertrain to deliver the performance we need in an intensive around-the-clock, 44-tonne application. We looked at the spark ignition options available in other vehicles, but we didn’t want any trade off in terms of performance or fuel efficiency.
“The arrival of the Volvo marque into our fleet has been really well received. When we told our drivers we’d opted for the premium FH Globetrotter cab, there were some huge smiles amongst the team!”
The new vehicles have been supplied on a five-year Volvo Financial Services contract hire deal which incorporates a Volvo Gold Contract repair and maintenance package, supported by a 100 per cent uptime promise. All scheduled servicing and maintenance will be carried out at Volvo Truck and Bus Centre East Anglia’s Wellingborough dealership, located less than five miles from the customer’s RDC.