Volvo Trucks has delivered the first FH Globetrotter LNG (liquified natural gas) tractor units into operation with Gregory Distribution, as part of a trial by the customer to test the suitability of LNG to replace diesel in its fleet of more than 1,000 trucks.
The South West-based distribution and logistics business will initially operate seven LNG-powered Volvos from its Bristol site, supplied by Abdi Ali, National Key Account Manager at Volvo Trucks UK & Ireland. The 6×2 pusher-axle tractor units have been specified with 155 kg LNG tanks for maximum range, and benefit from 12-speed I-Shift automated gearboxes to help maximise fuel efficiency.
Key to securing the order was Volvo’s unique approach to natural gas engine technology, using small amounts of diesel to initiate ignition of the air-fuel mixture. This enables the Volvo G13C engine to deliver the same 460 hp and 2,300 Nm of torque as its diesel-only counterpart, with matching driveability, reliability and service intervals. Plus Volvo’s gas powertrain provides engine braking just like a regular diesel – and without requiring a separate retarder which adds weight and complexity.
Andrew Chapple, Head of Fleet, Property and Procurement for Gregory Distribution, says: “We are continually looking for ways to improve environmental performance across every area of our business. We ran trials with 44-tonne gas trucks from two manufacturers, and we found the Volvo FH to be the best fit for our business.
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.
“Put simply, an LNG-powered Volvo delivers the same power, performance and torque as a diesel; plus it’s a brand which is known to us and offers excellent dealer support nationwide. Driver acceptance is also crucial, and this was another area where the FH Globetrotter scored highly.”
In addition to improving the sustainability of its fleet, Gregory Distribution is confident the transition to LNG will help to unlock further efficiency benefits for its operation.
Chapple explains: “Initially we began exploring LNG as a way of reducing our carbon footprint, but the business case is also very strong. We’re deploying these trucks on high-mileage contracts covering between 150,000 to 250,000 km per annum, and we’re confident they will help us to reduce total cost of ownership thanks to lower fuel costs.”
LNG has huge potential as a substitute for diesel in trucks. There’s a good supply globally and the CO2 emissions are considerably lower in comparison. The possibility to run on bio-LNG also means a potential CO2 reduction of up to 100 per cent, opening up long-term possibilities to move into renewable fuels – making businesses less dependent on fossil energy sources.
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 Wales and West Truck and Bus in Avonmouth.