The automotive supply chain is a demanding and extremely busy sector in which to work. Just-in-Time and Just-in-Sequence parts deliveries are crucial to the efficient running of production lines with zero margin for error or even the slightest delay. Time is money and vehicle uptime is key with trucks running 24 hours a day to service demand.
However, in 2021 big business must also keep its environmental responsibilities at the forefront of any decision and with a focus on both people and planet, JSE-listed Imperial Logistics (Imperial) has added 18 new IVECO Stralis Natural Power trucks to its fleet, powered by sustainably produced Liquified Natural Gas (Bio-LNG).
Ordered specifically for a contract with BMW Group, the new vehicles are based out of a satellite transport office that Imperial operates on the Unipart campus at MINI Plant Oxford in Cowley, Oxfordshire. The decision to make the switch to natural gas comes as part of BMW Group’s wider efforts to improve sustainability throughout all areas of the company, which includes its supply chain and logistics operations.
The 18 AS440S46TX/P LNG IVECO Stralis NP 460 tractors are expected to cover around 3.3 million kilometres per year collectively which Imperial estimates will remove over 3,000 tonnes of CO2 from its annual emissions.
The trucks run 24 hours a day, with multiple shift drivers operating them, so an extensive training scheme was put in place during the 10 days preceding the vehicles going on the road. Delivered on-site by Roadgas personnel, all drivers and any site staff that would be fuelling vehicles were fully trained in how to safely operate the gas refuelling equipment.
IVECO NP heavy trucks are unique in the marketplace for being the only factory-built 6×2 tractors to run solely on natural gas. The 12.9-litre CURSOR 13 offers a diesel-equivalent 460hp and 2,000Nm of torque across a wide power band, ensuring that with the 12-speed HI-TRONIX automated gearbox with predictive mapping, there is no compromise to vehicle performance or driver enjoyment. The trucks run exceptionally quietly at 71dB, further minimising Imperial’s and the manufacturing plant’s environmental impact by halving engine noise pollution.
For maximum efficiency, the vehicles are all fitted with truck-specific navigation and GPS tracking. IVECO’s in-house connectivity system monitors and feeds back fuel economy data as well as driving style analysis with training recommendations.
The vehicles will be maintained by local IVECO workshop, M & M Commercials via a six-year connected 3XL R&M package offering Imperial peace of mind as the proactive systems constantly monitor the vehicles to boost uptime. IVECO natural gas heavy trucks also offer industry-leading oil change intervals of up to 90,00kms.
Mark Miles, Managing Director, Imperial UK, said: “At Imperial we don’t just focus on our profitability; our people and the environment are a very important consideration. We consider it our duty as a responsible and caring member of the global business community to adopt environmental best practice whenever possible in the course of our daily activity; and so the opportunity to reduce our UK haulage operation’s environmental impact was compelling. We’re delighted to be working with our customers as part of a joint effort to improve sustainability in logistics, reconciling business efficiency with environmental protection.”
Commenting on the initiation, IVECO UK Heavy Business-line Director, Gareth Lumsdaine said “It’s great to see that IVECO Natural Power trucks are having a powerful impact beyond their own road-haulage work. Not only are our products allowing transport operators to significantly reduce their own environmental impact but are allowing partnerships with pioneering businesses to make a meaningful green change back down the line.”
With a short turnaround from order to delivery from South West Truck & Van in Swindon, Imperial along with SWTV and IVECO UK’s Natural Power implementation specialists enlisted the expertise of Roadgas to support with fuel supply.
While a permanent solution has since been completed at the Cowley site, Roadgas was able to expedite the roll-out of a temporary solution within a matter of weeks to support Imperial’s immediate need for bio-LNG deployment.
“The timings to deliver the temporary station were very tight,” commented Becky Rix, Marketing Director for Roadgas, “the resourceful collaborative planning with the Imperial team, together with the successful implementation of driver training and the install of this bespoke Bio-LNG refuelling station has been a great start for the team in 2021 after what has been a really tough year. We’re very proud to be working with the IVECO team and Imperial in helping to deliver their decarbonisation goals.”
IVECO has been at the cutting edge of natural gas power for over 20 years now, developing a range of engines with sister company FPT Industrial to open the gates to mass decarbonisation in the transport industry all the way from its 3.5t Daily vans through Eurocargo up to the long-haul heavy sector. In 2021, the new IVECO S-WAY NP takes the baton from Stralis NP to continue its pioneering mission in to a cleaner, greener future.