Van, Truck, Trailer, Bus and Coach Aftermarket News in Ireland

New Volvo tractor units powered by gas

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 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.

“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.