Brit European, the Crewe-based vehicle delivery company, reckons it’s possible to reduce fuel costs by 10 per cent and emissions by up to 25 per cent by converting trucks to burn a mix of diesel and natural gas simultaneously.
It is has reached the half way point in a £23m government scheme to encourage the use of lower carbon commercial vehicles. It expects to make a return on the £30,000 investment in two years, and achieve three years of profit from the dual fuel conversion, as each vehicle’s lifespans is five years.
In November 2012, the government selected 13 logistics operators to receive funding support and take part in the programme.
The technology is retrofitted and allows compressed natural gas to replace up to 55 per cent of the diesel fuel used to drive the engine. In the event that the system runs out of CNG, the engine switches automatically to normal diesel mode.
Brit European has converted 36 of its vehicle engines to the combination of diesel and natural gas.
“At this point we have HGVs that have done 75,000 miles without experiencing any significant issues in terms of performance or reliability,” said managing director of Brit European, Graham Lackey.
“The data from the trial is providing the hard evidence that dual fuel is substantially cheaper and cleaner. The exercise is also creating a wealth of information from a range of real-life situations that will increase industry confidence in low carbon trucks in the long term.”
The converted vehicles serve customers, such as JCB, Mercedes Benz, Porsche, Jaguar Land Rover, and Toyota.
The dual fuel programme is managed by the Technology Strategy Board in partnership with the Department for Transport and the Office for Low Emission Vehicles.