Waitrose has introduced ten Scania compressed natural gas (CNG) powered trucks, which it is claimed will cut the retailer’s fuel costs by up to £1m and its CO2 emissions by 5,000 tonnes over five years.
The Scanias, P340 4x2s, are believed to be the first HGVs in Europe to use 26-inch diameter twin carbon fibre fuel tanks, which store gas at 250 bar of pressure.
This allows the trucks to compete with their diesel equivalents by increasing their range to up to 500 miles.
The technology, which was developed by Scania and US-based Agility Fuel Solutions, uses biomethane, a gas that emits 70% less Co2 than a conventional diesel engine.
Fuel for the vehicles will be supplied by renewable fuel supplier CNG Fuels.
Waitrose estimates each truck, which costs 50% more than its diesel equivalent, will repay the extra costs in two to three years through fuel savings per truck of around £15,000 to £20,000 per annum.
Justin Laney, John Lewis Partnership central transport general manager, said the trucks “deliver significant environmental and operational benefits to our business. It’s much cleaner and quieter than diesel, and we can run five gas trucks for the same emissions as one diesel lorry”.
Philip Fjeld, CNG Fuels chief executive, said the long distance range made the trucks a “game changer for road transport operators”.
He added: “High pressure carbon-fibre fuel tanks demolish the ‘range anxiety’ concerns that have made many hauliers reluctant to move away from diesel to CNG.”
David Burke, UK gas for Scania specialist sales executive, said: "Together with Waitrose and CNG Fuels we are developing a new UK market sector for dedicated gas vehicles which we believe will supersede the heavier dual-fuel models seen up until now.”