Bringing CNG to Ireland

For anyone with even a passing knowledge of trucks and vans, Iveco is a name that will come quickly to mind. Iveco is a global manufacturer of light, medium and heavy commercial vehicles, city and intercity buses and coaches, fire fighting vehicles, defence vehicles and off-road vehicles for construction and mining work. The Iveco brand is synonymous with innovation and quality.

Iveco has recently launched a new range of CNG vehicles in Ireland. The range covers vehicles from vans to medium sized trucks all the way up to the long distance heavy tractor units that are the workhorses of Ireland’s logistics fleet.

While CNG trucks are new in Ireland, Iveco has a long history working with Natural Gas Vehicles. The company has been manufacturing CNG trucks, vans and buses, throughout Europe, since the 1930s. CNG vans, trucks and buses are a core part of Iveco’s business throughout Europe.

Sean Clarke of Emerald Truck and Van, the Irish distributor of Iveco vehicles explains how the European market has grown in relation to CNG: “Europe is way ahead of Ireland in terms of sustainable transport. For European businesses, for example in Spain and Italy, CNG is an established part of the HGV product offering. Companies have utilised CNG to reduce their costs and emissions profile for many years.

“A good example is Spain’s municipal authorities. In 2001, they began trialling 40 waste vehicles in major cities. By 2007, that number had increased to 1,200 vehicles.”

While CNG has always been a popular option in Europe, a number of factors have combined to see sales across Europe accelerate in 2017.

“Cost is important. Modern CNG vehicles can deliver fuel cost savings of up to 35 per cent over diesel. As technology has improved, the vehicles have seen increased performance and distance range and CNG compares favourably with diesel. On a fuel cost basis, the difference is very significant. The result is that we are now selling the amount of CNG vehicles in a month that we would have sold in three years at the start of the decade.”

“Obviously environmental factors are key. For public companies, they are under pressure to deliver environmental targets. For businesses, the pressure to improve environmental performance can be internal or can come from customers. We know that haulage companies and distributors are increasingly feeling pressure from their customers who want a ‘green supply chain’.”

While climate change and cost are key drivers, there are other benefits, including the relatively low noise levels of the vehicles. “CNG engines are much quieter. We are seeing a reduction of up to three decibels which is really significant. For vehicles that operate in the early hours of the morning this is a key differentiator with diesel alternatives. Waste collection, logistics companies and food distribution companies all put a particularly high value on this. For them it means an end to complaints from residents in urban centres.”

While Ireland has been slower to adopt the technology, Clarke says there are signs that that is changing.

“Infrastructure and availability of vehicles is key. Gas Networks Ireland has championed a project which is going to see CNG infrastructure put in place. On the back of this, we are already seeing an increase in demand for CNG vehicles. Initially, the interest was for larger vehicles but now we are also getting interest in vans. The fact that the Iveco CNG range has vehicles of all sizes is a real benefit, we can essentially meet the needs of any business. From the 3.5 tonne 140bhp van up to the 400 bhp Stralis tractor units.”

With grants available from Gas Networks Ireland to help fund the purchase of a CNG vehicle, there has never been a better time to book a demonstration of the Iveco CNG natural gas range.

For further information on the Gas Networks Ireland CNG Vehicle Fund www.gasnetworks.ie/vehiclefund or email cng@gasnetworks.ie

To contact Iveco or book a demonstration www.emeraldtruckandvan.ie or email sean.clarke@emtv.ie

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