It was Howard Tenens’ innovative and technology led approach that resulted in the company becoming an early pioneer of gas-powered technology. Our long history of operating gas-powered trucks began with the first dual fuel CNG trucks entering the fleet in 2009. These vehicles were successful from an operational perspective but didn’t deliver the environmental benefits that we were striving to achieve. Dedicated gas trucks powered by biomethane offered the potential for significant carbon savings and was therefore a technology that the business was very keen to trial. The opportunity arose to take part in a project under the Low Emissions Freight Trial which mitigated some of the risk given that the costs were part funded.
Under the Dedicated to Gas project, two Scania 26 tonne rigid trucks were initially purchased in October 2017, which were the first of their type to be operated in the UK. The trucks are double-shifted, running about 160,000km/year so reliability is key for the success of this project. Since the vehicles commenced operation the reliability has been excellent. Each vehicle has been driven over 200,000 km and during this time we have had no gas faults or road calls. The service from Scania has also been excellent, with well trained engineers and support staff available as required.
Due to the positive experience of these first CNG gas rigids and growth in the business, Howard Tenens purchased an additional two CNG rigids from Scania which entered the fleet in February 2019. These new generation vehicles are more fuel efficient and have a greater range so will provide greater flexibility in how we can deploy the vehicles.
Our experienced team of drivers have been extremely positive about the performance of the vehicles with no loss of power or torque observed and the engine delivers a much smoother driving experience compared to diesel. Overall the trial has been very positive to date and illustrates that dedicated gas technology can provide a viable alternative to diesel in the logistics sector.
Results to date indicate that the fuel efficiency of the gas trucks is on average 22% less than diesel, but there is still a financial saving to be made as the price of gas is cheaper than diesel, and this helps offset the increased capital cost of the vehicle.
In terms of projected CO2 savings of the gas trucks, we have purchased green gas certificates to facilitate a ‘virtual’ biomethane supply. When taking into account the benefits of biomethane, the CO2 reduction is impressive at 75% lower than that of an equivalent diesel truck.
Howard Tenens has long held the view that gas-powered technology is one of the most viable options for reducing CO2 emissions in heavy goods vehicles. The business will continue to look at opportunities to introduce more gas vehicles into the fleet where possible but until manufacturers are able to offer a CNG 6×2 articulated tractor unit the prospects are currently limited.