The London Borough of Camden runs 25 gas fuelled vehicles from its Transport Services depot just north of King’s Cross Station. The depot’s gas refuelling station is also publicly accessible, with vehicles from Laing O’Rourke, Balfour Beatty, Waitrose and Islington Borough Council all making use of it.
16 of Camden’s own gas vehicles are VW Caddies, a mixture of the standard and maxi wheelbase models. They meet Euro 6 emission standards, but the two litre engine packs quite a punch, so fleet manager Callum Johnson sees driver training as particularly important to getting good fuel economy.
The fleet also has five Iveco Dailies, two Mercedes-Benz Sprinter NGTs, and a Volvo car with an aftermarket conversion to run on gas. Two of the Dailies are 5.5t, set up with lifts for attending street lighting, and meet the EEV emissions standard. Three are slightly newer, meeting Euro 6, and they are used for street cleansing. The Sprinter NGTs are 3.5t EEV standard.
“The reliability of the gas vehicles has been fantastic”, says Johnson, “we haven’t had a single breakdown from the Caddies in two years of operation.” He went on, “The drivers like them too, they’re very nice vehicles to drive. I think that they really come into their own on duties where they’re heavily loaded, with a lot of stop-start.”
The only thing the drivers ever had an issue with was long fill times, with the original trial gas station. Camden’s station now has six tonnes of liquid biomethane storage, with a cryogenic pump connected to a pressure storage bank, giving fill times the same as a diesel pump. The gas is supplied by GasRec.
“Our primary motivation for getting gas vehicles was air quality”, explained Poppy Lyle of the air quality team, “but the fact that it was cost effective and had a CO2 benefit as well helped it all stack up.” Camden have recently updated their pioneering fuel policy, and have around 100 LPG vehicles up for replacement, so they expect to be buying quite a few more gas vehicles soon.
Read Camden’s case study on Thornton’s Budgens.