Nicholls Transport’s fleet of 10 LNG-powered Iveco Stralis NPs have so far impressed the Sittingbourne-based haulier.
Commenting on the 460hp 6x2 tractors, which joined the Sittingborne-based fleet six months ago and have worked throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, finance director Darren Sherlock, said: “We carry out regular deliveries of plasterboard from a local manufacturer in Kent to construction sites in central London. We can travel into the heart of the city without being penalised and with a clear emissions conscience.
“As more low emission zones are launched in our cities, so gas will become key for operators to carry out work for their customers. Our trucks are also quieter than diesels which means we can make deliveries without compromising local noise levels.”
Sherlock said the company has so far been unable to compare the Stralis NP running costs with its 110-strong diesel-powered Iveco fleet, due to operating cycles being disrupted by Covid-19, but says early signs are promising.
He is keen to see the UK’s gas filling station infrastructure improve. “We do occasionally run slightly off-piste in some areas of the country to ensure we can refuel,” he said. “My drivers can cover a 300-mile round trip from our Sittingbourne base without having to fill up, but we do encourage drivers not to risk running out of gas.”
Nicholls operates its own refuelling station, which was set up in partnership with GasRec. Although it has been shut to external operators during the Covid-19 pandemic, Nicholls’ long-term aspiration is to scale-up its refuelling forecourt to increase its capacity as more operators switch to gas.
“We maintain our view that gas is the only alternative fuel to diesel suitable for operation at 44 tonnes, and with more operating restrictions being introduced for diesel trucks, then gas will be the fuel of choice for many more operators during the coming years,” said Sherlock.