Ocado extends its investment in CNG

George Barrow
March 6, 2020

Online grocery retailer Ocado has ordered a further 30 IVECO Stralis NP tractors powered by compressed natural gas (CNG). The move follows an initial investment in 29 Stralis NP 4x2 tractors in mid-2018.

Ten of the latest blended biomethane-powered trucks have already gone into service, with the remainder due to follow this year.

The Stralis NP 400 4x2s, powered by a Cursor 9 Euro-6 gas engine, deliver the same output of 400hp and 1,700 Nm of torque as diesel equivalents, according to IVECO. Each vehicle emits 50% less NOx and 95% less particulate matter than current Euro-6 limits, as well as 95% less CO2, it says.

“The performance of the first batch of Stralis NPs has been great,” commented Graham Thomas, fleet operations manager at Ocado Group. “We’ve now clocked up more than 4,000,000km under gas power, and we know we can comfortably cover a 550km range when operating longer routes with our single-deck trailers.

“We didn’t order any new diesel trucks in 2019. Indeed, since our investment in the refuelling site in Hatfield and our first 29 CNG trucks, we have reviewed the market carefully and looked at where the various manufacturers stand in terms of natural gas technology. We are fully confident we are heading in the right direction – hence the order for a further 30 IVECOs.”

In January last year, Ocado self-funded the purchase of an onsite grid-connected gas refuelling station at its Hatfield Customer Fulfilment Centre, which was designed and built by Gasrec and features two double-sided gas dispensers. Ocado’s investment in the initial tranche of trucks and this refuelling station totalled £3m, said a Gasrec spokesperson.

A second phase of development is underway to add further gas storage capacity at the site and increase its resilience with dual operating compressors. Phase two, which together with the new batch of trucks has involved a further investment of £1.5m, should be completed in the third quarter of this year, said Gasrec.

About the Author


George Barrow

George has been writing about nearly anything with wheels for the past 15 years and is the UK jury member of the International Van of the Year and International Pick-Up Award.

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