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Iveco Stralis Active distribution vehicle running on compressed biomethane trailed by Coca Cola Enterprises

Coca-Cola Enterprises Ltd (CCE) has begun trials with an Iveco Stralis Active Day 21 tonne distribution vehicle running on compressed biomethane (CBM). It marks the first CBM-powered commercial vehicle to be operated anywhere in the world by CCE, and the first such Stralis to be delivered in the UK.

The trial will be used to determine the long-term sustainable transport strategy of CCE in Great Britain, and has been supported with the installation of a roadgas LCBM refuelling station at the company’s distribution facility in Enfield, Middlesex.

Darren O’Donnell, Logistics Asset Manager at CCE, explains: "Our primary reason for selecting CBM is that it has the lowest carbon intensity of all commercially available alternative fuels, allowing us to benefit from the best possible well-to-wheel saving.

"The gas used to make the CBM comes from a landfill site in Surrey, which means it is not depleting any fossil resources. This effectively allows us to power the Stralis using the latent energy recovered from rubbish thrown away by society."

The Stralis AD260S30Y/FS-D CNG is purpose-built on the factory-line for natural gas powered applications and is recommended for operation in the UK with CBM supplied by Gasrec. It features a six cylinder 7.8 litre Cursor 8 engine which produces up to 300 hp at 2,000 rev/min and up to 1,100 Nm of torque between 1,100 and 1,650 rev/min, driven through an Allison 3500 six-speed automated gearbox.

"There are very few gas-powered heavy trucks on the market, but the availability of a Stralis proved the perfect fit with our business as we already run 50 diesel-powered models, and have been a prominent Stralis customer since 2004," says O’Donnell.

The performance of the CBM-powered Stralis will be carefully monitored by CCE ahead of a future decision regarding its suitability for operation on a wider scale. This will include detailed independent monitoring by Cenex – the government’s centre of excellence for low carbon and fuel cell technologies, with planned vehicle trials to be carried out at Millbrook later this year.

CCE is combining this latest delivery with a second trial to assess the impact of new aerodynamic bodywork on the fuel consumption of its 21 tonne fleet. This is seeing the delivery of two regular Stralis AD260S31/FS-D 6×2 rear-steer rigids, each powered by Cursor 8 diesel engines meeting the latest Enhanced Environmental friendly Vehicle emissions (EEV) legislation. One of the vehicles is fitted with a standard curtainslider body manufactured by Bevan Group, whilst the second incorporates advanced aerodynamic styling to reduce wind slip resistance, whilst maintaining the internal cubic volume. This bodywork, also by Bevan Group, includes a curved roof, specially moulded air deflector and cab collar.

The trio of new vehicles will allow CCE to compare the performance of the CBM-powered Stralis against a diesel equivalent of the same age and with identical bodywork. Similarly, the performance of the enhanced aerodynamic vehicle can be directly compared against the diesel-powered Stralis with regular bodywork.

All three vehicles feature full air-suspension, which ensures a completely flat chassis regardless of whether the vehicle is unladen, laden, lowered for manual unloading or raised for ‘dock’ loading. Each of the new vehicles also benefit from a rear-steering axle to ensure maximum manoeuvrability in town and city centres, together with reversing cameras and air-conditioning.

They join a 250-strong fleet of commercial vehicles plated at 7.5 tonnes and above, of which in excess of 50 per cent have been supplied by Iveco and are serviced and maintained by the Iveco dealer network. The new Stralis’ will be used for urban multi-drop distribution to high street customers around London and the M25, carrying out up to 25 drops per day, five days a week.

The new vehicles will be used to support deliveries of soft drinks to around 20,000 distributors served by CCE in Great Britain.

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