The greengrocer chain Biocoop delivers vegetables and other products using the latest addition to the company’s fleet of 35 vehicles: a natural gas powered Scania P 340 truck. At 3 a.m., Kamel Terzi drives along the city streets and makes his first stop in a convenience store beside the Alésia metro station in southern Paris. “This is a flexible and comfortable truck that is nice to drive. But it’s the silence that makes the big difference. The reduced noise is much appreciated by us drivers and the residents who live close to the stores that we deliver to during the night,” he says.
The delivery of the first natural gas powered distribution truck in France with Euro 6 engines is one of the many clear indicators of the increased interest in gas. Since the new Euro 6 engines were launched, Scania has delivered more than 250 gas-powered buses and trucks, mainly distribution and refuse trucks. And discussions are ongoing with a growing number of customers, particularly in Europe and in Asian markets such as China, Malaysia and Thailand.
“The strongest driving forces for gas include increased environmental considerations among our customers and also among large buyers of transport services, such as grocery chains and IKEA,” says Zoran Stojanovic, Product Manager for gas trucks at Scania.
“Noise emissions are halved with gas-powered vehicles, and carbon dioxide emissions are reduced by 15¬ to 20 percent compared with diesel. If a company uses renewable biogas in the way Biocoop does, CO2 emissions are reduced by 90 percent,” Stojanovic says
In the past, gas-powered trucks have been hampered from having a major breakthrough by inadequate infrastructure and insufficient pumping stations. There is also a shortage of renewable biogas in many markets. “But now there is a clear change under way,” says Stojanovic. “More and more operators are interested in gas distribution and the traditional chains are facing new competition from energy giants such as Germany-based E.ON.”
He explains that the increasing supply of CNG and LNG and the extension of distribution networks will help encourage natural gas in more applications than is the case today. “Long-distance haulage is an area that is about to take off, and at Scania we have already delivered a few tractor units to customers in Europe,” he concludes.