July 24, 2020. Babcock – the sole distributor of DAF Trucks in southern Africa – is tackling carbon emissions and exploring more efficient fuel alternatives by bringing dual fuel compressed natural gas (CNG) powered DAF Trucks to the local market, and maintaining the trucks’ full warranty, even when using dual fuel alternatives.

Mark Gavin, Sales Director for Babcock’s Transport Solutions business, says that natural gas as an alternate fuel source has been a significant topic in South Africa’s automotive industry for years, due to the growing necessity to curtail dependency on conventional fossil fuels, the soaring price of diesel and petrol, and the need to reduce harmful CO₂ emissions. While dual fuel liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) hybrids have had small-scale success in South Africa’s public transport sector, Babcock is the first to offer fully supported natural gas dual fuel DAF vehicles to the long-haulage and regional transport segments.

“We have had numerous enquiries about the possibility of dual fuel vehicles, and the first handful of DAF test trucks capable of CNG conversion are now ready for the South African regional transportation sector to benefit from,” says Gavin. He adds that the dual fuel trucks will be capable of using various forms of natural gas such as CNG and eventually liquefied natural gas (LNG) with minor engine modifications, allowing the DAF Trucks to seamlessly alternate between natural gas and conventional fuel using a two-stage pressure regulator to ensure optimum gas supply.

When compared with vehicles using conventional fossil fuels, natural gas vehicles can also produce significantly lower amounts of harmful emissions such as greenhouse gases and carbon dioxide. With the inevitable introduction of carbon credits in South Africa, the economic and environmental importance of natural gas in reducing a company’s carbon footprint is being increasingly emphasized.

Gavin says that Babcock is currently working with two different conversion partners to ensure that the kits are fitted on the DAF Trucks to the highest quality standards in South Africa. The cost of the CNG conversion kit is usually recovered within the first 18 to 24 months of the vehicle lifecycle, depending on mileage covered.