Ocado Group makes further investment in natural gas technology

March 2, 2020. Ocado Group has continued its drive towards an eco-friendly future by ordering a further 30 natural gas-powered trucks for its distribution fleet. Ten have already gone into service; while the remaining 20 are due to follow throughout the year, doubling the number of trucks in the group’s HGV fleet running on gas.

In January 2019, the online supermarket became the first United Kingdom retailer to self-fund the purchase of an onsite grid-connected gas refueling station – with work now underway on phase two.

The facility at Ocado Group’s Hatfield Customer Fulfilment Centre was designed and built by Gasrec – the UK’s largest supplier of gas to the road transport sector – and has supported the firm’s initial investment in 29 Iveco Stralis NP tractor units powered by blended biomethane, a compressed natural gas (CNG).

Graham Thomas, Fleet Operations Manager at Ocado Group, says: “We are committed to finding environmentally-friendly alternatives to diesel for our transport operation and this latest investment is the next step on that journey. As well as increasing the number of vehicles on the fleet we have also increased our blend of biomethane from renewable sources.

“We didn’t order any new diesel trucks in 2019. Indeed, since our investment in the refueling 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 Iveco.”

The majority of the new vehicles will be refueled at their own site in Hatfield, with 10 operating from the Dordon Customer Fulfilment Centre and using Gasrec’s flagship DIRFT facility, just off the M1 near Daventry, to refuel.

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

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