SITTINGBOURNE-based Nicholls Transport has shared feedback from six months of running 10 Iveco Stralis Natural Power trucks on its fleet.

Nicholls’ 10 Iveco Stralis 12.9-litre Cursor 13 NP engines, delivering 460 hp and powered by liquified natural gas (LNG), have worked throughout the COVID-19 pandemic transporting products including timber across the UK.

Darren Sherlock, finance director of Nicholls Transport, sees a bright future for operators using gas trucks to deliver goods into large urban areas and when operating on longer trunking routes. He said: “Half of our Stralis NPs work predominantly on trunking routes and they are performing very well. The level of driver comfort is good and complemented by the lower in-cab noise levels. The gas power is very efficient when working for long periods at motorway speeds,” he added.

Half of the gas-powered fleet is away from base all week, with the drivers quickly adjusting to the national LNG refuelling network and planning their routes accordingly.

Sherlock said: “The network needs to keep improving; we do occasionally run slightly off piste in some areas of the country to ensure we can refuel. My drivers can cover a 300-mile round trip from our Sittingbourne base without having to fill up, but we do encourage drivers not to risk running out of gas.”

Nicholls is yet to get an early indication of Stralis NP running costs compared with ita 110-strong diesel Iveco fleet due to operating cycles being disrupted by COVID-19 and December factory shutdowns.

He said: “We are yet to accurately compare operating costs with our diesel trucks, although early signs are promising.”

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