Two conventional fuel vehicles in each of the Belgian municipality fleets of Berlaar, Wervik and Londerzeel have recently been replaced by natural gas vehicles as these local government bodies seek alternatives to fossil fuels and transition to sustainable fleets. All replacement vehicles are the Fiat Doblò Cargo.
Berlaar opted to purchase two CNG vehicles intended to transport light cargo. A van will be used by the Pied Piper of the city Wervik and the second vehicle is used for the hot meals service of the CPAS of Wervik. In Londerzeel, one van will be used by the service buildings and the second will receive an all-round destination for the customer service.
All municipalities were quickly convinced of the environmental and financial benefits of CNG. “With CNG vehicles is 95 percent lower emissions of particulate matter and there are 50 percent less nitrogen oxides (NOx) than gasoline. We save by opting for natural gas about 30 to 50 percent in fuel costs over the lifetime of the car,” said Berlaar alderman of Public Works Jan Hendrickx.
The purchase price of the vehicle is similar to that of a conventional vehicle, and with a full tank CNG these bi-fuel vehicles have a range of over 300 km, extended by a reserve tank with petrol for another 150 km.
This acquisition has been realized together with natural gas network administrator Eandis that acted as a central purchasing for the purchase of all vehicles.
Due to the provisionally limited number of public tank stations Eandis has been able to offer various refueling solutions using slow-fill facilities in place for other fleets:
- For the Berlaar acquisition a private CNG filling station built at the municipal warehouse (Hellegat Street 1) is available.
- The Wervik vehicles are able to access a private CNG filling station located at the depot of the parks department in the Menensesteenweg.
- There is a small private CNG filling station built at the Territory Affairs Department in Malderen where the Londerzeel vehicles can refuel.
Together towards sustainable mobility
The actions are carried out within the contex of the European Commission Covenant of Mayors. The Covenant of Mayors is the mainstream European movement involving local and regional authorities, voluntarily committing to increasing energy efficiency and use of renewable energy sources on their territories. By their commitment, Covenant signatories aim to meet and exceed the European Union 20% CO2 reduction objective by 2020.
In Flanders, there are about 3.7 million vehicles, including 3.1 million passenger cars. All these vehicles cumulatively account for 56.4 billion kilometers travel and 16 million tonnes of CO2 emissions. To reduce the emission of greenhouse gases and particulate matter as much as possible sustainable alternatives are being sought, with CNG seen as being of interest for a wide range of applications.