British baking giant Warburtons has introduced six dual-fuel Mercedes-Benz Axor tractor units to its distribution fleet. Supplied by Birmingham dealer Midlands Truck & Van, the Axor 1840s arrived via engine conversion specialist Hardstaff Group, which carried out modifications to allow them to run on both diesel and compressed natural gas (CNG).
Equipped with Luxfer carbon composite alternative fuel cylinders, the new trucks are now working across the country distributing the nation’s daily bread between Warburtons’ 14 bakeries and 13 satellite sites. Double-shifted, they are operating seven days per week and will average 100,000 miles per year.
Warburtons has been a committed user of gas-powered trucks for 10 years: 20 per cent of its 100-strong fleet of tractors already run on CNG and the company has its own gas storage and filling facilities.
Group Transport Manager Mark Sutcliffe said: “We’re committed to gas for environmental reasons – it’s a clean fuel that helps us to reduce our emissions and so meet our own carbon management and corporate social responsibility targets. But the trucks also had to make financial sense for our business, and a dependable warranty is a key part of that equation.”
Hardstaff’s conversion of the Axor’s straight-six, 400hp engine automatically feeds gas into the cylinders on demand, at a constantly variable ratio – Warburtons’ vehicles are achieving an average 60 per cent ‘substitution rate’; that is, the volume of diesel replaced by gas.
This translates into a sizeable reduction in emissions of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides and particulates. There is no noticeable difference in power delivery or in the driving experience and, should a vehicle run out of gas before its tanks can be topped up, it will run equally well on pure diesel.
Warburtons unveiled its first corporate responsibility framework in 2010, featuring a raft of ambitious environmental targets and changes to its supply chain, including a 20% cut in CO2 emissions by 2020.
This article primarily compiled using information from a Mercedes-Benz press release.