In Hobart, the capital city of the pristine Australian state of Tasmania, the City Council has recently added five new Isuzu NPR 300 CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) powered trucks to its fleet in a bid to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Two of the trucks feature standard tipper trays and another two feature versatile three-way tipper tray bodies. All four are used as service vehicles for Council maintenance tasks in and around suburban streets, gardens and parks. The fifth vehicle, a van-bodied Isuzu, is designed to securely transport bins for document destruction of sensitive paper waste from Council and local businesses.
Hobart City Council’s General Manager, Nick Heath, says Council’s latest fleet acquisitions are well suited for urban use and ideal for return-to-base operations.
“We have only had the NPR 300 CNGs for a short period of time; however they have already proved to be exactly what the Hobart City Council needs. They have replaced equivalent-sized diesel trucks from several other Japanese brands,” he said.
The key feature of the new trucks is that they use CNG fuel that burns cleaner and more efficiently than diesel and contributes far less air pollution. CNG-powered vehicles show reductions of around 50 per cent of nitrogen dioxide (NOx), 98 per cent of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and virtually zero PM (particulate matter) when compared to similarly sized conventional diesel trucks.
CNG engines also help reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 25 per cent compared to diesels. In total it’s expected that the Council’s greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced by approximately 15 tonnes of CO2 per annum.
From a fleet maintenance perspective, CNG fuel provides lower running costs due to more stable natural gas pricing and the ability to enter into a long-term contract with a local supplier. The Council estimates it can save around $5,000 per annum based on today’s diesel and CNG prices.
The NPR 300 CNG model includes an idle stop fuel saving system, which turns the engine off at idle once the transmission selector has been placed in neutral and the park brake engaged. Once the driver reselects drive, the engine automatically restarts. The idle stop fuel saving system can be engaged and disengaged via a dash-mounted button if required, Heath explained.
Refuelling of the CNG trucks is handled at a public refuelling depot with dispensers that tap directly into the natural gas pipe network. And the filling process is just as fast as refuelling a conventional truck.
During the CNG refuelling process, no emissions are produced; this differs to diesel and petrol vehicles, where the fuels come into contact with the environment accounting for around 50 per cent of the total hydrocarbon emissions.
As a participant of the Australian Government’s Cities for Climate Protection Program, Heath says the Council actively seeks possible alternative fuels for usage within its vehicle fleet.
(This article compiled using information from an Isuzu Australia Limited press release)