Automotive

CNG-powered trucks cut costs and emissions at Skoda

The CNG trucks being used by Skoda 
The CNG trucks being used by Skoda 
View 2 Images
The CNG trucks being used by Skoda 
1/2
The CNG trucks being used by Skoda 
The trucks promise huge cuts in fuel cost and emissions
2/2
The trucks promise huge cuts in fuel cost and emissions

Hot on the heels of supermarket chain Waitrose unveiling a fleet of compressed natural gas delivery lorries in the UK, Skoda has whipped the covers off four CNG-powered trucks for its factory in Mlada Boleslav. The lorries will be used to ferry parts around the factory site, promising to cut costs and carbon emissions in the process.

Having subjected the trucks to a two-month trial, three of the compressed natural gas lorries have been put into full-time service at Skoda HQ in the Czech Republic, while another completes a 120-km (75-mi) journey from the factory to Stráž nad Nisou 12 times per week. According to the company, this helps save 16 tonnes (17.6 tons) of CO2 compared to a standard diesel truck running the same route.

The 25-m (82-ft) lorries are able to carry 150 m3 (5,297 cu.ft) of goods, 50 percent more than a regular truck. That allows the drivers to make 18 fewer trips along their 292-km (181-mi) route every week, which equates to 250,000 fewer km (155,343 mi) driven over the course of 12 months – emitting 200 tonnes (220 tons) less CO2 in the process.

The trucks promise huge cuts in fuel cost and emissions
The trucks promise huge cuts in fuel cost and emissions

Not only do they emit significantly less CO2 than diesels, but the switch to CNG Gigaliners has also led to an 80-90 percent drop in nitric oxide (NOx) emissions and a 90 percent cut in carbon monoxide. The trucks use less than 50 kg (110 lb) of CNG per 100 km (62 mi) for around 95 percent less harmful particulate emissions than diesels, too.

Along with its shiny new fleet of CNG trucks, Skoda is also making a push toward battery-powered transporters at its factory. To try and make them more energy-efficient, a tractor towing two trailers full of solar panels is being put to the test on its 70-km (43-mi) route. By harvesting solar energy on its daily errands, Skoda expects it to lower its energy usage by around 10 percent annually. Should the trial be successful, the full fleet of battery-powered tractors at the factory will be kitted out with the solar chargers.

Although the fleet of CNG lorries is only made up of four trucks for now, Skoda is expecting most of the suppliers near its factory to make their deliveries using alternative energy sources.

Source: Skoda

5 comments
VincentWolf
Electric Semi's are better for the environment. No thanks. Just another gas and oil fossil fuel CO2 emitter that we don't need. Electrics only!
VincentWolf
Natural gas is just another fossil fuel destroying the environment. Enough of this. Make electric trucks.
Imran Sheikh
It's a good approach to use cng. ALTHOUGH we need to fix the bad aerodynamics of these trucks first. It's just a cuboid(rectangular box) fighting wind to move forward. And just look at those mirrors making it much worse(we can use camera(night vision) instead while just folding current mirrors instead of removing them just in case camera fails. Now coming back to the main design. The old design very first design that put engine in front and driver in back(the one that is still used in most school buses is more aerodynamic and safer for driver as well as the person who is crossing from the front of truck or a small vehicle that is trying to overtake truck on a city signal. because that person or vehicle will be a bit away from the truck making them more visible to truck driver then box design we have currently. also the engine in front design makes it easy to repair. And saves life of driver since he is a far from the impact area. The only purpose this box shape solves is "it reduces the size of chassis" and makes them cheaper to build. These Box designs should BANNED FOREVER for good. This also applies for box front shaped trains too. Also for trucks now that we have the automated driving there should be an algorithm written that moves the trucks on convoy so they can make use of drift wind. if this was done from the beginning we would have got atleast 20% more fossil fuel remaining then what we have today with a lot less drivers and crossers casualties. - Imran Sheikh
Reason
"The lorries will be used to ferry parts around the factory site" Truly ridiculous use of fossil fuels. Factory deliveries and short haul (75km) trips are ideally suited to electric and drivers will soon be superfluous as well so when these tasks are autonomous 'Gigaliners' will also be pointless.
bergamot69
@Imran Sheikh, Nothing wrong in what you said about the shape of the trucks having poorer aerodynamics, but there is a very good reason why European trucks are flat-fronted compared to typical American rigs for instance. The much more congested roads of Europe dictate that trailer lengths are typically shorter (by law) than those in parts of the world, eg North America, where roads are much wider and less congested. Therefore being able to load as much cargo as reasonably possible is more important than aerodynamic efficiency- because running more trucks obviously decreases efficiency- and legally, a hooded truck must pull a shorter trailer to get within the maximum allowable vehicle length. Plus, hooded (bonneted) trucks are far less safe for other road users in older European cities where buildings and other clutter would obstruct vision since the driver would be sitting far too far back to see safely to pull out. My problem with CNG is that it is a relatively finite resource, and newer methods of liberating it such as fracking are massively polluting. I'd rather see pure electric trucks or at least diesel hybrids for the time being.
Thanks for reading our articles. Please consider subscribing to New Atlas Plus.
By doing so you will be supporting independent journalism, plus you will get the benefits of a faster, ad-free experience.