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.
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.