Lean and green commercial alternatives

GreenFleet award-winner Iveco’s familiar range of light and heavy goods vehicles has recently expanded to exclusively offer fuel-saving alternative-fuelled versions of all its models

With UK registrations of heavy goods vehicles up 5.3 per cent in 2016, and no impending legislation due to arrive in 2017, commercial vehicle maker Iveco sees this year as the year of opportunity. With global warming and climate change the biggest challenge ahead for the commercial vehicle industry, now is the time to re-evaluate alternative fuels for freight.

Ready to take on the alternative fuel freight challenge, Iveco has renewed both its light and heavy goods vehicle ranges for 2017. Natural gas and even electric versions of its popular models are primed for alternative fuel action. We take a closer look at the company’s new sustainable stars.

Sustainable standard-bearer

The Daily range of light commercials starts off the Iveco range, and while the Daily Euro 6 meets current legislation needs, an even cleaner sustainable standard‑bearer is the Daily Natural Power. A natural gas‑powered vehicle available in gross vehicle weights from 3.5 tonnes to 7.2 tonnes, the Daily Natural Power has also been designed to run up to 50 miles on petrol, too, in ‘recovery’ instances. The only dedicated natural gas-powered light commercial on the UK market, the Daily Natural Power can run on either compressed natural gas (CNG) or compressed bio-methane (CBM).

Developed from a diesel vehicle platform, Iveco claims that the natural gas Daily offers the same performance as a diesel‑powered light commercial, with the same power, response and torque. The 3.0-litre engine produces up to 136bhp, with torque of 350Nm/258lb ft between 1,500 and 2,730rpm. A range of 155-280 miles is promised between fill-ups.

Also the same as its diesel sister is the customisation options and wide range of wheelbase lengths and roof heights, as well as the choice of chassis cab, double cab, van and half-panel van versions.
Fuel savings of around 20 per cent are stated to be gained with compared with current diesel prices, while the environment benefits, too: Iveco claims that CO2 emissions can be cut by as much as 80 per cent. Particulate matter is also down – by 95 per cent in some cases – while 35 per cent lower NO2 levels are also mooted.

To drive, the Daily Natural Power is just like a diesel, bearing out Iveco’s similar performance claims. It’s noticeably quieter than its black pump‑drinking sister, though, and with the same well-weighted controls and predictable handling, there’s little about the natural gas‑powered light commercial not to like. However, if natural gas is too dirty for you, Iveco has another alternative fuel answer.

Zero‑emission light commercial

The Iveco Daily Electric had its debut at the CV Show 2016, and offers urban area operators a 100 per cent electric, zero‑emission light commercial. Battery life has been extended by up to 20 per cent and battery performance is optimised for all weather and climate conditions. When fitted with three batteries, (single and double‑battery configurations are also available) the Iveco Daily Electric has a range of around 150 miles as well as a fast-charging time of two hours.

Just as with electric cars, a three-stage adjustable regenerative braking system feeds energy back in to the batteries, and different driving modes are available. In ‘Eco’ mode, engine torque is delivered to keep energy consumption low, while in ‘Power’ mode, the full 200Nm/147lb ft performance of the 60kW electric motor is utilised.

A very obvious pedestrian acoustic alert system is also standard on the Daily Electric – essential for inner city areas – and is activated automatically at speed of 0-18mph.
Similarly to the Daily Natural Power, the electric Daily comes in chassis cab, chassis‑cowl, minibus and van versions, with gross vehicle weights of between 3.5 to 5.0 tonnes. Wheelbase lengths vary between 3.0 and 4.1m. Payload is increased by 100kg on the Daily Electric and the launch last year of Iveco’s production electrically-powered light commercial marked 30 years since the first Daily Electric.

Suggested prices for the Daily Electric start at £60,000 for the single battery version with 50 miles range, rising to £100,000 for the triple-battery, 150-mile range LWB versions. The Plug-in Van Grant (PiVG) offers 20 per cent of the purchase price –up to £20,000 – of an electric light commercial providing it can travel a minimum of 60 miles, on the first 200 vehicles acquired. Iveco states that the Daily Electric also has a potential 6-year payback for most operations and is cost neutral after this period.

Just like the Natural Power, the Daily Electric is ideally suited to urban operators working in Low Emission Zones. Of course, both models offer a reduction in operating noise, which makes them very suitable for night time and early morning deliveries.
The Daily light commercial range can be driven with a Class B driving licence (up to 3.5-tonnes gross vehicle weight), but Iveco is campaigning for the limit to be changed to 4.25 tonnes, as mooted by the Government. While this uplift would only apply to CNG and electrically-powered vehicles, an additional 350 to 400kgs of payload would also be added to compensate for the extra weight incurred by the low and zero-emission technology. It is hoped that the plans will be pushed through to become law later this year, specifically to encourage green technology.

Heavy goods vehicle innovation

As well as light commercials, Iveco also promises innovation to heavy goods vehicles. Nick Pemeberton, truck business line director at Iveco said: “The natural gas-powered Stralis NP is pioneering, and opens doors to sustainable fleets. Iveco is taking a long-term view with sales, with only 40 expected in 2017. However, gas is a seed-change for customers: Stralis NP allows operators to experience the technology.”

The Stralis NP is the first natural gas‑powered truck specifically designed for long-haul operations. It can be powered by compressed and/or liquid natural gas, and, according to Iveco, was designed to be the most sustainable long-distance heavy truck ever manufactured. The LNG-only version for example, offers a range of up to 932 miles/1,500km between refuels.
Iveco’s 8.7-litre ‘Cursor 9’ Natural Power Euro VI engine delivers 400bhp and 1,700Nm/1,253lb ft of torque – the same as its diesel equivalent – and is also the first natural gas-powered HGV to feature a 12‑speed automated gearbox, while a Eurotronic transmission offers lower fuel consumption. A three per cent reduction in Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) compared to the previous model is mooted: the older model already claimed fuel pump costs up to 40 per cent lower than its diesel equivalent.

It’s not just the Stralis NP which pioneers HGV breakthroughs, either. The Stralis XP is the new jewel in the Iveco HGV crown and features a new driveline which maximises fuel efficiency and CO2. Fuel savings are claimed to be up to 11 per cent – with further savings of up to 3 per cent – while TCO in long-haul missions is said to be down by 5.6 per cent. The New Stralis 480XP and 570XP, designed for extra-long-haul routes, feature Iveco’s Smart EGR, which works in combination with a patented HI-SCR after‑treatment system to optimise combustion, resulting in significant fuel savings over long distance travel, according to the company.

Efficiency the name of the game

With efficiency set to be the name of the game in 2017 and beyond, more fleet operators are looking for cost savings, as well as increases in productivity and opportunity.
And opportunity is something Iveco is looking for, too. With more than 15,000 Natural Power vehicles already on the road and an exclusive range of both CNG‑powered light and heavy commercial vehicles, the company has the right tools to find more.

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