More fleets introduce vehicles running on HVO

Wed 19 July 2023 View all news

Royal Mail, Pepsico and Falkirk Council are amongst fleets to introduce vehicles running on hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO). The fuel gives hard-to-electrify fleets the opportunity to significantly reduce their carbon emissions in the short term.

Royal Mail is replacing some of its diesel HGV fleet in favour of HVO to initially operate out of its Sheffield mail centre, Midlands ‘super hub’ and Manchester vehicle operating centre. 

Royal Mail says that using HVO at these sites will save a combined consumption of 2.1 million litres of diesel this year.

Rob Fowler, fleet director at Royal Mail, explained: “We’ve made great progress in decarbonising our operation by introducing 5,000 electric vehicles into our final mile fleet, but we also need to focus on our HGVs.

“At present, the electric and hydrogen alternatives are still in development for HGVs. Vehicle ranges are low, purchase prices are high, and infrastructure is in its infancy.

“That's why we have introduced the use of HVO to decarbonise the HGV fleet within our operation via the most viable low-carbon option.”

The transition to HVO is part of Royal Mail’s Steps to Zero plan – a drive to reduce the business’ carbon emissions to net zero by 2040.

Royal Mail says it plans to continue to increase its HVO deployment across its local and national distribution fleet network over the coming years, aiming to reduce its direct emissions by up to 200,000 tonnes of CO2e.

PepsiCo is also introducing HVO fuel to its distribution fleet in a move it says will save 2,650 tonnes in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions annually.

The vehicles will be used to transport 240,000 tonnes potatoes each year from PepsiCo’s British farmers to its Leicester site.

PepsiCo says it is continuing to increase the use of sustainable HVO fuel across the business, with plans to expand its use to the company’s transport operations in Scotland later this year.

Meanwhile, Falkirk Council has introduced HVO as the fuel source for all 24 of its bin lorries. Earlier this year, the Council embarked on a three-year, £5-million initiative to create a more sustainable fleet. As part of its efforts, the local authority has introduced 43 electric vehicles so far this year, bringing the total number of electric-powered cars and vans it operates to 129.

However, due to the current limited mileage range and high cost of electric-powered heavy goods vehicles like bin lorries, the Council decided HVO was a positive step towards reducing carbon emissions while awaiting advancements in technology.

The Council says that crews and drivers have been extremely positive about the move, stating the switch has had no impact on the driving experience and there have been no reported breakdowns or mechanical issues associated with HVO.


Image: Courtesy, Royal Mail


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