Tesco.com, the online shopping subsidiary of Britain’s number one retailer, is in the process of taking delivery of 795 Iveco light commercials.
The deal will make Tesco.com one of the largest operators of Daily AGiles in Europe, with the order including 770 Daily 35S11 AGiles, incorporating Iveco’s proven six-speed automated transmission. This offers the driver a choice between completely automatic or manual sequential gear selection using a lever on the dashboard, making stop-start driving in a busy urban environment as comfortable as possible.
Tesco.com has also specified 25 natural gas-powered EcoDailys – which are built as dedicated alternative fuel vehicles at Iveco’s production plant in Suzzara, Italy. These vehicles will run exclusively on Compressed Biomethane (CBM), which has the lowest carbon intensity of any commercially available fuel.
The combined order represents significant investment in British industry, with the bodywork being manufactured by Lancashire-based Solomon, the refrigeration units supplied by Suffolk-based Hubbard and GAH, together with telematics from Microlise in Nottingham. Even the natural gas vehicles will run on CBM produced by Warwick-based Gasrec, through a process of cleaning and upgrading waste gas streams from a landfill site in Surrey.
“The scale of the CBM trial will allow us to assess the performance of the natural gas vehicles comprehensively,” says Dino Papas, Fleet Transport Manager at Tesco.com. “It represents one of the most important trials we have ever run, and if it proves successful, it could have a major impact on our future transport strategy.”
Gasrec produces the CBM by recovering the latent energy stored in material discarded by society on a landfill site, meaning the fuel is not depleting fossil resources. In comparison with diesel, it reduces particulate matter by 90 per cent, nitrous oxide by 60 per cent and sulphur dioxide by 50 per cent. Even the noise from an engine running on CBM is reduced by around 30 per cent.
Commenting on Tesco.com’s decision to specify automated gearboxes across the new Iveco fleet, Papas adds: “We opted for the AGile transmissions as Iveco’s trial data shows that it reduces wear and tear on the driveline in urban applications, where the mainstay of our fleet operates. It’s also proven to optimise fuel economy, which supports our environmental goals, and will allow our drivers to place maximum attention on the road ahead.”
The latest Daily AGile models all benefit from revised control software which further improves the driving experience, allowing driver-initiated down-shifting for maximising engine brake performance and anticipating traffic conditions without exiting from the fully automatic mode. The AGile system also analyses the pressure being placed on the accelerator pedal and adapts its response to the individual’s style of driving.
The new fleet will be spread across the majority of Tesco.com’s 300+ sites throughout the UK, with the Daily’s impressive manoeuvrability supporting the 70,000 home deliveries it makes each day. Each of the vehicles will remain in operation for five years and will clock up an average of 25,000 miles per year.
The vehicles are mounted with Solomon triple-compartment insulated bodywork for the combined transport of ambient, refrigerated and frozen goods, with the temperature controlled by GAH or Hubbard refrigeration systems. The bodywork is built with side loading doors on the nearside to permit safe unloading by the driver at the kerbside.
Each vehicle also features a Microlise on-board telematics system which provides information on vehicle performance, driving style and fuel consumption, which is used to support Tesco’s extensive driver training programme and to provide both an environmental and safety benefit. The telematics device also features an in-built vehicle-tracking function to support vehicle security.