Fleet News

Major boost for LPG with 900-van DHL deal

PARCEL delivery company DHL is planning to convert its 900-strong diesel van fleet to run on liquefied petroleum gas - the largest move of its kind yet seen by the fleet industry. So far the delivery company has converted five Ford Transits to run on LPG supplied by Shell. If this initial step proves successful its remaining vans will gradually be replaced with petrol models which can then be converted in a £1.4 million project.

DHL International facilities manager Paul Bellamy, winner of the 1995 Fleet News Environment Award, said he expected the conversion costs of £1,600 per vehicle to be recouped within two years. The company is relying on a temporary refuelling station at its Lambeth depot, which it can use for six months without planning permission. By the time that expires Shell plans to be operating a handful of forecourt-based LPG pumps in London.

DHL's total fleet of 1,300 cars, vans and larger commercials - which includes 250 vans operating in central London - covers about 32 million miles a year. Until now the light commercial fleet - composed of 80% Ford Transits and 20% Mercedes-Benz Sprinters - has been entirely diesel, run on replacement cycles averaging three years/100,000 miles. To convert the entire van fleet will take three to four years.

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