Fleet News

Northgate targets Europe

Van hire firm Northgate has seen its annual pre-tax profits rise 34% to £75.4 million. The firm now wants to expand further into Europe after acquisitions in Spain and the UK over the past year.

An engineering firm and the UK’s largest supermarket are about to combine in a pioneering new green fleet trial. Connaught, recently revived to produce a hybrid sports coupe, has developed a retro-fit hybrid product, which will be fitted to seven diesel Ford Transit vans owned by Tesco.

The Hybrid+ system is claimed to deliver significant fuel savings and CO2 emission reductions in both diesel and petrol-powered vehicles of around 25%. It works by using compact super capacitors, rather than the traditional hybrid battery pack, and regenerative braking.

The capacitors power a 15bhp electric motor and dynamo, coupled to the engine by a continuously variable transmission (CVT), which can deliver and recoup energy as needed. Tesco will run the hybrid Transits in its home delivery fleet in a six-month trial. If successful, more of the fleet could be fitted with the technology.

Duncan Vavangas, fleet engineering manager at Tesco, said: “Tesco is committed to reduce its carbon footprint wherever possible. Transport is a key area and in addition to supporting new vehicle technologies we are keen to embrace affordable retro-fit systems that save fuel and reduce CO2 emissions on our current fleet of home delivery vehicles.”

Tony Martindale, chief exeutive officer of Connaught Engineering, said: “We are delighted that Tesco has taken the decision to hybridise its home delivery fleet.

“The Connaught Hybrid+ system is the only retro-fit hybrid technology available anywhere in the world.

“Tesco’s decision will bring it immediate savings in their fuel costs as well as reducing CO2 emissions by up to 25% per vehicle.”

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