Volvo Trucks keen on introducing LNG-fuelled fleets

The initiative is in response to the increasing awareness on the dangers of diesel fuel on the environment

by RAHIMI YUNUS/ pic by RAZAK GHAZALI

VOLVO Trucks Malaysia is hatching out a plan to introduce liquefied natural gas (LNG)-powered trucks in the Malaysian market as a cleaner substitute to diesel trucks.

Volvo Trucks MD Mitch Peden (picture) said the initiative is in response to the increasing awareness on the dangers of diesel fuel on the environment among Malaysians.

He said the company is in the early stages of discussion with various stakeholders to explore the future of LNG-fuelled trucks in the country.

“There is a real future for LNG-powered trucks. We are thinking about how we might be working with some key partners and the government to facilitate the launch of LNG trucks onto the market,” Peden told The Malaysian Reserve in a recent interview.

He said Volvo Trucks is ready to deliver such trucks to Malaysia, but two important factors — infrastructure and pricing point — are to be considered.

“A lot of it depends on infrastructure. If you cannot refuel, you cannot go far on the road. I think it is worth a conversation and to plan a collaboration with some of the big suppliers,” he said.

He added that Volvo Trucks is keen on discussing with the government and gas supply companies on ways to enable local truck operators to refuel gas on key routes in long-haul operations.

LNG-based engine vehicles have cheaper fuel costs than the conventional units and they emit less carbon dioxide which contributes to air pollution.

LNG-powered trucks are yet to be introduced to Malaysian roads, unlike natural gas-run vehicles (NGV) such as taxis and city buses which had been around a few years.

Petrol-engine taxis are converted to NGV vehicles, where drivers can run on gas or switch to petrol when the tank is running empty.

According to a report by the Malaysian Gas Association, Malaysia has approximately 77,000 NGV vehicles as of 2016, while the number of NGV refuelling stations stood at 103.

NGV initiatives, however, lost its steam from 2017 onwards, and saw over 50 NGV stations temporarily closed at the time.

They were operated by sole supplier Petroliam Nasional Bhd.

The current number of petrol stations with NGV pumps are not publicly known as interest on the topic waned, while NGV buses are gradually phased out in favour of electric models.

Peden said Volvo Trucks has been investing heavily in LNG-powered truck technology and the main goals are to provide environmental and economic benefits to end-users.

The Gothenburg, Sweden-based vehicle manufacturer had launched the Volvo FH LNG and Volvo FM LNG trucks in European countries.

Volvo Trucks said these trucks produce 20% less carbon dioxide than the regular models and the emissions can be reduced by 100% on bio-LNG.