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Fleet Round-Up: Stobart, FedEx, Cracker Barrel, Tire Efficiency

Stobart Group’s transport and distribution division Eddie Stobart and UK compressed and liquefied gases supplier BOC are testing a fleet of Volvo dual-fuel vehicles powered primarily by liquid natural gas. The UK government’s Technology Strategy Board is providing the initial funds for the trial, and Eddie Stobart has agreed to match that investment. The funding will allow Eddie Stobart to increase the number of dual-fuel vehicles in its fleet and enable BOC to install an LNG refueling station at one of the transportation company’s regional hubs.

FedEx Freight has begun beta testing two new tractors powered by liquefied natural gas-only engines. The pre-production engine used in the new tractors is slated for limited release in 2013 and is currently the only all-natural gas engine that begins to meet the size and power needs of Class 8 trucks, FedEx says. Domiciled at the FedEx Freight service center in Dallas, Texas, the tractors will be used as part of the carrier’s regular linehaul operations and are expected to log nearly 1,000 miles per day.

EVgo Freedom Station electric vehicle charging stations have been installed at four Cracker Barrel Old Country Store locations in and around Houston. EVgo, a subsidiary of NRG Energy Inc., installed the chargers at Cracker Barrel locations in Kingwood, League City, Pearland and West Houston, Texas. Each station one DC Fast charger, capable of delivering 50 miles of charge in 15 minutes, and one Level 2 charger that delivers up to 25 miles of range for every hour plugged in. No other metropolitan area in the country has a greater concentration of DC fast chargers than Houston. with 17 currently in operation, NRG said.

UK businesses could reduce fuel costs by up to £500 million ($800 million) per year if they fitted more fuel-efficient tires on half of their company vehicles, according to figures from the Energy Saving Trust. New EU legislation requires all tires on sale in the UK to display a label indicating their rating on three criteria: grip in wet conditions, external noise and fuel efficiency. The difference between the best and worst tires on the market in terms of efficiency can reduce vehicle fuel consumption by up to 7.5 percent over the lifetime of the tire, according to the UK’s Energy Saving Trust.

Electric vehicle owners who are members of the UK’s Source London or Source East charging networks can now charge their cars at charging stations serving either programs at no extra cost, London’s transit agency has announced. The two networks serve the UK capital and the east of England region and comprise 810 and 132 charge points respectively. Membership to either program costs £10 a year.

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