Could compressed natural gas be the next big thing in the battle to make commercial vehicles more environmentally-friendly?
Iveco and Mercedes-Benz certainly think so, as both manufacturers are launching CNG versions of the Daily and Sprinter this summer.
As there is currently no infrastructure for refilling such vans at present, fleets buying them will be depot-based but both manufacturers offer to set up bunkering and refilling facilities for potential customers.
The Daily, powered by a 3.0-litre diesel engine, runs of biomethane which will be supplied in a tie-up with gas specialist gasrec, which reclaims gas from landfill rubbish sites, while the Sprinter sports a 1.8-litre supercharged petrol unit and will run on biomethane or gas from the mains supply.
Dealers are being urged to watch out for more developments with natural gas in the future.
Steve Bridge, van sales and marketing director at Mercedes-Benz, believes there will be a healthy demand for the new model from fleets.
He said: “We are working on the infrastructure problem at the moment but we believe this van will be of interest to local councils who want to increase their green credentials and London-based fleets, as the NGT will escape the London congestion charge. We are also looking at sales to the 2012 Olympic games contractors.”