Is the heavy transport sector on its way to natural gas as an alternative to diesel?

A state of controversy dominated the truck market, in line with the state’s tendency to rely on natural gas, as fuel for all types of cars operating in the local market, whether owner or commercial, as the market was divided between supporters and opponents of It.

Supporters pointed out that the general trend of the state refers to the generalization of natural gas as fuel for trucks during the coming period, which encouraged agents and importers to discuss ways to introduce models of heavy trucks in Egypt, the most of which prominent was the Engineering Automotive Company, which offered the first heavy truck CNG.

They explained that relying on natural gas as a fuel for vehicles would greatly contribute to reducing operating costs, reducing emissions and improving air quality, and that the government had been able to expand filling stations and the necessary during the last period prepare infrastructure to receive it. category vehicles.

Opponents have found that the prices of trucks that run on natural gas are very high compared to those that run on diesel, and that the double load of gas compared to diesel, which is less than half, is the cost of transporting ‘. a ton will affect.

At the outset, Islam Al-Wardani, head of truck sales at GB Auto, dealers of Volvo, Fuso, Shackman and other brands, pointed out that the current period is experiencing many structural changes in the heavy truck industry around the world with the trend of large manufacturers, with the aim of providing heavy-duty vehicles that rely on non-traditional fuel alternatives other than diesel to reduce emission rates, preserve the environment, improve air quality and reduce operating costs.

He told Al Mal that a number of truck manufacturers, particularly in European countries, have started investigating the production of heavy vehicles powered by electricity, hydrogen and other energy alternatives during the current period.

He continued: During the last period, many European heavy truck manufacturers have conducted many studies and tests on vehicles powered by a CNG engine, and some of the results of those tests and studies were not positive about achieving the required emissions accordingly. European standards.

He pointed out that heavy transport trucks that work with conventional fuel “diesel” can transport a load of up to 250 tons, which has so far been difficult to reach with natural gas engines.

He went on to say: With regard to European governments’ targets for reducing emissions in the coming period to reach a zero rate, studies have revealed that the emission rates of trucks operating on natural gas from the “Euro 5” category , is much higher than those who work. with petrol and diesel.

Al-Wardani touched on the price comparison that came in favor of diesel vehicles, as he confirmed that the price of trucks running on natural gas could reach almost double the price of trucks running on natural gas in some brands compared to conventional fuel.

He explained that the country had seen very large shifts in this regard in recent times, initiated by private cars and 14-passenger minibuses through the presidential initiative to replace and renew vehicles that have been in production for more than 20 years. , with new ones manufactured and locally assembled powered by a dual-fuel engine “natural gas”. – petrol “.

The state also tended to pump more investment in infrastructure by inaugurating natural filling stations across the Republic, aiming to support the national project to rely on natural gas as a fuel for cars of all kinds after a series recent discoveries, a surplus in production, and the state’s desire to reduce the bill for imports of materials Petroleum.

The head of the truck sales sector at GB Auto concluded his statements about the recent rise in truck prices in Egypt, following the recent rises in foreign exchange rates and sea freight.

Nazmi Wassef, general manager of Scania Trucks and Buses at Engineering Automotive Company SMG, dealers of Porsche and many brands in the field of spare parts, in turn expected the truck market in Egypt to make a major shift to natural gas instead of diesel by 2025, especially in light of the steps taken The large part that the current political leadership has taken to rely on as a fuel for vehicles of all kinds in Egypt, it is likely that the government will start taking serious steps to convert transport vehicles switch, especially heavy transport, during the next few months.

He pointed out that Engineering Automotive has taken the initiative in this area after announcing and emphasizing in 2018, in collaboration with the launch of the new generation Scania trucks, the launch of the first vehicle running on natural gas in Egypt that over the past four years the company has been able to deliver a lot Including in the local market, and its success in gaining the trust of the customer.

And he indicated that the company, before launching the truck, performed a series of tests on it to ensure that the gas was suitable for the engine, and that it was not exposed to problems affecting its efficiency, and stressed that it has significantly contributed to the reduction of the operating expenses of companies and institutions that made purchases by up to 30% compared to diesel workers.

He added: In 2018, the first heavy truck running on natural gas appeared, at a time when Egyptian roads were suffering from a lack of filling stations, but the situation has now changed, especially after relying on gas a became national project and governments pumped very large investments in the expansion of filling stations throughout the republic.

Scania trucks that run on natural gas can carry a load of up to 100 tons, and they save more than 40% of their fuel inventory expenses, as the truck consumes gas worth 139 thousand pounds of fuel during 100 thousand km, while the value is about reaches 250 thousand EGP if driven over the same distance with diesel.

In terms of maintenance, the cost of maintaining 100,000km for Scania trucks reaches 97 thousand pounds, and it rises in diesel-powered vehicles to 123,000, according to what was announced by the Engineering Automotive Company, the agents of Scania trucks in Egypt.

On the other hand, an official source in one of the European trucking agencies, who preferred not to be named, said that the vast majority of heavy truck manufacturers abandon plans aimed at relying on any traditional fuel, whether gas, petrol or diesel, in order to go fully into producing green trucks with the aim of controlling Continuous increases in pollution figures.

The source pointed out that the shift in plans for the production of truck engines, particularly in mainland Europe, came after the results proved the inability of diesel and gas to meet the government’s emission targets, in addition to the impact of the cargo size if it was available with a CNG engine.

And he indicated that trucks in Egypt have a loading capacity of more than 300 tons at a time, but the same truck, if available with a natural gas engine, will not be able to transport more than 100 tons in one load, which prompted manufacturers to limit it to light trucks and trucks.medium.

He explained that the conversion of private cars and buses of all kinds, from minibuses with a capacity of 14 passengers and up to 52 passengers, could be economically feasible, especially in relation to operating expenses, especially after the recent increases in the prices of petrol and diesel.

In the case of heavy trucks, it may need to be reconsidered in the medium and long term compared to owners and buses, given the dependence on the cost of a number of criteria, of which the price of the truck, the weight of the load , and the cost of transporting the ton.

In a related context, Statista published statistics on sales of CNG trucks in Europe over the period from 2018 to the end of last year, which saw it reach its maximum level in 2020 before the emergence and outbreak of the new Corona. virus.

The website stated that sales of heavy commercial trucks running on natural gas in Europe amounted to approximately 2,731 trucks in 2018, and increased by up to 10%, to 3,004 vehicles.

Sales levels of heavy trucks operating with natural gas in Europe jumped to their highest level in 2020 after their sales recorded 3,421 vehicles, a growth of 13.9 percent compared to sales in the previous year.

The general closure policies announced by the state with the rise of the pandemic caused a decrease in its sales by up to 54%, which by the end of 2021 dropped to 1,581 vehicles.

Regarding light gas-powered trucks, the data showed that Europe was able to deliver 8,140 vehicles in 2018, and it rose to its highest level in 2019, reaching 10,072 trucks in 2020, a growth of 23.7%, and decreased in 2020 and 2021, to reach 7,636 and 4,038 vehicles, respectively.

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