A new fleet of lorries powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG) is helping to drive sustainable logistics at BMW's Mini plant in Oxford, England.

Contractor Imperial now has 18 LNG lorries on the road, transporting parts and components from suppliers on 15 different routes across the UK to the factory.

LNG lorries have lower fuel consumption, produce fewer harmful emissions and are quieter on the roads. The new fleet has already delivered a reduction of approximately 20% in CO² and NOX emissions, compared to diesel alternatives. In future, CO² reduction of up to 90% is expected by using bio-LNG.

Thomas Frank, the plant's director of logistics, said:"We are really excited to be working with Imperial on this project as part of our wider efforts to improve sustainability throughout all areas of the BMW group. The fleet will travel from more than a dozen key suppliers, including the Hams Hall engine factory, and it means that around 20% of all lorries now coming to Oxford will be powered by LNG fuel."

Imperial has successfully trialled LNG lorries in both the UK and Germany over the past 12 months. The company has installed its own LNG facility close to the Oxford factory which means vehicles on routes with limited refuelling opportunities can leave Oxford with a full tank before continuing their onward journey.

The Oxford factory already has heat regeneration, environmentally friendly production, rainwater harvesting and one of Britain's largest solar energy arrays. The next step is to increase sustainability in all areas of the supply chain and logistics.

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The group is working with service providers to use natural gas-powered and electric lorries worldwide in order to reduce emissions in logistics. Several battery-electric lorries are already in use at the Munich and Landshut plants for transport trips within the plant gates and over short distances. The extended use of such lorries is undergoing continuous testing, while the possibility of using hydrogen power is also under consideration.