GM plans to trial biodiesel B30 with one of its key fleet customers using two van models, including the British-built Vivaro. The biodiesel B30-compatible models use the existing 2.0 CDTI Vivaro and 2.5 CDTI 100PS and 120PS Movano engines, and offer up to 20% fewer CO2 emissions on a ‘source to wheels’ basis compared to the standard Euro 4-compliant diesel units.

As part of a controlled fleet trial, a number of vans will run on biodiesel B30 across the country as GM and Vauxhall investigate the long-term potential for the fuel in the UK, and look towards a more widespread distribution network for it.

Biodiesel is made from naturally renewable sources such as sunflower and rapeseed oils, where the oil is extracted and transformed into a methyl ester. Biodiesel B30 is a mixture of 30% biodiesel and 70% conventional diesel. Emissions from the fuel are reduced because plants grown for conversion to biodiesel actually absorb CO2 from the atmosphere.  Whilst biodiesel can be produced from a variety of sources, quality is critical, and the manufacturer is also calling on the government to look at establishing a quality specification for the fuel.

Vauxhall Managing Director, Bill Parfitt, said: “Fuel efficiency is already one of the top priorities for our commercial vehicle customers. Payload and duty cycles mean downsizing is generally not an option, so achieving further CO2 reductions becomes a real challenge.  The introduction of biodiesel B30-compatible models to our van range is one way GM can help customers reduce their CO2 emissions on a ‘source to wheels’ basis and is part of General Motors’ wider commitment to alternative fuels and advanced propulsion systems – we’re very pleased to be the first manufacturer planning to fully trial the fuel in the UK.

“Of course, governments have an important role to play as well, specifically in terms of ensuring the quality and wider availability of the fuel, and providing incentives to encourage customers to buy it.”