John Lewis Partnership to co-develop major HGV biomethane refuelling station in Kent
The John Lewis Partnership is working with ReFuels to build the first biomethane refuelling station for heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) in the South-East of England. Construction has commenced this week.
The parent company of Waitrose and John Lewis was one of the UK’s earliest corporate adopters of biomethane-powered HGVs and now operates 400 such vehicles. It has operated these vehicles since 2015 in a bid to reduce fleet emissions.
As the retailer works to increase that number to 520 by 2028, it is co-investing in several pieces of refuelling infrastructure, including ReFuels’ new refuelling station in Aylesford, Kent. John Lewis Partnership notably hosts its distribution centre for the South-East nearby.
Other fleet operators will be able to access the refuelling station, which will host 12 pumps and have the capacity to provide a 500 full tanks of fuel each day. The site is near popular routes including the M20 and M2.
John Lewis Partnership’s general manager for fleet, Justin Laney, said the new station is “another important step towards realizing” the company’s goal to fully convert its HGV fleet to biomethane by 2028. This forms part of a wider goal to end the use of petrol and diesel vehicles at the group by 2030.
Existing data from biomethane HGVs managed by John Lewis Partnership has confirmed that they generate around one-fifth of the carbon dioxide of traditional diesel HGV models.
As for ReFuels, the business is aiming to operate at least 30 biomethane refuelling sites in the UK by 2026, up from 12 at present. It believes it could serve up to 15,000 HGVs per day with this capacity.
The station in Aylesford is a joint venture between CNG Fuels, the infrastructure arm of ReFuels, and investment management firm Foresight Group.
Zero-emission HGVs are now exempted from paying the HGV levy, provided they are emission-free at the tailpipe and would also be otherwise exempt from vehicle excise duty (VED). This exemption does not extend to hybrid vehicles.
The UK’s 2050 net-zero target is supported by a goal to end the operation of HGVs which are not zero-emission by 2040.