Origin Energy upgrades its Isuzu fleet

Origin Energy recently upgraded its medium-duty LPG cylinder delivery fleet, choosing Isuzu’s F Series platform on the basis of its reliability and fit-for-purpose configuration.

The company’s National Technical Fleet Manager, Mark Witteman, said the bulk of the LPG fleet is populated with delivery vehicles carrying domestic 45kg gas bottles and commercial forklift cylinders.

“The largest part of our LPG fleet is cylinder delivery vehicles, and we also have a fleet of Service and Installation trucks,” said Witteman.

“The 4.5t to 15t gross vehicle mass (GVM) range is predominantly where we use the Isuzu product to meet our requirements – where access to customers’ premises can be difficult,” he said.

Witteman explained that the key drivers in truck selection in this space are ease of operation and manoeuvrability, along with comfort and good visibility.

“With the day cab and short wheelbase, the NPR and NLR Isuzus assist drivers to complete LPG deliveries in ever-shrinking suburban streets,” he said.

Origin’s LPG business is backed by a 400-strong vehicle fleet, spanning a broad spectrum from one-tonne utes through to B-doubles and everything in between.

The company currently replaces around 25 to 30 trucks a year with new models for cylinder delivery and Service and Installation functions. As a necessity, the fleet size mirrors customer growth, ensuring efficient service is maintained.

“Having the light-duty NPR and NLR trucks already supporting us in our LPG business, it was a natural progression to move to the larger F Series Isuzus,” said Witteman.

“These trucks are equipped with a custom-built service body with toolboxes and a crane to lift larger cylinders,” he said – adding, “Isuzu has a very good range that allows us to select the right chassis for the job, based on required payload.”

The FRD’s highly economical 4HKI diesel engine has ample power for the payload of gas cylinders. It features a two-stage turbocharger and Isuzu’s Automated Manual Transmission (AMT) making it quick off the mark.

It also has an Idle Stop System (ISS) which cuts the engine when the truck is stationary, further improving fuel economy.

Comfort is also rated highly by the company’s drivers.

“Certainly, one area that has been well received is the quality of the ISRI suspension seat. Our drivers have no issue finding comfortable settings,” said Witteman.

“The truck also provides good visibility with large electric adjusted and heated mirrors.

“The end result is a good operating environment which means our drivers are happier and less fatigued.”

Isuzu’s safety suite, including Anti-lock Braking (ABS) and Stability Control System (IESC), Hill Start Aid and Anti-Skid Regulator, goes hand in hand with Chain of Responsibility obligations, and what Witteman described as Origin’s duty of care to protect everyone on the road.

“We will always adopt systems that provide the safest work environment, not only for the driver but also for other road users,” he said.

“We fit an In-Vehicle Monitoring System which includes cameras to assist in managing incidents and wheel nut retainers on each truck that prevents loose nuts.

“We have a responsibility to protect the public – and these safety features assist us in achieving this goal.”