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bp and Mercedes-Benz trial digital in-truck fuel payments

bp and Mercedes-Benz trial digital in-truck fuel payments
Photo courtesy of bp

bp and Mercedes-Benz Trucks UK have successfully tested the first digital in-truck fuel payment  system in the UK, running a successful pilot trial with Wren Kitchens. 

The ground-breaking new app-based system, bp In-Truck Pay, makes fuel purchasing and  management faster, more efficient and more secure for both truck drivers and fleet managers. The  app has been developed for the latest-generation Mercedes-Benz Actros, which can be specified with  Multimedia Cockpit, Interactive. This incorporates the Truck App Portal, an open platform that can be  used by fleet managers to easily assign apps to their vehicles via their multi-touch display. 

Automatically relaying purchases, mileage and other data back to base, In-Truck Pay eliminates  errors, provides accurate information to managers and removes the need for drivers to enter mileage  themselves. 

bp In-Truck Pay is designed specifically for fleet operators to help get drivers back on the road faster.  It requires just three simple steps – drivers confirm the site, unlock the pump and refuel. 

The truck directly logs the fuel transaction – paying for the fuel itself. Drivers don’t need to pay in the  shop or to enter data. And there is no need for fuel cards, removing complications from managing lost  or damaged cards and the risk of fraudulent card use. 

When Mercedes-Benz Trucks UK launched its new Actros range in 2019, it polled customers to ask  them what type of app they would like developers to offer that could help their businesses. Top of the  list was “solutions that address refuelling issues,” which is what bp In-Truck Pay does. 

In the pilot trial, Mercedes-Benz truck customer Wren Kitchens – the winner of no fewer than five  trophies at this month’s prestigious Motor Transport Awards – used bp In-Truck Pay with 11 vehicles  from its fleet. 

Safer and quicker way to pay for fuel

“We strive to always be ahead  of the game, and trialling innovative initiatives like this means we can potentially drive progress within  our business, and, ultimately, the logistics sector as a whole,” said Lee Thompson-Halls, national fleet manager for Wren Kitchens. “The trials have shown an increase in efficiency, with savings of approximately five minutes per  transaction. When you add that up over time, it will have a hugely positive impact on our business,  which delivers over 100,000 kitchens per year across the UK. Not only that, but it will also be  beneficial for our drivers, by creating a safer and quicker way to pay for fuel.” 

Alexandru Eftimiu, bp’s VP fleet Europe, said: “We aim to provide innovative digital solutions to make  customers’ lives easier. bp In-Truck Pay shifts how we connect with our customers through digital and  online platforms. It makes life easier and more convenient for both managers and drivers of  commercial fleets. We’ve already received fantastic feedback from Wren Kitchens and look forward to  bringing bp In-Truck Pay to other customers and countries in due course.” 

Richard Skidmore, head of customer service delivery, Mercedes-Benz Trucks UK, commented:  “Connectivity is integral to the strategy of Mercedes-Benz Trucks. bp In-Truck Pay demonstrates  perfectly how the Truck App Portal can amplify the benefit of running Mercedes-Benz trucks by  helping customers to save money, increase efficiency and retain drivers. We are proud of the part our  Connectivity team has played in the development of this app that has the potential to transform the  way in which operators may purchase their fuel.” 

The pilot – case study 

Following “proof of concept” testing by bp and Mercedes-Benz Trucks in autumn 2020, Wren Kitchens  embraced the opportunity to pilot the new app. 

For the pilot, which began in May, bp In-Truck Pay was installed on 11 of Wren Kitchens’ Actros trucks  – six tractor units used to distribute quartz worktops from its headquarters in Barton-upon-Humber,  and five 18-tonners based at a depot in Tipton in the West Midlands, that deliver kitchens to  customers’ homes. 

Wren Kitchens buys from bp all but a tiny percentage of the fuel needed to run its fleet of 300 trucks,  which operate from a network of seven locations nationwide. Approximately 100 of these vehicles are  Mercedes-Benz trucks. 

The operator worked closely with development teams from bp and Mercedes-Benz Trucks UK on the  implementation of the new system, and provided feedback on its operation, with particular focus on  data availability and quality, and driver opinion. 

The feedback received was resoundingly positive. Wren Kitchens’ national fleet manager Lee  Thompson-Halls commented: “Going cardless has saved us so much time and trouble, not only at the fuel station but also on the admin side. It has ensured that we’re working with clear, accurate data,  and is also where we need to be from a security perspective. 

“Our team of drivers do a challenging job, so anything we can do to make their lives easier and less  stressful has to be a good thing, not least because it will help to make them that bit safer at the wheel.”