Hiab and Emoss to bring electric skiploader concept to Freight in the City Expo

Hiab and Emoss are to debut a fully electric skiploader concept vehicle at tomorrow’s Freight in the City Expo.

Hiab has fitted a Multilift Futura 12 skiploader body onto an Emoss EMS 18 series electric chassis with Hiab’s electric power take-off (PTO) system, making it 100% electric.

The electric PTO will also be showcased at the expo, which takes place at London’s Alexandra Palace tomorrow (7 November). It allows Hiab equipment such as cranes and skiploaders to be operated with the vehicle’s engine switched off.

Hiab product manager Alastair Evans said: “It’s clean and quiet, so would be ideal for early hours skip deliveries when builders need them in an inner-city residential area.

“This is purely a concept vehicle, but if the demand is there then it could certainly go into production.”

Hiab will also be showing its Moffett E4 electric truck-mounted forklift system on its stand (V07).

DfT considers offence for dangerous or careless cycling

The government is looking at introducing a new offence equivalent to causing death or serious injury by careless or dangerous driving for cyclists.

Following recent high-profile cases involving cyclists and pedestrians, the DfT is to look at whether it should create such an offence to improve the safety of vulnerable road users.

Its review will be informed by independent legal advice and its conclusions will be reported in early 2018.

It then plans to issue a consultation on ways cycle safety could be improved for cyclists, pedestrians and drivers.

The consultation is expected to consider the rules of the road, public awareness, safety risks and guidance and signage for all road users.

Transport minister Jesse Norman said: “We’ve seen the devastation that reckless cycling and driving can cause, and this review will help safeguard both Britain’s cyclists and those who share the roads with them.”

The government has claimed that its spending on cycling tripled between 2010 and 2017.

The mayor of London last week revealed plans for a ninth cycle superhighway in central London, linking Kensington Olympia to Brentford.

TfL aims to start building the cycle superhighway late next year, and hopes to extend it to Hounslow at a later date.

Industry reacts to driving licence reform plans for clean van technology

A proposal to allow category B (car) driving licence holders to drive heavier vans, provided they run on an alternative fuel, has been welcomed by Gasrec.

The fuel supplier last year pushed the DfT to consider an additional 1-tonne allowance on the category B driving licence for drivers of low-emission vans, after the DfT revealed plans to allow an additional tonne of weight to accommodate alternative fuel technology.

Alternative fuel equipment is sometimes heavier than conventional diesel vehicle technology, and the plans will allow such vehicles to carry the same payload as a diesel van.

Gasrec CEO Rob Wood said: “Gasrec is pleased that the government is planning to remove barriers that are preventing the wider use of alternative-fuelled vehicles.

“The current driving licensing regime reduces the driver pool available for alternative-fuelled light goods vehicles as they often marginally exceed the 3.5 tonne licence limit for Category B licence holders. This places a cost and operational burden on the adoption of new technology despite the wide availability of suitable vehicles.

He added: “These vehicles have the potential to make a significant contribution to improving air quality in our urban areas and we fully support the introduction of an appropriate licence derogation to remove this adoption hurdle.”

However, van leasing provider Arval questioned whether it would place more responsibility on van drivers and operators.

“The question facing fleets is whether they feel it is responsible to place drivers with standard car licences into a vehicle with a mass that has previously been seen as requiring specialised training, and into something that is three-quarters of a tonne heavier, and twice as heavy as the largest cars,” said Arval LCV consultant Eddie Parker.

“Across the fleet sector, in recent years, the discussion has tended to be about whether the driving standards for larger CVs should be applied to smaller vehicles. This new proposal moves things in the opposite direction.”

In order to relax driver licensing rules, the UK would need to seek a temporary derogation from the EU Third Driving Licence Directive. Some EU states have already done this to allow category B licence holders to drive heavier vans.

Consortium to trial system that will switch to zero-emission running in polluted areas

A consortium formed of several automotive technology companies and Leeds City Council is developing a system that will automatically switch a vehicle’s engine to zero-emission running in heavily polluted areas.

The council has teamed with Cenex, Transport Systems Catapult, consultancy EarthSense, transport network systems developer Dynniq and Tevva Motors to launch Project Accra, which will use live air quality data to trigger electric hybrid engines to automatically switch to zero-emission running in urban areas.

Dynniq will develop a decision-making engine capable of receiving live air quality information and real-time traffic conditions. The information will be used to instruct vehicles to run on zero-emissions within a particular geographical area.

EarthSense will be responsible for monitoring and uploading local air quality information to the system.

The technology will be trialled in Leeds and will be tested on a hybrid vehicle interface developed by Tevva Motors.

The system will be evaluated by Cenex and Transport Systems Catapult, which will investigate how it could be scaled-up for wider use across Leeds and other potential clean air zones. Five clean air zones across the UK are expected to be in place by the end of 2019.

Steve Carroll, head of transport at Cenex said, “Local air quality is a persistent and growing problem in urban centres across the UK and globally. Using real-time air quality data to automatically instruct vehicles driving into high pollution areas to switch to zero-emissions driving, has the potential to transform urban transportation regulation and save thousands of lives.”

Simon Notley, technical lead for Dynniq, said: “This is an exciting opportunity to create an entirely new solution to the problem of air pollution and demonstrate the huge potential for innovation that is being unlocked by modern Intelligent Transport Systems. But most importantly it’s an opportunity to improve the quality of life of everyone living, working or travelling in cities around the world.”

Co-ordinated transport requirements needed across UK cities, says DHL

DHL Supply Chain has called for a co-ordinated approach to dealing with transport issues in urban areas to avoid differing standards across the UK.

Speaking at a Westminster Energy, Environment & Transport Forum seminar last week, Phil Roe, MD of Transport, UK & Ireland, told delegates that while the focus on safety and reducing emissions was welcomed, policy makers should be aware of the impact it could have on the logistics sector if differing requirements emerge.

He said: “What we’re seeing is a much more intelligent and co-ordinated approach in dealing with those problems in cities, which is fantastic and is very much to be welcomed. What worries us is that they all might be different.

“No one is going to manufacture vehicles for London alone.”

However, he said increased regional devolution of transport issues has encouraged increased engagement with the freight sector, which was to be welcomed.

Cemex orders low entry Volvo FMs for urban work

Cemex UK has placed an order for 47 new urban Volvo FM trucks.

The trucks, which have a lower chassis design for use in London, will be fitted with passenger door windows to aid visibility of vulnerable road users, forward-facing cameras, forward collision warning systems and adaptive brake control lane departure systems.

The 6m³ drum variant will be powered by a 370hp engine, while the 8m³ version will have a 410hp engine.

The FMs will be put to use by construction firm’s subcontractors when they arrive in early June. Cemex will take delivery of the trucks and subcontractors can opt to have one when upgrading their vehicles.

Cemex is currently working with its subcontractors to ensure they become Fors-accredited.

Image: Graham Kirk, national key accounts at Volvo Truck and Bus UK (left)  and Charlie Stanford Cemex national fleet liaison manager (right).

Northern Ireland government consults on plans to encourage use of alternative fuels

Northern Ireland’s Department for Infrastructure (DfI) is seeking views on a series of measures designed to encourage the uptake of alternative-fuelled vehicles.

It is considering removing the requirement for commercial vehicles that run on hydrogen, CNG or LNG to seek special authorisation from the DfI in the form of a vehicle special order (VSO).

The DfI is also asking whether the proposed increase in length and weight for alternative-fuelled or more aerodynamic vehicles should apply for both domestic and international journeys.

The changes, brought in by EU regulation 2015/719, will come into force in May and will allow alternative-fuelled HGVs or those that carry equipment designed to cut emissions to run at a maximum of 45 tonnes GVW across EU member states.

A consultation, which closes on 10 January, asks the industry whether the DfI should allow an increase of up to one-tonne GVW for vehicles running on alternative fuels in international traffic only, as the directive requires, or also for domestic journeys within Northern Ireland.

It also asks what the impact on fuel and fleet running costs is expected to be, and how many hauliers are likely to take up alternative fuels based on the changes.

The DfI said it does not plan to amend its legislation to allow two-axle vehicle and three-axle trailer combinations to operate at a maximum weight of 42 tonnes, as suggested by the EU regulation.

It said this is because national legislation encourages the use of six-axle combinations with road-friendly suspension to reduce road damage.

Driving licence rethink encouraged ahead of weight increase for alternative fuelled vehicles

The government’s 
attempt to encourage the uptake of alternative-fuelled HGVs when an updated EU weights and dimensions directive comes into force next year is flawed, according to liquefied gas supplier Gasrec.

The company believes operators of 3.5-tonne vehicles will be discouraged from converting from diesel to gas when the updated directive, 
which allows for an additional tonne of weight to accommodate alternative fuel technology, is implemented by May 2017.

This is because category B driving licence holders who passed their test from 1997 onwards are only permitted to drive vehicles weighing up to 3.5 tonnes, and will therefore require a category C licence to drive converted vehicles, which could weigh up to 4.5 tonnes when the directive comes into force.

Chief executive Rob Wood told Freightinthecity.com that it is calling on the government to consider an additional 1-tonne allowance on the category B driving licence for those who drive smaller vehicles that have been converted. Alternatively, the Department for Transport (DfT) could categorise such vehicles to fall within the remit of those covered by the current category B licence.

Wood said: “A major retailer we work with is having to make the decision to go back to diesel and give up running alternative fuel vehicles, otherwise it will have to have two classes of driver and two driver pools. How will it manage them? It will be a major headache.”

He questioned why the directive, which was passed by the European Parliament in April 2015, has taken so long to be implemented in the UK.

A DfT spokesman said 
that it did not know when the changes to UK law would be made, although they will come in on or before the 7 May 2017 deadline given by the European Commission.

“This directive was passed 
in 2015, so plenty of notice was 
given to the government. They could have acted far quicker,” added Wood.

Clean Air Zones for UK cities mean HGVS and vans face charges

Birmingham will get one of the first clean air zones

HGVs and vans that do not meet emissions requirements will soon face a charge to enter certain areas in some of the UK’s major cities, as part of the government’s plans to improve air quality.

Clean Air Zones will be introduced in Birmingham (pictured), Leeds, Nottingham, Derby and Southampton by 2020.

It will see the most polluting vehicles, including HGVs that do not meet the Euro-6 emissions standard, diesel buses, taxis and coaches, discouraged from entering.

Cars are excluded from the scheme.

Zones in Birmingham and Leeds will also discourage the use of diesel vans and will implement other measures. These may include park and ride schemes, signage, changes in road layouts and provision of infrastructure for alternative fuels.

All ultra-low emission vehicles will be given free access to the zones as an incentive to invest in green technology.

Plans to exclude private cars from the scheme have been criticised by the FTA, particularly as the Ultra-Low Emission Zone in London from 2020 will include cars.

Rachael Dillon, FTA’s climate change policy manager, said: “Everyone has to play their part to help improve air quality. But rather than sharing the burden of meeting air quality targets, the government has firmly rested the responsibility on other modes including freight which access cities to deliver the goods and services to keep our economy moving.

“FTA recognises the urgent need for the UK to meet EU air quality targets and to improve local air quality for residents.  We also recognise that the freight sector must contribute.  But to fail to include cars – a major source of pollutants – in such plans is baffling.”