Ford and Deutsche Post DHL present first StreetScooter Work XL

Deutsche Post DHL Group and Ford have revealed the first of their joint vehicle, the StreetScooter Work XL electric delivery van.

The logistics giant announced its partnership with the manufacturer in June, scaling up DHL subsidiary StreetScooter’s own electric vehicles.

The StreetScooter Work XL, unveiled today in Cologne, is built on a Ford Transit chassis.

The patnership plans to have built 150 of the van by the end of the year, and 2,500 by the end of 2018.

The fully-electric vehicles will be used on urban parcel delivery operations with Deutsche Post DHL, although the Work XL is also available to third party customers.

The new van has a load volume of 20m3, which can store more than 200 parcels. The battery has a range of 80-200km.

Steven Armstrong, Ford’s group vice president and president of Europe, Middle East & Africa, said:

“We’re really proud of this ambitious project, and of the strong partnership we’ve developed with Deutsche Post DHL Group and StreetScooter.

“This joint project will be Europe’s largest manufacturer of emission-free, medium-sized e-vans, and it doesn’t come a moment too soon. Buses, cars, and of course, delivery vans play vital roles in our daily lives, but we have to find a way to make them cleaner. This project is a great step along this path.”

Capital needs dedicated freight commissioner, says London Chamber of Commerce and Industry

London needs a dedicated freight commissioner to meet the growing logistical demands of the capital, according to the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI).

The organisation said that while it supports London mayor Sadiq Khan’s plans to tackle congestion and air quality in the city, they need to be complemented with work to support London’s growth.

The capital’s population is predicted to grow from 8.6 million to 10 million by 2030, which the LCCI said creates a need for attention when it comes to goods deliveries. Keeping the city supplied “doesn’t just magically happen”, it said.

TfL does not currently have a dedicated freight department; it was integrated into day-to-day operations last year.

Natalie Chapman, deputy chair of the LCCI’s Transport Committee and head of policy for London, said:

“We are looking at a rapidly expanding population in London, which means not only do all these people need to be able to move about but they also require access to all the essential goods and services they want and need.

“People living in and visiting London expect to be able to buy their morning coffee, visit the shops and find everything they want in stock and also have a wide restaurant choice.

“This doesn’t just magically happen. Shops and restaurants have to be supplied and stocked and that means freight and logistics have to be properly co-ordinated.”

Clarity needed on clean air zone restrictions, says FTA

A lack of clarity over which vehicles will be affected by clean air zones (CAZs) could be disastrous for operators, the FTA has warned.

The association spoke out in the wake of the government’s latest air quality improvement plan, released yesterday, and said it feared the lack of distinction could put operators out of business.

The document outlines different categories of CAZs, each of which would charge different vehicles for entering, and confirms that five cities other than London must implement measures before the end of next year.

But the government has left local authorities to decide which categories of zone will be implemented, meaning it’s too early to tell what penalties fleet operators are likely to face going forwards.

FTA’s director of UK policy Elizabeth de Jong said: “Uncertainty will hurt the industry – the FTA understands we won’t know where lorries and vans will be restricted until next year, giving only a year for businesses to plan their fleets, leaving many with potentially large bills on top of rising operating costs in a difficult trading environment.”

The association added that if vans are included in CAZs, diesel vehicles would need to be Euro-6 to comply.

There are just two years’ worth of vehicles available in that space, however, and no established second hand market.

De Jong added: “For those whose businesses operate inside a zone, a period of grace, giving them extra time to comply, would provide much-needed breathing space.

“Our worst fear is that some may be forced out of business altogether if the plans are not properly thought through.”

HGVs excluded from 2040 diesel ban, but could see changes to road user levy

HGVs are not included in the 2040 new diesel vehicle ban, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has confirmed, but has said it intends to include them in the future.

Regarding the government’s air quality improvement plan released today (26 July), a Defra spokesman told Freight in the City: “For now it just includes cars and panel vans, but it is our intention to get to a point where we can include all new diesel vehicles in that ban.

“It’s our ambition that all new vehicles will be zero-emission by 2040.”

However the new air quality plan, which includes a ban on conventional petrol but not hybrids, does hint at future revisions to the HGV Road User Levy.

It stated: “The government will consider changes to the HGV Road User Levy so that it incentivises improved environmental performance, including air quality and carbon emissions.”

The document also suggests the government will consider the “appropriate tax treatment for diesel vehicles” ahead of this year’s autumn budget, which may go some way towards funding air quality improvement.

Instead of making any new provisions for tackling poor air quality, the government said funding would come from “changes to tax treatment for new diesel vehicles, or through reprioritisation within existing departmental budgets”.

Responses to a consultation into the draft air quality plan, released in May, favoured the idea of a scrappage scheme for all diesel vehicles.

However the government’s new plan claims such a scheme would be bad value for money for taxpayers.

It added that it would not proceed with a scrappage programme – something the industry has called for – unless it could find a way of doing so that was able to target those most in need of help, that was fair to the tax payer, and not open to fraud or abuse.

Northern cities need more attention in air quality debate, say researchers

More attention must be paid to air quality outside of London, according to a report by the Institute for Public Policy Research.

Speaking about the report – Gearing up for the Transition – researcher Darren Baxter said: “Toxic air is killing up to 40,000 children and adults a year. Too little attention is paid to this key issue, especially outside the capital.”

The report highlights congestion as a key issue, holding it accountable for costs of £2bn a year in lost productivity in Manchester and Liverpool.

The report was released in anticipation of the government’s clean air strategy, which it must publish before the end of the month.

RHA director of policy Jack Semple agreed discussion of the issue is often London-centric, but for good reason.

He told Freight in the City: “The reason London has so much coverage is not just because it is the UK’s biggest city by far, but because its congestion costs have been rising calamitously.”

Semple added there should be “greater recognition that Euro-6 trucks perform to standard and that NOx emissions are plummeting as a result”.

Jonathan Spruce, head of policy and strategy at Transport for the North, said: “Transport for the North recognises that the current position, with all but two of the 11 UK air quality reporting zones in the North exceeding legal limits on NOx, needs addressing.”

DfT says electric and hydrogen trucks are the future

The DfT sees electric and hydrogen vehicles as the fuels of the future for the freight, and wants to work with industry to get it to “get this sector moving up to speed”.

Vicky Edmonds, deputy director for environmental strategy at DfT, said the department wasn’t clear on how it will make freight a zero emission industry, and asked whether more could be done in the short-term while it looks for the answers.

She asked: “Are we really at the limit of what we think industry can do when it comes to emissions behaviours and technologies, and how can we in government support that?”

“Long-term  we think the future is a mixture of electric batteries – battery technology is improving quite fast and we hope we could see 44-tonne trucks running on batteries. And hydrogen fuel cells, there’s a problem with supply but how can we handle that?”

She added that government wants to think more on dynamic charging on motorways.

“We’ve not really done much with it in the UK and I think we need to start thinking about our role in that.

“Are we going to have tram lines running along sections of motorways and city centres? Or are we going to have inductive loops under the road? Does industry think it’s a good idea or a bad idea?
“These are the conversations we’d really like to start having with you, about how we get this sector moving up to speed.”

One of the big obstacles to getting electric trucks on the road is the size of batteries vs the height and weight restrictions HGVs have to meet in the UK.

Edmonds told Freight in the City the DfT won’t change these to encourage electric vehicle design.

She said: “At the moment the discussions are the batteries would be enormous, and the idea is that technology and the development of batteries is going to improve so much that you won’t necessarily have that problem.

“So I think it’s about what the future looks like for the industry and how we get there, not to tackle an immediate hurdle.”

ClientEarth to take government to court over air quality plans for third time

ClientEarth will challenge the UK government in court for a third time next month following the release of its “incredibly inadequate” air quality plan.

Speaking at the LowCVP annual conference in London yesterday, ClientEarth chief executive James Thornton confirmed the next court case is scheduled for 5 July.

ClientEarth has defeated the government in two legal battles over its plans to tackle air pollution, and Thornton said the revised version the firm demanded after the most recent case still fell short of the mark.

He said: “As great as London is, it’s not yet a very good place to breathe, although the mayor is tackling that. The government could be taking care of it, but it isn’t.”

As an example of what ClientEarth sees as the latest plan’s failings, Thornton told delegates that the appendix of the document states the most effective method of tackling air pollution would be to remove diesel vehicles from city centres.

The main body of the document, however, “says under no circumstances may you restrict vehicles coming into London in this way. So we’re back in court on July 5th”.

Thornton added that even though it is illegal to use economics as a legal defence against improving air quality, the government’s own documentation proves how financially beneficial it would be to clean up the UK’s pollution.

He said: “When you ask the question ‘why is the government so neglectful’, the answer comes back, for economic reasons. Actually the law specifically prohibits economic answers because it’s a health case standard.

“But even according to the government’s own numbers, air pollution is costing our economy £27.5bn every year.

“Even the government’s new incredibly inadequate plan that we’re fighting in court, they say it will save the economy £555m over 10 years. There aren’t many opportunities to save your own economy £27.5bn a year.”

Deutsche Post DHL and Ford to build new electric vehicles

Deutsche Post DHL is joining forces with Ford to build electric vans for urban deliveries.

DHL subsidiary StreetScooter already builds its own small vans, but the new partnership with Ford will allow the business to up the size of its vehicles.

StreetScooter’s current models are the Work and the Work L. The new vehicle will be called the Work XL.

Built on a Ford Transit chassis, the Work XL (pictured) will have a body fitted to Deutsche Post and DHL Paket specifications.

Deutsche Post DHL was unable to confirm where the vehicles will operate, but confirmed production was due to begin next month at StreetScooter’s facility in Aachen, Germany.

The company told Freight in the City that the Work XL will work in “larger cities” and it is “also planning to use our StreetScooter cars in other European countries”.

The StreetScooter XL will weigh 4,250kg, compared to its predecessor’s 2,650kg.

The range of the current models is 80km, but Deutsche Post DHL said the range of the XL would depend on the battery, which will vary from 33 to 96 kWh.

It added there were no plans to build vehicles that were larger still.

Steven Armstrong, group vice president and president Europe, Middle East and Africa at the Ford Motor Company, said: “E-Mobility and innovative traffic solutions for urban areas are key focuses for us as we transform our business to meet future challenges.”

Jürgen Gerdes, member of the executive board of the Deutsche Post AG, added: “I consider this partnership another important boost for electro-mobility in Germany.

“This step emphasises that Deutsche Post is an innovation leader. It will relieve cities and increase the people’s quality of life. We will continue working on completely carbon neutral logistics.”

London’s Enviro Waste adds to Fuso Canter fleet

East London-based Enviro Waste has added three new trucks to its fleet of Fuso Canters, two years after it took delivery of its first 7.5-tonne model.

Enviro Waste took its first 7.5-tonne Canter two years ago, buying two more the following year.

In its newest hire agreement with Mercedes-Benz financial services, Enviro Waste added a fourth 7.5-tonner and two 3.5-tonne models to its fleet.

The new trucks are fitted with Freuhauf tipping box bodies, and the 7.5-tonne vehicle also has 500kg Dhollandia column lift.

Enviro Waste operations manager Mark Oates said it was the Fuso Canter’s dimensions and payload allowance that sealed the deal for the operator.

He said: “It’s a brilliant urban vehicle. We run an intensive operation up to six days per week, and make full use of the Canter’s carrying capacity.

“Its minimal footprint and cab-over-engine design mean the vehicle is also highly manoeuvrable and ideally suited to work in tight city streets.”

“No silver bullet” for alternative fuels, say truck manufacturers

London at dawn

Electric vehicles could be the future in European cities, although there is no “silver bullet” solution to alternative fuels, according to leading truck manufacturers.

Speaking to Freight in the City at the Microlise Transport Conference last month, MAN Truck and Bus UK MD Thomas Hemmerich said: “The politicians will set some new laws and regulations, and we will be pretty fast with the e-mobility” (fully electric vehicles).

“London is one example, in 2019/2020 we will have zero emissions in London, and other cities in Europe like Paris are heading the same way,” he added. “E-mobility is the future.”

But Martin Flach, product director at Iveco, argued the suitability of a diesel alternative rested on the type of vehicle and the job it’s required for.

He said: “On a daily basis, there is yet another anti-diesel argument from the media. So operators are now seriously looking into the alternatives.

“The two viable ones are electric vehicles on the smaller vehicles – and then on the medium, heavy and even light we use natural gas and biomethane to reduce CO2 and NOX and particulates.

“It depends on the vehicle and the job. So they will work but it’s not one size fits all.”

Scania (GB)’s aftersales director Mark Grant added with Euro-6 technology, there are parts of London where the air coming out of HGVs is cleaner than the air that went in.

He said: “We are being badly represented at the moment on the issue of diesel engines. The SMMT and other people need to start shouting about the good the transport industry does for vehicle emissions.

“There isn’t a genuine alternative to diesel at the moment, there’s lots of new technologies coming, but the you can’t just say diesel is bad.”

He added: “The technology takes years to build and we’re in the very early stages. So let’s not kill off the diesel vehicle yet. Let’s continue to work with newer technology to keep clean vehicles, and we will move to gas and electric and hybrid, but there isn’t a silver bullet.”