Hydrogen CVs can play a key role in London’s 2050 zero-carbon ambition, says TfL

ULMECO fuel cell for Nissan

Hydrogen-powered commercial vehicles could play a key role in London’s ambition to become a zero-carbon city by 2050, according to TfL.

Speaking at a recent LoCITY roadshow – developed to help freight operators learn more about hydrogen technology in vans and HGVs – TfL freight environment programme manager Fergus Worthy told delegates: “If you look at the mayor’s transport strategy that came out for consultation over the summer, you will see that the long-term vision for London is to be a zero-carbon city by 2050.

“To do that, we would need to have zero-emission transport across the capital by that date.”

He added: “From our understanding of technology on the market, or in development, there are really only two options that would be in scope on that date: battery electric vehicles and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.”

The electric vehicle market was now relatively mature, delegates heard, with the range of products on the market increasing, such as battery electric and range-extended vans and HGVs being developed and put into operation.

“We’re also starting to see the infrastructure to support those vehicles really standing up as well,” Worthy added.

Indeed, a LoCITY roadshow held earlier this year focused on the increasing number of vehicles available and under development for the road transport sector (such as the Fuso eCanter, pictured) as well as supporting charging points planned for the capital.

Regarding hydrogen, Worthy said the potential benefits were substantial: zero emissions at tailpipe; low well-to-wheel carbon emissions if produced in a sustainable way; long operational range; quick refuelling time; and the ability to help balance energy supply and demand in the system.

“But there are still some really big questions we need to answer,” he added.

“How will fuel cell technology work in heavy trucks? How can we make sure we get the right infrastructure in the right place in a space-constrained city? How can we make sure we can produce and maintain sufficient quantities of low carbon hydrogen to fuel these vehicles as well?”

LoCITY is therefore bringing together organisations in the hydrogen sector alongside the freight industry to collaborate, overcome these challenges and start to “shape what the future will look like”.

“And events like this are absolutely key to that process,” Worthy added.

Despite the long-term ambition for London’s transport parc to be fully zero emission, Worthy was keen to point out that other market-ready fuels – such as biomethane, renewable biodiesel and bioLPG- can all play an important role today thanks to their carbon-reduction and air quality benefits.

In September, LoCITY dedicated a workshop to highlighting the environmental and operational improvements that operators can find by adopting the latest generation of gas-powered vans and HGVs on their fleets.

Dft-supported real-world trials of gas-powered HGVs are also underway as part of the Low Emission Freight and Logistics Trial, with major operators such as Wincanton, John Lewis Partnership and Kuehne + Nagel taking part.

LoCITY will also be focusing on renewable biodiesel and drop-in fuels, as well as bring together key learnings from its previous electric, gas and hydrogen roadshows in a large-scale event, Fuels in Action, to be held on 20 March 2018 at Kempton Park race course in Sunbury-on-Thames.

It is free to attend, but you must register your interest to take part.

LoCITY is a five-year, industry-led programme to help the freight sector understand the capabilities of alternative fuels, break down barriers to wide-scale adoption, and help encourage manufacturers to bring more vehicles to market.

Hydrogen roadshow, hosted by LoCITY

More than 100 people took part in a hydrogen roadshow held on 23 November at CEME in Rainham, Essex.

The event, hosted by the industry-led LoCITY prgramme, aimed to help freight sector and local authority fleet managers understand how hydrogen might work to fuel their own commercial vehicles.

Delegates taking part in the event were given an overview of hydrogen as a fuel and how it has started to become more viable for commercial vehicles by Robert Evans, CEO at low-carbon centre of excellence Cenex.

He explored different ways of producing hydrogen, with methods using wind and wave power the preferred, more sustainable option, as well as helping to answer any safety concerns operators may have.

Evans also took a look at vehicles on the market today, as well as some exciting new R&D and on-road trials taking place globally to enable hydrogen to be used in the largest lorries.

For example, in the US, Toyota is working with authorities in California to test a fuel cell Class 8 truck for drayage work at ports, while Nikola Motor Company recently unveiled its fuel-cell-powered Nikola One concept with a claimed range of between 800 and 1,200km.

Hydrogen London helped delegates understand the capital’s commitment to supporting hydrogen  as a fuel and highlighted current and planned infrastructure in place, which can be viewed on LoCITY’s online alternative fuel refuelling map.

Grundonw Waste Management DAFPartnership manager at Hydrogen London, Matthew Dear, looked at some of the latest CVs on trial in the capital, such as the Ulemco dual-fuel refuse lorry in operation with Grundon Waste Management around the Heathrow area (pictured).

He is also keen to encourage new vehicles, such as a fuel-cell-powered refrigerated van unveiled last month by Symbio FCell in France, to hit the roads in London.

“This looks fantastic,” he said, “as it avoids the auxiliary power [for the refrigeration unit] using diesel. It would be great to see these operating in London in due course”.

The Greater London Authority will also lead by example on their own fleet, delegates learned. New cars and small vans would be zero emission capable by 2025, while heavier vehicles would be fossil free from 2030 and the entire fleet zero emission by 2050, as per London’s city-wide ambition.

Delegates were given the opportunity to head outside and explore the various hydrogen vehicles taking part on the day, which included the Ulemco dual-fuel bin lorry and a Renault Kangoo ZE-H2 supplied by Arcola Energy.

Other vehicles in development included a full conversion of a 3.5-tonne panel van with an optimised fuel cell range-extended electric drivetrain, which would be completed by summer 2018 and deliver a range of more than 200 miles and a 1,000kg payload.

Arcola Energy also planned to adapt the powertrain it is developing for a zero-emission double-decker bus in London with Alexander Dennis for use in a 7.5-tonne truck. This would likely be completed by 2019/2020.

Delegates also took part in a demonstration of how quick and easy it was to refuel a hydrogen vehicle at the pump located at CEME and installed by renewable hydrogen firm ITM Power, which is working to establish a network of refueling sites across the UK.

Slide presentations from all the experts taking part in the LoCITY hydrogen roadshow can be downloaded free of charge online.


Hauliers face £100 charge to enter central Leeds under clean air zone proposals

Leeds City Council has published its consultation plans for a category B clean air zone (CAZ) in the city centre, which will require HGVs to be Euro-6 to enter its central area or pay a £100 charge.

The CAZ will come into force in 2020 and will cover all roads within the Leeds outer ring road.

A charging scenario to mirror London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) has been suggested by the council, however it said further work will be carried out to decide on the exact charging regime for Leeds.

A category B zone affects buses, coaches, HGVs, taxis and private hire vehicles, but does not bring cars and vans into its scope.

Leeds council is one of 28 local authorities across the UK that has been identified by the government as needing to take measures to meet legal limits on air pollution.

A report with the council’s recommended proposals will be presented to the executive board on 13 December, outlining a consultation plan on a proposed charging CAZ covering all roads within the outer ring road, with the motorways acting as the southern boundary.

Leeds said its proposal needs to allow the city to achieve national compliance levels within the shortest possible timescale, whilst also considering the overall impact on the city including financial impacts, inequalities, and displacement of emissions to other areas.

The key areas that the council will be consulting on are;

  • A charging CAZ.
  • Raising the standard of taxi and private hire vehicles to ultra-low emission vehicles.
  • A number of clean air proposals that will complement the CAZ, such as business support packages and helping to raise awareness of air quality issues.
  • Exploration of support packages to provide financial assistance to switch to cleaner fleets.
  • Possibility of exemptions being awarded for specific classes of vehicle, or ‘sunset’ periods to provide additional time for certain vehicle users to upgrade if a robust case was made.


Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, Leeds City Council executive board member with responsibility for sustainability and the environment, said: “In Leeds ensuring that we improve air quality and therefore the lives of all the people living and working in the city is a real priority for us.

“To ensure we hit our air quality targets, we will need significant support from the government. A wide variety of actions will need to be taken, and for this we will need greater investment in alternative modes of transport and infrastructure to support the growth of alternative fuelled vehicles.”

The consultation period, which will run throughout January 2018, is to be used to further assess the barriers faced by drivers whose vehicles currently fail to meet compliance standards. The council will then present a case to the government on what extra support measures will be necessary.

Following the public consultation, a final report will be submitted to the government towards the end of  summer 2018 for them to sign off on the final proposal for Leeds.

Leeds has already implemented a number of initiatives to boost air quality in the city, including trials of new technology and the development of a new transport strategy.

These include switching its own fleet to ultra-low or zero-emission vehicles: currently the council has more than other local authority in England.

It is also developing compressed natural gas (CNG) infrastructure for the city to enable its own fleet of vehicles, including its RCVs, to switch to natural gas as well as enabling commercial fleet operators to benefit from using the site.

Leeds is also carrying out a geofencing trial as part of project ACCRA that will assess the operational ability of hybrid vehicles to automatically switch to zero emission mode when they are in an area of poor air quality.

In addition, it has secured £150,000 in partnership with clean cool technology firm Dearman to investigate the potential to reduce the impact of refrigerated transport on air quality in Leeds.

The transport refrigeration units used in such vehicles are usually diesel powered and are not subject to the same regulations as other vehicle engines. This project can demonstrate how NOx emitted from these units can be eradicated from the chilled goods supply chain.

In February this year, a Southampton City Council representative revealed hauliers may face charges of up to £200 when its own CAZ comes into force in 2019.

While in London, mayor Sadiq Khan recently opened a consultation into extending the capital’s own ULEZ across the whole of the city starting in 2020 for HGVs.



Freight in the City Expo 2017 video highlights now live!

Why not check out the video highlights from the third annual Freight in the City Expo, which took place at Alexandra Palace on 7 November.

More than 1,000 visitors headed to the iconic London venue to see the latest clean, safe and quiet vans and lorries deigned for urban operations.

To find out more about next year’s event, which will take place on 6 November in London, make sure you are signed up to our free, fortnightly newsletter.

Spark EV uses artificial intelligence to remove electric vehicle range anxiety for fleets

A new telematics system has been developed to boost fleet utilisation and remove range anxiety for transport managers running electric vehicles (EVs).

Spark EV uses artificial-intelligence-based journey prediction software, which it claims will enable electric vehicles to complete up to 20% more journeys between charges.

This equates to an extra 2.8 journeys per day for the average fleet, according to the Cambridge-based technology firm.

Combining sensors, cloud-based machine-learning and a smartphone app, Spark EV analyses live driver, vehicle and other data sources (such as the weather and congestion). An AI algorithm is then applied to increase the accuracy of journey predictions for EVs.

Using machine learning, Spark EV automatically updates predictions after each journey, continually improving efficiency.

Drivers and fleet managers enter their journey through the Spark EV app, website, or via their existing fleet management software. It then advises whether they will be able to complete it, based on live data, previous trips and chargepoint locations.

Spark EV says this reassures fleet managers and drivers that they will be able to schedule and complete jobs without running out of charge.

It also allows managers to add extra journeys or drop-offs to EV routes, based on their remaining capacity.

“Fleet managers understand that the future increasingly revolves around electric vehicles, due to new legislation coming into force around the world, a move away from diesel and rapid growth in EV sales,” said Justin Ott, CEO, Spark EV Technology.

“However, existing methods of predicting range between charges are not accurate enough for fleet use, leading to range anxiety and a consequent drop in productivity as managers cut back the number of journeys to avoid potentially running out of power.”

Ott believes that more accurate predictions will drive greater efficiencies for businesses, while enabling them to meet tightening emissions legislation.

Spark EV is paid for via monthly subscription and can be integrated with existing fleet management and scheduling systems, or used as a standalone option for smaller fleets.

The company said it is already receiving strong interest from Scandinavia, where EV penetration is currently ahead of the UK.


Strong freight sector support of LoCITY is helping deliver ‘significant benefits’


The scale of freight sector support for the industry-led LoCITY programme is a “real achievement”, according to a top TfL official.

LoCITY is a five-year programme that began in 2016, supported by TfL, to help the freight industry make the transition towards adopting more low-emission vans and HGVs on their fleets.

Speaking ahead of next week’s LoCITY Conference taking place at Freight in the City Expo in London where more than 1,400 delegates have already signed up to attend, TfL director of city planning Alex Williams, said: “It’s a real, real achievement: the scale of the network, the scale of involvement, the sharing of ideas and the desire to move to the next level of innovation and improvements to vehicle design and driver behaviour.

“This is fundamentally the most impressive part of the whole programme.”

At the LoCITY Conference, Williams will talk about TfL’s work in delivering the mayor’s draft transport strategy, alongside the roll-out of the capital’s Ultra Low Emission Zone in April 2019.

Fleet operators will also learn what new LoCITY tools are available to help them with their vehicle buying decisions and hear about R&D work taking place across the programme’s working groups.

“There are some excellent individual components to the programme, such as the vehicle finder tool or the LoCITY driving elements, but I think the thing that is so impressive is having so many people involved for the right reason: because they want to improve the way that freight operates in the city,” said Williams.

“We know that LoCITY is delivering significant benefits and it is key that we publicly celebrate the partnership and the programme’s successes. This is essential if we are to increase public awareness and communicate effectively with the industry.”

Microlise: ‘Big data can help freight sector boost road safety in urban areas’

The freight sector is on the verge of harnessing the power of big data to boost the safety and efficiency of their fleet movements in urban areas, according to telematics firm Microlise.

Speaking ahead of his appearance at next week’s Freight in the City Expo in London, Matthew Hague, executive director of product strategy, said: “We will see big data being used by transport service providers in our towns and cities within months, using it to improve the efficiency and safety of freight vehicle movements.”

He added: “Operators will gain the ability to accurately predict risk based on time of day and conditions, enabling street by street profiling.

“It will enable transport service providers to limit risk, thereby potentially reducing insurance costs and disruption to fleets and drivers.”

Microlise has been exploring the capabilities of using big data in fleet technology through a series of research projects over the past two years, supported by government funding.

The company already captures several billion miles worth of road data each year, however it said putting this vast amount of information to good use can be the challenging part.

“How to glean useful information from an ocean of data is a challenge, but new technologies and techniques are enabling us to scale up and process large data sets in a quick and agile way,” said Hague.

One of Microlise’s Innovate UK-funded projects, in partnership with the University of Nottingham, was to achieve customer and market value from high volumes of complex data generated through real-time telematics.

This has now been completed and Microlise said it will soon be in a position to incorporate this research into new products designed for the freight sector.

Freight industry recognised for commitment to quiet deliveries at John Connell Awards

The freight industry was recognised for its commitment to reducing noise pollution during the 16th annual John Connell Awards in London this week.

Dubbed the ‘noise Oscars’, the awards champion advances in reducing the negative impact of unnecessary noise on the general public.

Winner of the John Connell Quiet Logistics Award was a partnership between forklift manufacturer Hiab and retailer Pets at Home.

Deliveries to Pets at Home’s 1,400 UK stores in the evening and at night were generating complaints from residents, mostly concerning noise emitted from diesel-powered forklift trucks.

To continue its efficient out-of-hours delivery movements, Pets at Home had to find a solution that came in the form of Hiab’s first all-electric truck-mounted forklift with a lift capacity of 2,000kg, which was completely silent.

Gloria Elliott, Noise Abatement Society chief executive, said:”‘NAS applauds Hiab and Pets at Home’s investment in quiet delivery technology which will benefit residents and colleagues alike.”

Highly commended in the same category was Whitbread, which owns popular food and hotel outlets such as Costa Coffee and Premier Inn.

Whitbread was recognised for its high standard of quiet delivery and servicing operations, which had brought efficiency gains into the business from responsible retiming.

Elliott said: “Whitbread is to be congratulated as a great example of showing care to the communities in which it operates by exercising quiet policies and investing in low-noise technology.”

Scooping the Innovation Award was Brigade Electronics for its work on developing a ‘Quiet Vehicle Sounder’ to put the noise back into near-silent electric vehicles to enable them to be heard by pedestrians and cyclists when in close proximity.

The noise reacts to the ambient background, is not invasive, and dissipates quickly.

Also Highly Commended for innovation was Aecom for working closely with TfL to create a visual matrix of ‘Quiet equipment and vehicles: making the right choice’, using case studies to demonstrate their benefits.

The matrix is now published on the FORS website to help operators stay well informed about the positive benefits of quiet technologies in their supply chains.

Highly commended in the Soundscape Award was operator Martin Brower.

An early adopter of quiet technology and staff training in its delivery to McDonald’s restaurants, the operator was commended for its understanding of the “holistic spirit of soundscape principles” shown through a variety of sustained best practices to enable efficient servicing without causing noise disturbance.



Innovate UK: ‘Embracing new technology helps freight operators stay competitive’

Freight operators must keep pace with emerging technology to remain competitive, according to the newly appointed ultra-low-emission vehicle lead at Innovate UK.

Speaking to Freightinthecity.com, Venn Chesterton said the growing number of competing demands on the freight sector – such as CO2 reduction, air quality regulations and on-demand deliveries – mean operators need to innovate to remain viable.

“You simply cannot be the operator you were a few years ago and survive in this market,” he added. “Operators are now looking for things to help differentiate themselves from their competitors.”

Chesterton was appointed to Innovate UK – the government’s innovation agency – in October to help support the UK automotive industry’s transition towards ultra-low-emission vehicles.

“There are so many drivers out there pushing people towards an ultra low-emission vehicle,” he said.

“Whether it’s cities or countries putting in plans to ban the sale of diesel vehicles, or to charge significant amounts to enter a city, it’s all coming forward.”

Ultra-low-emission passenger cars have already started to see market penetration, and Chesterton believes a similar pattern is now emerging for the freight industry.

“The technology is rising and is finding its way into the freight sector,” he said.

“There are some real, genuine alternatives to the ICE available right now, as well as a lot of R&D happening from a technology point of view: for example, batteries have become more energy dense and gas engines are able to run at a higher torque.”

However, such technology is more challenging to develop for the freight sector due to the complex specification of many commercial vehicles designed for specific job functions.

Chesterton will be talking about the UK’s leading automotive R&D work at Freight in the City Expo on 7 November in London, a conference and exhibition dedicated to sustainable urban deliveries (pictured).

He said: “Over the past three years, Freight in the City Expo has really established itself as an important event for the industry.

“Operators want to differentiate  themselves from their competitors and events like this give people the opportunity to keep pace with industry.”

Calor to unveil a world first for electric truck market at Freight in the City Expo

Calor Gas will be unveiling the world’s first liquid petroleum gas (LPG) range extender for an electric, rigid cylinder truck at this year’s Freight in the City Expo.

The new truck, built in partnership with Dutch electric vehicle manufacturer Emoss, has been developed in response to the government’s air quality and emissions-reduction strategies.

It uses LPG to drive the vehicle’s electric generator, which charges the battery supplying the motor with electricity.

Calor, a major UK  supplier of LPG and LNG to the transport industry, believes that as proposals for clean air zones and zero-emission zones gather momentum, vehicle OEMs will look to use range-extending technology to make electric trucks viable for fleet operators.

Compliant with the latest emission requirements, Calor said its LPG range extender will deliver lower carbon emissions than petrol and provide the capability to increase a vehicle’s battery-only range up to 250 miles.

The technology also offers the opportunity for geofencing to cut emissions to zero when operating in city centres.

Calor added that BioLPG, which is due to be available in early 2018, offers “even more significant environmental benefits over existing range-extension technologies, such as diesel and petrol”.

Chemically identical to conventional LPG, but created from renewable, ethically sourced feedstocks, BioLPG will play an important role in improving the LPG range extender’s environmental credentials further still in the future.

Paul Blacklock, head of strategy and corporate affairs at Calor, said: “As the UK government continues to put pressure on the transport industry to find cleaner ways of operating, the new LPG range extender with EMOSS presents an exciting opportunity for rigid trucks.

“With trucks fitted with LPG range extenders able to switch entirely to electric when operating in city centres or air quality zones, while already offering improved emission performance when compared with conventional fuels, we are excited to announce this ground-breaking transport innovation.”

Those attending Freight in the City can find out more about the technology on Calor (SO1) and EMOSS’ (V39) stands at the event.

  • Freight in the City, which this year also features the annual LoCITY conference, takes place on 7 November at Alexandra Palace. It is free to attend and features a full day’s seminar programme and a large exhibition of the latest urban trucks, vans and technology. Register today!



LoCITY conference a key event for operators delivering into London

Operators delivering into London will find the LoCITY conference at this year’s Freight in the City Expo essential to attend.

You will be able to hear first-hand from TfL’s director of city planning Alex Williams (below) on what the capital’s Ultra Low Emission Zone will mean for your operation, as well as learn more about the Mayor’s Draft Transport Strategy.

You’ll also be able to find out about the latest tools and guidance documents developed to help fleets make informed buying choices, as well as hear about some exciting new research focused on alternative fuels for refuse vehicles.

LoCITY will be inviting representatives along from other major UK cities to discuss their own plans for improving air quality and encouraging uptake of cleaner freight vehicles.

While over on the LoCITY stand in the exhibition hall, you can speak to the team directly to ask any questions you might have about the latest ultra-low-emission vehicle technology and pending air quality legislation.

You’ll also be able to check out an exciting new electric RCV developed for the City of London, and a fully electric Nissan eNV200Maxi van from Voltia, which is making its UK debut.

Speakers in the session include: Alex Williams (as above); Denise Beedell, development manager, Federation of Small Businesses and LoCITY champion; Carl Beet, transport strategy manager, Transport for West Midlands; Andrew Benfield, group director of transport, Energy Savings Trust.

Freight in the City Expo takes place on 7 November at Alexandra Palace, London.LoCITY

It is free to attend and features a full-day’s seminar programme alongside an extensive exhibition of the latest urban delivery vehicles.

Find out more about the event and register for free today!