First vehicles now ready for £20m Low Emission Freight and Logistics Trial

Vehicles taking part in the first two projects from the government’s £20m Low Emission Freight and Logistic Trial  are now ready to hit the roads.

In January this year, funding was announced for 20 firms that came up with innovate ways to deploy more low- and zero-emission freight vehicles in UK fleets.

The first two projects – the Dedicated to Gas trial and the KERS-Urban Consortium – are now ready to roll, with the rest of the schemes to be in operation by mid-2018.

In total, more than 300 low-emission vehicles will be taking part.

Led by Air Liquide, the Dedicated to Gas trial will see large fleet operators including Kuehne + Nagel, Wincanton, Asda, Brit European, Howard Tenens and Great Bear trial the effectiveness of 81 dedicated gas-powered HGVs new to the UK market as well as five new cryogenic transport refrigeration units.

The KERS-Urban consortium will trial a new hybrid kinetic energy recovery system on 20 HGVs operated by Howdens Joinery Group and Sainsbury’s Supermarkets, including both rigid and articulated HGVs.

Supplied by Alternatech, the hybrid KERS technology (pictured) will recover energy during braking and then use the energy during acceleration, which will reduce fuel consumption and emissions, particularly in city environments.

Simon Edmonds, manufacturing and materials director at Innovate UK, said: “It is excellent news that the first two projects of this pioneering trial are now roadworthy.

“The data from these trials will be invaluable to future development and commercialisation of these low carbon technologies for low-emission freight and fleet vehicles.”

Alongside the competition, TRL have been appointed to evaluate performance of the trials and capture data on the emissions savings produced, with results to appear on a dedicated website.

John Rogerson, fleet operations manager, Asda, said: “We are excited to work with Air Liquide and our other project partners to hopefully demonstrate the impact low-emissions HGV technology can have on the entire industry, while infusing the latest technology into our fleet and reducing our overall carbon footprint.”

Charlie Nissen, national transport manager of Howdens Joinery Group, said: “The trailer KERS innovation allows us to be involved in the forefront of a technology that could have the potential to reduce carbon emissions from HGVs, not just within Howdens, but across the industry.”



‘Noise Oscars’ looking for freight sector best practice in quiet deliveries

This year’s ‘Noise Oscars’ are open for entry and looking for organisations, projects and technology that can demonstrate proven steps in reducing noise pollution.

Organised by the Noise Abatement Society (NAS), the John Connell Awards will take place on 31 October at the Palace of Westminster.

The NAS works closely with local authorities and the freight sector to encourage quieter working based on low-noise vehicles and best-practice methods that enable anytime deliveries without noise disturbance.

Last year’s winners include TfL’s Retiming Deliveries Consortium, created in 2013 to encourage retiming without noise disturbance through guidance tools, engagement and collaboration, and food chain Pret A Manger for its commitment to quiet delivery technology on its fleet.

Now in their 16th year, the John Connell Awards have three categories relevant to those in the road transport sector:

  • The Silent Approach Award recognises advances in industry awareness and best practice to reduce noise from operations and logistics. This award is for organisations that have developed proven noise-reduction programmes, whether through the adoption of quiet(er) transport modes, low-noise ancillary-equipment, staff training or other pro-active noise-awareness initiatives.
  • The Enterprise in Quiet Logistics Award recognises advances in low-noise technology, equipment and operations to facilitate safe, quiet(er) and efficient urban distribution services. This award is for operators, vehicle manufacturers, trailer-makers, bodybuilders and ancillary equipment suppliers who’ve created quiet(er)/low-noise products, services and programmes with reduced noise impact.
  • The Innovation Award recognises original thinking to successfully resolve a particularly challenging commercial noise issue. This award is for organisations including those distribution companies, logistics providers, retailers, local authorities and other key community-stakeholders who have successfully
    tackled noise disturbance through proactive noise reduction programmes, technology and design.

The awards are free to enter, with full submission criteria available online. Deadline for entries is Friday 22 September.



TfL confirms strong compliance with London Safer Lorry Scheme

TfL figures obtained by Freightinthecity show that compliance with the London Safer Lorry Scheme (SLS) have remained consistently high since its launch in autumn 2015.

In the period where data is available – from September 2015 to March 2017 – out of 25,325 HGVs stopped, only 2.1% (531) were found to be in breach of the SLS requirements.

The SLS requires all vehicles over 3.5 tonnes to be fitted with sideguards and close-proximity mirrors (Class V and Class IV) in a bid to improve the safety of cyclists and pedestrians on the capital’s busy roads.

It operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, across the entire London Low Emission Zone and is enforced by the police, the DVSA and the Industrial HGV Taskforce through intelligence-led, predominantly targeted checks.

Those operators found flouting the rules face £50 fixed penalties or up to £1,000 at a magistrates’ court. They will also be flagged up to their regional traffic commissioner for investigation.

Steve Burton, director of enforcement and on-street operations at TfL, said: “We worked closely with the freight industry before we launched the Safer Lorry Scheme and as a result the vast majority of operators made sure they complied before it began.

“We will continue to use our targeted enforcement approach against the industry’s irresponsible minority to reduce road danger on London’s roads for all.”

In March last year, the government’s Transport Committee recommended that the impact of the SLS was explored with a view to rolling such a scheme out across the whole of the UK.

The industry is also awaiting a decision from TfL’s consultation into the introduction of a Direct Vision Standard in the capital, which would rate lorries from zero to five on the basis of how much a driver can see from their cab.

Zero-rate trucks are expected to be banned from London by 2020.

LoCity invites freight operators to a free roadshow on gas-powered CVs

Operators considering using gas-powered vans or HGVs can find out all they need to know at the latest LoCity roadshow taking place on Thursday 21 September at Twickenham Stoop Stadium.

Free to attend, the roadshow is the second in a series of four events created for the freight industry to help operators understand how alternative fuels could be a viable choice today for their fleets.

It follows a successful event last month on electric commercial vehicles.

The gas roadshow will bring together operators of gas CVs, infrastructure providers and technology experts to provide practical advice on gas as an alternative to diesel.

Delegates will explore a line-up of the latest gas-powered vehicles on the market and be able to interact directly with manufacturers at the event.

Demand for the roadshows has been very high, so please do register your interest today if you would be interested in securing a place at

LoCity is a an industry-led programme, supported by TfL, to help the freight sector make the switch to alternative fuels ahead of the capital’s pending Ultra Low Emission Zone rollout in 2020.

Major hauliers to trial gas-powered HGVs in UK’s largest biomethane fuel trial

Six major hauliers will be testing the performance of 81 dedicated gas-powered HGVs in the UK’s largest-ever trial of biomethane-fuelled trucks.

The project forms part of the government’s £20m Low Emission Freight and Logistics Trial launched in January, which aims to demonstrate cleaner HGV technology emerging in the UK market.

A consortium, led by industrial gas supplier Air Liquide, includes operators Kuehne + Nagel, Asda, Wincanton, Brit European, Howard Tenens and Great Bear.

They will trial five trucks, in 10 different vehicle configurations, ranging from 12 to 44 tonnes to gather data on performance, fuel efficiency, reliability and cost.

The consortium will also test the effectiveness of a new cryogenic trailer refrigeration technology: a liquid nitrogen cooling system aims to reduce the energy demands of refrigeration units, further reducing HGVs’ CO2 and air quality emissions.

Steve Carroll, head of transport at Cenex, which will manage data analysis and update results to a dedicated gas vehicle hub website,  said: “Cenex has a long history of supporting natural gas and biomethane use in the transport sector, and we are excited to be part of such an innovative trial demonstrating and assessing the performance of the latest advancements.”

Daniel Lambert, commercial director, at Air Liquide Advanced Business & Technologies UK, said: “OEMs are working hard to bring promising zero-emission technologies to the trucks they design, but without real-life road testing by big fleet customers, these technologies will not be able to impact CO2 emissions in a big way.

“We look forward to leading this innovative trial, and sharing the results with other HGV fleet operators across Europe and the globe.”

Scherm Group’s 65-tonne all-electric truck delivers significant C02 savings

Terberg Electric 65-tonne GCW truck

The use of a 65-tonne, all-electric truck to make local deliveries to and from a BMW plant in Munich has removed 22 tonnes of CO2 from the route since its introduction in 2015.

Scherm Group has been using the fully electric Terberg YT202-EV terminal tractor to transport materials to its local BMW plant 3km away in a two-shift operation, eight times per day, five days a week.

Since 2015, the truck has completed 3,000 trips totalling 17,000km and has helped Scherm save 8,000 litres of diesel and 22 tonnes of CO2.

“We are really satisfied with the e-truck,” said Ulf Frenzel, fleet manager for Scherm Group. “We wanted to prove that electric mobility also works in freight transport, and we achieved our goal.”

The fully-electric tractor is equipped with a three-phase synchronous motor (614V) with a maximum power rating of 188hp and a fully automatic Allison 3000 Series transmission.

Allison said its automatic transmission is the key to the driveline: the truck has to launch with a gross combination weight of up to 65 tonnes and achieve maximum speed as quickly as possible to meet the tight delivery schedule.

This is made possible by the transmission’s torque converter that multiples engine torque during start-up and acceleration.

“The electric truck has proved itself in city distribution and the just-in-time delivery for BMW is working fluently,” said Frenzel.

“The Allison transmission makes it possible to specifically use the power of the electric motor in the best manner. And the e-truck can be maneuvered easily and is extremely easy to drive.”

A second BMW supplier – Elflein Spedition & Transport – begun operating a similar electric truck in November last year. It is expected to save 21 tonnes of carbon dioxide each year.


Daimler starts European small series production of 7.5-tonne all-electric truck

Daimler has begun small series production of its all-electric, light-duty Fuso eCanter truck for the European and US markets.

The electric trucks will be built at the group’s production plant in Tramagal, Portugal, with the first vehicles being handed over to customers this autumn.

Marc Llistosella, president and CEO of Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation and head of Daimler Trucks Asia, said: “With the start of the production of the eCanter, we become the first global manufacturer to produce an all-electric truck in series.

“From now on we can address the growing demand for locally emission-free delivery trucks in mega-cities.”

He added: “We already received the first customer orders and will mark the global launch of this truck in one of the most iconic mega-cities, New York, this September.”

Daimler said the 7.5-tonne eCanter provides an answer to the need for a zero-emission and zero-noise truck for urban operation.

It has a range of 100km and a payload up to 4.5 tonnes depending on body type and usage. The vehicle’s electric powertrain contains six high-voltage lithium ion battery packs with 420V and 13.8 kWh each.

The European production line follows in the footsteps of the Kawasaki plant in Japan, which started building trucks earlier this month (7 July).

Seven-Eleven Company will be the first commercial operator in Japan, with 25 units in the fleet by the end of the year.

At last month’s Frevue conference it was claimed that switching to electric freight vehicles in London could deliver significant cost-savings for operators.

DfT proposes extra weight for clean van technology in driving licence reform

Drivers would be permitted to operate heavier, low-emission vans on a standard category B (car) driving licence under new DfT proposals.

The plans have been developed to encourage adoption of non-diesel vans by operators as part of the government’s drive to improve air quality in urban areas.

Currently, a motorist with an ordinary category B licence for a car can drive a van weighing up to 3,500kg.

However alternative fuel technology, especially making use of battery technology, is generally heavier than conventional diesel systems.

This reduces the amount of goods vehicles can carry or means van drivers have to apply for a category C licence with the associated costs and medical report requirements.

In a consultation launched today, the DfT wants to allow motorists to drive vans weighing up to 4,250kg if they are powered by electricity, natural gas, LPG or hydrogen.

It says this will help level the playing field by addressing the payload penalty that currently puts operators of cleaner vans at a commercial disadvantage compared to conventional vehicles.

Transport minister Jesse Norman said: “Vans have become essential to our economy and are vital for our builders, small businesses and delivery drivers.

“We have more of them on our roads than ever before. That’s a good sign for the economy, but our challenge is to try to tackle their impact on air quality.

“We want to make it easier for businesses to opt for cleaner vehicles, and these proposals are designed to do just that.”

Road traffic estimates show there has been a rapid rise in light goods vehicle traffic over the last 20 years.

In 2016, vans clocked up 49.1 billion vehicle miles – an increase of 23% when compared with 2006.

Ocado head of fleet Stuart Skingsley said: “At Ocado, we are very keen to incorporate the latest low-emission technologies in our vehicle fleet, but we have been unable to do so, due to the extra weight of the technology and category B licence restrictions.

“This vital derogation would allow us to field the latest alternatively fuelled vans, reducing harmful emissions and improving the UK’s air quality,” he added.

The consultation will run until 18 October.


O’Donovan Waste Disposal opts for LoCity Driving course to reduce emissions

O’Donovan Waste Disposal is to put its 90-strong driver workforce through a LoCity Driving training scheme designed to reduce the environmental impact of commercial vehicles.

The DVSA-approved course focuses on reducing the emissions of vans and HGVs through the use of pre-journey planning and vehicle checks, fuel-efficient driving, and alternative fuels.

It has been developed by LoCity, Fors and TfL and can contribute towards a driver’s mandatory 35 hours of periodic training required for their Driver CPC.

Two LoCity e-learning modules are also available to help drivers and transport managers:

  • ‘Time to clean up’ provides drivers with more information about fuel-efficient driving techniques and other strategies to help reduce costs and emissions.
  • ‘Time to look ahead’ is aimed at transport managers who can learn about the benefits and drawbacks of a range of alternatively-fuelled vehicles.

O’Donovan Waste Disposal will deliver the training in-house through a workshop at its Tottenham-based HQ run by MD Jacqueline O’Donovan (pictured below at last year’s Freight in the City Expo), who is herself a certified trainer.

“O’Donovan prides itself on setting industry benchmarks with regards to its training and compliance,” she said, “and as such this course not only benefits the O’Donovan drivers, but will also reduce the impact of our commercial vehicles on the environment by sharing techniques and best practice with the drivers attending.”

LoCity freight and fleet programme manager Fergus Worthy added: “LoCity Driving is a cost-effective training solution for van and HGV drivers. I’m delighted that O’Donovan has chosen to implement LoCity Driving to help reduce fuel use and emissions.”

LoCity roadshow helps operators switch on to electric commercial vehicles

Enabling freight operators to unlock the potential of electric vehicles (EVs) in their fleets was the focus of a recent LoCity roadshow held in East London.

The event was the first in a series of four alternative-fuel workshops provided by TfL to support its industry-led LoCity programme.

LoCity was launched last year to help the freight sector prepare for the capital’s Ultra Low Emission Zone 
in 2020.

Delegates at the roadshow heard from London-based operators at Hackney Council, Clear Channel and Heathrow Airport about their real-life experiences and learning curves in running EVs.

Useful tips shared included:
■ Range – it is essential to make sure you pick the right routes for the vehicles: relatively predictable, low average speed and returning to base at night. Also take into account weather conditions.
■ Maintenance – savvy operators can drive down third-party maintenance costs, because much less routine servicing is needed compared with ICE counterparts.
■ Silent technology – drivers love the quiet running of the vehicles and experience less fatigue. However, it is important to factor in additional safety measures for pedestrians who might not hear them approaching.

Understanding the charging and power requirements was also a key focus of the day, as this is often cited as one of the main challenges facing operators considering switching to EVs.

UK Power Networks helped operators understand the steps they might need to take if looking to install recharging points at their sites and used the event to  launch a guide about the options available when connecting to the electricity network.

They explained that requirements would vary depending on factors such as whether an operator is thinking about charging a single vehicle overnight, multiple vehicles, or requires rapid charging facilities on site.

TfL principal strategy planner Judith Hayton, meanwhile, explained the work taking place in London to significantly increase the capital’s public charging network, with at least 300 rapid charging points in place by 2020.

A range of 10 electric freight vehicles were exhibited on the day – from small utility trucks supplied by Bradshaw Electric Vehicles through to a converted tractor unit with an Emoss all-electric driveline and 2.5-litre LPG gas range extender – and everything in between.

Operators were encouraged to talk to all the manufacturers and suppliers about the best electric models for their own fleet requirements and learn all they could about range, maintenance and running costs.

Headline sponsor Mercedes-Benz Trucks shared its commitment to electrification across all vehicle ranges and confirmed that by 2025, a quarter of all vehicles in the Daimler group would be electric.

Its 7.5-tonne all-electric eCanter will be operating with customers in London from September, with series production to start in 2019. “We see this being one of the mainstays of our business going forward”, said national key account manager Paul Robertson.

Fergus Worthy (pictured), freight and fleet programme project manager at TfL, said: “The first LoCity Roadshow was a great success, bringing together fleets, electric vehicle manufacturers and suppliers, and infrastructure providers.

“The London mayor wants to work towards a zero-carbon city, so transport managers should start thinking about the implications of operating EVs.”

He added that through the series of roadshows, as well as training, online tools and case studies, “LoCity is helping fleets make informed decisions about their vehicle choice”.

If you are interested in finding out more about the use of EVs in you fleet, why not get in touch with LoCity to find out about any trials, cost analysis and technical guidance you might require:

The next LoCity roadshow taking place will focus on gas-powered CVs and will be held on 21 September at the Twickenham Stoop Stadium. To register your interest to attend, please email: