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.

Ultra Low Emission Zone set to go live across London from October 2020 for HGVs

The London Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) is likely to apply to HGVs operating across the capital from 26 October 2020, TfL has confirmed.

Launching a consultation on plans to extend the ULEZ across greater London, following its commencement in the centre of the city in 2019, mayor Sadiq Khan called on Londoners to let him know what they think of his plans “to clean up our lethal air”.

“I am determined to take the bold action needed to protect the public from London’s poisonous, deadly air. I can’t ignore the shameful fact that London’s air is so toxic it harms children’s lungs, exacerbates chronic illness and contributes to thousands of premature deaths each year.

“Following the successful introduction of the T-Charge, and confirmation of the central London ULEZ, I am moving ahead with the next stage of my plan to expand the Ultra Low Emission Zone up to the busy north and south circular roads,” he said.

Trucks that do not meet the Euro-6 emissions standards by these dates will pay a £100 daily penalty for coming into London.

Khan told a committee of MPs last week that the T-Charge was a loss leader for TfL but essential in changing attitudes.


T-Charge is a loss maker but vital ahead of the ULEZ, says mayor

London mayor Sadiq Khan told MPs last week that the T-Charge introduced in October was a loss maker for TfL but is important in changing behaviour and a precursor to the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ).

“Half of the bad-quaity air in London comes from transport, and 88% of that comes from diesel. Roughly speaking, 34,000 vehicles a month would be caught by the T-Charge. Not all of them are coming to London every day and paying the additional fee, which is good – we are not trying to make money; we are trying to change behaviour.

“The ULEZ will initially cost us. Over a period of time it will bring in revenues, but we will ring fence that money for clean air. We will not divert that money anywhere else,” Khan told members of the Air Quality Inquiry.

Khan also claimed businesses were broadly supportive of the earlier ULEZ start date, which had been consulted on extensively and had come forward by 17 months, despite concerns raised by the RHA and FTA.

He added that TfL would consult on extending the zone to all of London for HGVs shortly.

The RHA previously stated that the early launch date for the ULEZ is a “means of quickly bringing in revenue to cover the mayor’s other plans for the city”.

Chief executive Richard Burnett also warned that half the UK HGV fleet may not be Euro-6-compliant by the time it comes in.

While Khan did not speak about HGVs, he conceded that there will be an impact on vans, something the FTA had warned about.

He told MPs the first stage of the ULEZ would likely affect 70,000 vans that are not Euro-6 compliant, “which is why I’ve been lobbying government for a diesel scrappage scheme”, he added.

Khan said a targeted scheme to help poorer residents and smaller business would cost the government £500m over two years.

“This means that businesses could get the assistance they need to move away from the most polluting vehicles,” he said.

£220m Clean Air Fund to help local authorities tackle air pollution

A new Clean Air Fund will give financial support to local authorities attempting to address air pollution in their areas.

The £220m fund, announced by Philip Hammond in the Autumn Budget, will be paid for by higher Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) on diesel cars bought after 1 April 2018.

Hammond emphasised that that the VED rise would not apply to or affect van drivers.

A consultation into what the fund could support has been launched in conjunction with Hammond’s Budget statement.

He said: “The tax system can play an important role in protecting our environment.

“We owe it to our children that the air they breathe is clean.”

The Autumn Budget also announced a new study on the future of freight infrastructure in the UK, to be published in Spring 2019.

The NIC’s study will look at urban congestion and decarbonisation, as well as how freight can harness new technologies such as platooning.

A Transforming Cities fund for the Northern Powerhouse also played a part in Hammond’s Budget, which will focus on improving transport in UK cities

The £1.7bn from the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund will target productivity-driving projects that improve connectivity and reducing congestion in the cities.

Half of the money will be distributed among the combined authorities with metro mayors, which were elected earlier this year.

The West Midlands will receive the largest chunk of this with £250m. Greater Manchester will get £243m; £134m will go to Liverpool; £80m for the West of England; £74m for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough and £59m for Tees Valley.

The other half of the Transforming Cities fund will be distributed through competition for project funding.


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.


Go-Ahead in talks with logistics sector for London buses to carry freight

London buses could be used to transport goods and parcels after the capital’s largest bus operator confirmed it was discussing the idea with logistics firms.

Go-Ahead, which has been running buses in London for more than 20 years and provides almost a quarter of all services on behalf of TfL, said its plan could tackle congestion in the face of falling passenger numbers.

A spokeswoman for the bus group said: “Go-Ahead is always looking at ways to maximise its assets and build new partnerships, including with logistics providers. Using our vehicles and depots to reduce congestion helps both our passengers and other road users.”

FTA head of policy for London, Natalie Chapman, said there was no single solution to improving efficiency in last-mile logistics: “We would always welcome innovative new ways to move goods around the capital as efficiently as possible,” she said.

“What we need to understand is if the business case stacks up and if there’s any commercial viability in it. It might be that it would work, but it might be a fairly niche area, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be tried out.”


New Arrival in commercial vehicle sector plans to electrify the market

Arrival remains bullish about the prospects of its electric-powered light commercial vehicle, and the disruptive impact its technology-led approach will have in the broader market.

Aiming a shot at its larger, conventional rivals, Matt Key, chief of business development at the Banbury-based start up, said: “The world we live in, especially within the commercial vehicle sector, is behind what’s technically possible.”

“Overpricing is what makes electric vehicles niche. Manufacturers claim there’s no demand for them. But operators are interested until they find out how expensive they are compared with conventional designs,” he told delegates at yesterday’s (8 November) Freight in the City Expo.

Arrival, previously Charge Automotive, made headlines earlier this year when it revealed Royal Mail was conducting a long term trial of nine of its T4 [a working title], which is described as a 4.25 tonne all-electric autonomous-ready truck.

“Electric trucks should be simpler than conventional powered vehicles,” said Key, making the point that there are examples of fully electric vehicles from more than 100 years ago in automotive museums, so the concept is far from new.

“Retrofitting conventional vehicles is where it gets expensive. If you build from the bottom up as we have done – the Lego block approach if you will – you end up with something simpler.

“We are also trying to do more in software rather than hardware, which is typically heavier,” he said.

“Ultimately, we approach our truck as a device. Think of our four-tonne truck as a big phone on wheels.”

Arrival plans to put its 4-tonne vehicle into full production at the end of the year and already has designs for a 7.5-tonner.

Key claimed that the company would be able to deliver it at broadly the same price of a conventional vehicle with similar payload.

We believe it’ll be priced at £35,000, which will include the battery. This is without factoring in any available government subsidy,” said Key.

The T4 is claimed to have a range approaching 200km and can take a full charge in an hour with 100% more payload and 50% more volume than a conventional equivelent.

However, Key said: “This is a very specific vehicles for inner city deliveries.”

Arrival has designed its vehicles with shared components. Key likened the approach to a plug and play PC, which is easily upgradable.

It is using the technology to develop other variants such as a small bus, as well as a taxi and an electric-assisted bike that could be used for delivering post or pizza.



Big data will improve urban deliveries, says Microlise

Big data can improve driver and operational safety, Microlise told delegates at Freight in the City 2017, after a trial with Innovate UK captured seven billion truck miles of information.

Matt Hague, executive director – product strategy, at Microlise, said: “There is a lot of technology on the vehicle now that can help you manage risk. That’s everything from tracking, to cameras, and increasingly artificial intelligence. There is a lot of information out there to help you manage risk and manage your fleet more safely.”

Microlise has been working with Innovate UK, generating seven billion miles of truck data from throughout the UK – and has been merging it with external data sources, such as weather, traffic, and mapping.

Hague said that with the data pool growing all of the time, the information generated in the trial would allow local authorities to map to start making some planning decisions – as well as allowing operators to make smart decisions about deliveries.

“Using all of that data [HGV drivers] are generating, you can automatically understand how risky that route is. Then you make the decision on who is driving that route, a subbie or a member of staff, or do you de-route?

“It’s also about giving the driver real-time feedback when you approach those hazards – low bridges, areas where there have been cycle accidents.. but also areas of speeding, or harsh braking zones. Then you can figure out your hot-spots,” he said.

Hague said that utilising big data as part of the driving experience, warning drivers of potential hazards ahead, the plan is not to overwhelm the driver with data, but “give the driver a warning that they are about to hit a bridge – or warn them of impending risk”.

“The other reason we did this is that autonomous vehicles are going to happen. Lots of questions around that: Can our infrastructure support it? Is it safe? When the vehicle supports more and more what the driver is doing, the amount of data can only grow and grow,” he said.

“This project was about strategic planning, tactical planning and giving that information in real-time, at the right level.”