New air quality measures could cost UK diesel drivers £20 a day

Diesel vehicle users could be charged up to £20 a day in towns and cities across the UK under new air quality measures expected to be introduced later this week.

Environment secretary Andrea Leadsom is expected to announce the rules, which are believed to include 35 towns and cities.

According to the Sunday Times, the 10 worst-affected cities could see diesel vehicle bans, including private cars and vans, in peak times and/or daily charges for entering the areas.

In the remaining locations it is believed HGVs and coaches will be the main focus of the rule changes.

Local authorities will be expected to implement and regulate the new Defra rules.

A source at Whitehall told The Sunday Times: “There will be different ways of proceeding for different authorities. This is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Some need a tweak, some need more rigid plans.”

In London, Sadiq Khan is expected to officially announce this week that in addition to the new T Charge taking effect in October, the most polluting vehicles will need to pay a daily charge of £12.50 to enter Greater London as of 2019.

Dover MP Charlie Elphicke said it was “wrong to demonise diesel drivers”.

He added: “Many drivers feel they were encouraged to buy diesel by the last Labour government. Punishing them with extra taxes is deeply unfair.”

Dearman takes zero-emission engine to Germany

UK clean, cool technology firm Dearman will be taking its zero-emission engine to Germany this week as it looks to expand its European presence.

The Dearman engine runs on liquid nitrogen and can be used to produce zero-emission transport refrigeration units (TRUs) for trucks and vans.

It is on trial with UK supermarket Sainsbury’s, with full commercial roll-out planned in the coming months.

Dearman will visit Germany with a truck equipped with a zero-emission TRU, visiting potential customers in Cologne, Neumünster, Herten, Hann, and Speyer.

The manufacturer said particulate emissions often exceed EU thresholds in at least 90 German towns.

Since 2008, a number of German cities have introduced low-emission zones to tackle particulate matter emissions, with proposals also brought forward to tackle nitrogen oxide emissions.

Dearman said Germany’s TRU fleet is expected to increase to 209,000 vehicles by 2025, remaining the largest in Europe.

If it converted entirely to liquid nitrogen over that period, Dearman claimed Germany would save 923 million litres of diesel per year in 2025 and 4.4 billion over the decade.

At the same time, nitrogen oxide emissions would fall by 9,500 tonnes and particulate matter emissions by 1,200 tonnes, it added.

Dearman deputy chief executive Michael Ayres said: “Our zero-emission transport refrigeration unit emits no nitrogen oxide or particulate matter, and our award-winning technology is therefore well placed to help German companies looking to cut their emissions.”

Tevva Motors heads to Madrid on trade mission to highlight zero-emission truck technology

Tevva Motors has been chosen by London mayor Sadiq Khan to take part in a three-day trade mission to Madrid.

Essex-based Tevva will be looking to showcase its range-extended series hybrid electric 7.5-tonner to business leaders in the Spanish capital, which plans to ban diesel vehicles by 2025.

The event forms part of the mayor’s International Business Programme (MIBP) and seeks to showcase 24 tech-focused London businesses to the Spanish capital in a bid to forge stronger trading links.

It will feature round table debates with key members of the Madrid business community, focusing on smart city concepts such as the internet of things, urban mobility and infrastructure requirements.

Tevva CEO Asher Bennett said: “City authorities in London and Madrid are placing a high priority on tackling city air quality and the negative impact of NOx and particulate pollution on health.

“The announcement of London’s ‘T’ Charge for older diesel vehicles and Madrid’s announcement of an outright diesel ban from 2025 show the strength of their commitment. Tevva is at the forefront of truck technologies that can make zero-emission freight movement not just a practical reality, but the norm.”

Deputy London mayor for business Rajesh Agrawal, who is also in Madrid with Tevva, said: “The mayor and I look forward to working with Tevva Motors, to build new relationships, attract investment and show the entire continent that London is open and the best city in the world to do business with.”

Following a series of operator trials in UK cities, including with parcel firm UPS, Tevva has confirmed its first commercial orders are scheduled for delivery in quarter four this year.

Hermes to run electric Mercedes-Benz vans in German cities

Hermes is to work with Mercedes-Benz to roll out electric delivery vehicles in urban areas across Germany.

A new strategic partnership will see Hermes deploy battery-powered Mercedes Vito and Sprinter vans in Hamburg and Stuttgart, with a pilot scheme expected in early 2018.

The parcel delivery firm intends to have rolled out 1,500 electric vans by the end of 2020.

Volker Morninweg, head of vans at Mercedes, said electric technology was key to urban transport and that it was important for final-mile deliveries to become more efficient.

He said: “Last year, we announced that we will put a Mercedes-Benz electric van into series production again; our first one was in 2011.

“We are proud that we can already announce that Hermes will be our first customer – and with a significant number of vehicles at that. This is a specific implementation of our plans for tailored industry solutions in co-operation with our customers.”

Frank Rausch, CEO of Hermes Germany, said: “Electric mobility plays a key role as part of our long-term strategy for climate and environmental protection.

“With this in mind, we are continuing along the path of sustainably renewing our fleet of vehicles. The strategic partnership with Mercedes-Benz is another milestone in this process.”

Last April Hermes announced it was to take part in a 12-month trial of battery-operated, light duty trucks in the city of Stuttgart.

Last September, Mercedes-Benz released a prototype for its Vision Van; an electric vehicle with automated cargo management and drone launch pads (pictured).

Mornhinweg said: “With the Vision Van we are presenting the intelligent, clean and fully interconnected van of the future.

“The Vision Van integrates many concrete concepts for future delivery operations in the urban environment.”

Select committees combine to scrutinise government air quality policies

Pressure is mounting on the government to tackle urban pollution as the 24 April deadline for its new clean air bill approaches.

Four select committees have joined forces to examine the government’s plans to tackle urban pollution hot spots, including the significance of vehicle emissions, and to consider evidence of the health and environmental impacts it can have.

The committees involved are the Transport Committee, Health Committee, Environmental Food and Rural Affairs Committee and the Environmental Audit Committee.

The move comes after the government lost two court cases regarding its plans for addressing the UK’s nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels, which resulted in orders from the High Court and the EC to clean up its act.

The combined committees will examine whether the government’s latest plans to tackle NO2 meet the standards set out in these requirements over the course of four evidence sessions.

Louise Ellman, chairwoman of the Transport Committee, said: “The UK economy depends on an efficient and flexible transport system, but emissions from vehicles are a significant problem and the standards that governments have relied on have not delivered the expected reductions.

“We will be asking what more can be done to increase the use of cleaner vehicles as well as to encourage the use of sustainable modes of transport.”

Amsterdam uses operational incentives to encourage electric freight vehicle use in city

The city of Amsterdam is encouraging uptake of electric freight vehicles (EFVs) through operational perks in busy urban areas.

A partner in the Frevue scheme (Freight Electric Vehicles in Urban Europe), Amsterdam has been trialling incentives to boost EFV usage in the city including the use of zero-emission deliveries in its own supply chain.

It has found some of the most effective actions have been operational incentives for freight companies using electric vans and trucks.

Since March 2015, 20 vehicles from seven logistics companies have been granted traffic regulation exemptions based on their own delivery patterns and geographic requirements.

These enable the operators to park in restricted zones, unload directly to the pavement, deliver during time-restricted periods and even enter certain pedestrian areas.

Operators of the EFVs involved in the trial have reported increased driver productivity as a result of the exemptions, including:

  • Shorter walking distance – this saved on average between 15 and 45 minutes per driver, per day.
  • More drops – operators were able to make an extra 4-5 drops per hour compared with diesel vehicles with no exemptions.
  • Loading – average unloading savings were around 4-5 minutes per stop, saving up to 30 minutes per day.
  • Driver stress – as drivers normally have to pay their own fines if unable to find parking, less anxiety from guaranteed parking spots increased productivity, as well as reducing conflict with other road users when seeking a place to stop.

The city’s report said it was pleased with the outcome of the pilot and will work on broadening the scheme to the whole of the city.

It will also be considering feedback from operators involved in the trial as to how to further incentivise the use of EFVs.

These include a call to widen the current delivery time windows in Amsterdam, which are  strict and often only allow a one-hour period for deliveries to be made; use of tram lanes for EFVs to bypass congestion; stricter parking enforcement on other road users parking in loading bays; and a wider scope for traffic exemptions beyond the city centre.

Frevue has produced a free-to-download factsheet with full details of the incentives trialled in Amsterdam.

The Frevue project works with a number of European cities and logistics operators to provide eveidence on the viability of using electric freight vehicles for emission-free urban deliveries.



Greater Manchester logistics forum focuses on sustainable deliveries

Sustainable urban freight movements were a key focus of the second Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) logistics forum, held last week.

More than 60 public and private sector industry stakeholders came together to discuss ways to improve freight flow and mitigate the impact of deliveries on the urban environment across Greater Manchester.

Opening the event, TfGM chief executive Jon Lamonte announced the publication of the region’s 2040 Transport Strategy.

“This is a long-term framework to improve transport across the city region, creating a cleaner, greener, more prosperous Greater Manchester,” he said.

Manchester had also finalised its Low-Emission Strategy and Air Quality Action Plan to ensure the city region met EU environmental targets.

“These will ensure the continued economic growth of one of the UK’s foremost city regions does not come hand-in-hand with a rise in air pollution and carbon emissions,” said Lamonte.

Measures include:  exploring the feasibility of a clean air zone; increasing the number of electric vehicle charging points; supporting sustainability in the freight and logistics sector.

The TfGM 2040 Transport Strategy follows the publication of the first Greater Manchester Freight and Logistics strategy adopted in July 2016.

Delegates were told about major highways infrastructure proposed for the Greater Manchester region, and given an insight into the skills requirements and opportunities for logistics.

Better use of urban consolidation centres was discussed by Graham Stewart from Arup Consultancy, while Sam Clarke (pictured below), director at final-mile operator Gnewt Cargo, detailed his business model of using 100% electric vehicles in London.

“We need to educate our customers; the consumer is driving our service delivery, changing our business and bringing greater complexities to the delivery. We need to educate, and legislation is assisting with this,” he said.

Clarke added that planning of business space had opened up the ability to occupy disused areas like garage parking and underground train station areas.

Allowing re-use of disused spaces located within a short distance to the user has been critical in making electric deliveries possible, he said.

“Pollution is close to my heart, Manchester must take on electric final-mile solutions,” Clarke said.

TfGM senior manager told it was “fantastic to see the expertise and enthusiasm” from both the public and private sector during the panel session, and the workshop sessions which took place following the presentations.

“This gives us great confidence that we will be able to collaborate effectively with partners as we look to deliver our Freight and Logistics Strategy,” he added.

The next TfGM logistics forum is planned for the autumn. Register your interest at

Web-based HGV aerodynamics simulator aims to reduce fuel costs and lower emissions

A web-based system for simulating the aerodynamic efficiency of HGVs is being developed to help operators reduce fuel usage and fleet emissions.

Part-funded through the DfT’s Low Emission Freight and Logistics Trial, the aerodynamic configurator for transport (ACT) will enable fleet managers to select the most efficient configuration of truck and trailer for an operation.

It will assess vehicle shapes and combinations for aerodynamic efficiency under a range of real-world conditions and drive cycles.

Leading the project is computational fluid dynamics (CFD) consultancy TotalSim, which will collaborate with fuel-saving analytics firm Dynamon.

TotalSim MD Rob Lewis said: “Using CFD, we can simulate the aerodynamic efficiency of any vehicle – usually to help make racing cars go faster – but in this instance we are interested in increasing fuel efficiency to reduce HGV emissions.”

He added that typically CFD requires “costly computers and software”, and engineers with specialist knowledge, whereas this system will be jargon-free and work with a web browser.

“Transport operators of all technical abilities can try out different configurations quickly and easily in order to deploy the most efficient cabs and trailers,” said Lewis. “This will dramatically reduce journey costs and greenhouse gas emissions alike.”

Combined with telematic data capture, the ACT will help inform route and weather-specific planning decisions to maximise haulage company profit and return on investment (ROI) of each vehicle.

Dynamon CEO Angus Webb said: “TotalSim will identify the best aerodynamics shapes and Dynamon will use fleet telematics data to identify the potential fuel saving and ROI.

“This will both improve investment in aerodynamics by fleets and stimulate innovation from aerodynamics suppliers.”

The DfT has awarded a grant of £392,240 towards the total £560,342 project costs.

Live from the Clocs Conference and Exhibition 2017

Now in its fourth year, the Clocs Conference and Exhibition is one of the leading showcase events for urban vehicle safety. Freight in the City reports live from the event at London’s ExCel.

RHA says Oxford zero emission zone is “unworkable”

A proposed zero emission zone that would see all petrol and diesel vehicles removed from Oxford city centre is “unworkable”, according to the RHA.

A £30,000 study into the feasibility of the zone was launched on 10 March. If successful, Oxford City Council said the scheme could be in place as early as 2020.

RHA regional operations manager for the West Midlands, Rhys Williams, told he was concerned the idea had not been properly thought through.

He said: “They spent millions on a flagship shopping centre and lured the likes of John Lewis. These stores need to be serviced. How do we get 26 pallets of freight [at a time] into them? They haven’t put any thought into the process.

“There’s an awful lot of consultation that needs to be had, and it concerns me, whether they’ll have it or whether they’ll just slap this diesel ban on immediately.”

Councillor John Tanner, Oxford City Council executive board member for a clean and green Oxford, said: “Air pollution has a significant impact on the health of residents and visitors to Oxford. Our vision is to create a city centre that people can live and work in without worrying about how vehicle emissions will impact on their health.”

Williams added that operating without diesel vehicles was not something the industry was opposed to, but it was not ready for it yet.

“It’s obviously a goal that we as an industry would love to see, but the technology just isn’t there at the moment. So what’s going to happen until we get there? We need to be real and sensible about it,” he said.