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.

 

TfL went too soon with Direct Vision Standard, claim panel

Industry experts have accused TfL of putting the cart before the horse with its Direct Vision Standard (DVS).

Speaking at Freight in the City Expo at Alexandra Palace today (7 November) Ross Paterson, head of product and marketing at Mercedes-Benz, said customers were asking what star rating each model had on a daily basis.

“We can’t simply answer that question; there is so much uncertainty about it, but nonetheless, customers need to buy some vehicles. They have to safeguard themselves; they don’t know what to buy at the moment,” said Paterson.

He later added: “From my perspective regrading the Direct Vision Standard and working with TfL, a lot of hard work is ongoing but it not complete. But I do feel the announcement was made a bit too early – the research should have been done first and then announced afterwards. So there is confusion.”

James Hookham, deputy chief executive at the FTA, agreed. “The mayor’s ambition, noble as it is, has seen him progressing too quickly with this. It has gone ahead of the checks and balances required and means we remain in the dark over DVS,” he said.

Hookham said there was an urgent need for clarity about the DVS specification so manufacturers could factor this in to designs where possible and customers, pressured to upgrade their vehicles to meet London’s Ultra Low Emission Standard (ULEZ) coming in 2019, could make the correct purchasing decisions.

Paterson added: “We build vehicles for the European market rather than for specific cities or city agendas.”

Announced last year, DVS is seeking to introduce a rating system running from zero to five based on the level of direct vision a driver has from their cab.

Trucks with the lowest, zero rating would have been banned from London by 2020, with only those achieving three stars or above permitted entry from 2024.

Although TfL published interim ratings in September these have subsequently been removed from its Safer Trucks website.

Tim Ward, freight and fleet engagement manager at TfL, reminded delegates that 78% of fatalities involve cyclists and HGVs with truck blind spots the key issue identified in police reports.

“Since the first announcement, which was’ DVS or nothing’ we have now looked at the research, spoke to the manufacturers and re about to consult on a permit scheme.”

“The permit scheme will mean a vehicle fitted with suitable equipment [potentially sensors or cameras] could bring a zero star truck up to the [basic] standard,” he said.

Ward said TfL would launch a consultation in regards the permit, what it might contain and how it might work, within the next month.

Regulations and the ULEZ

Hookham said that while operators weren’t against change, many now felt overwhelmed by the pace of it and wanted clear guidance on how to conform.

“We really need an overall look at all the restrictions that are coming in too. The incremental approach that has been taken is adding cost to operating in London and also living in London, which can’t be good for anyone,” said Hookham.

On the subject of the ULEZ and purchasing decisions, Paterson said that while conforming with the ULEZ was not an issue for Mercedes, it was a huge one for its customers, many of whom were delaying making a purchase due to fear of getting it wrong.

He added that many would have upgraded to Euro-5 and would have planned to run the vehicles well beyond the new 2019 ULEZ start date and instead will now face a £100 penalty to enter certain areas.

LoCity Annual Conference points to mayor-led future

The LoCity Annual Conference took place at Freight in the City 2017, offering an opportunity for policy makers, alternative fuel trials and fleet operators to look back at the past 12 months, and ahead to the challenges LoCity faces.

Introducing the session Alex Williams, director of city planning at TfL, looked at the challenges a growing London faces over the next 25 years with a projected population growth of 8.7m to 10.5m: “The mayor’s transport strategy is very ambitious in terms of getting the cleanest and safest vehicles on our roads, and we all need to respond and accommodate that.

“The number of trips people make per day is falling and the number of car trips is falling, but the number of van trips is increasing. How do we accommodate that demand and make the road network as efficient as you can? With the exception of the Silvertown tunnel there is no extra capacity in the highway network.”

Williams said that 90% of all freight in London is carried on the road, with the value of the freight moved standing at £200bn annually. As a result TfL understands the value of road freight to the capital and its economy.

Oxford Street

In light of this he added that freight was at the heart of one of the flagship policies of mayor Sadiq Khan, to pedestrianise parts of Oxford Street (pictured above), where the biggest challenge will be to accommodate freight deliveries to stores.

Williams also discussed recent regulatory changes – noting the introduction of the T-Charge on 23 October and looking forward to the introduction of the ULEZ on 8 April 2019 – essentially 17 months early.

“A lot of people in the mayor’s consolation said that we were not moving quick enough,” he said of the move in the date of the introduction of the ULEZ. “The next ULEZ consultation will be on widening the ULEZ boundary for HGVs,” he said, adding that the zone could be bordered by the north and south circular, which he admitted would be challenging to deliver.

Up next at the annual conference was Denise Beedell, development manager, Greater London at the Federation of Small Business. She explained that LoCity was something the FSB wanted to get behind “very quickly”.

“We wanted to explore the affordability for our small and micro members. Yes, big fleets have a lot of knowledge, but smaller fleets needed simpler information to make the right decisions for their operation,” she said. “We also wanted to make sure that the planning and procurement activity worked properly, rather than use sticks to beat businesses with.”

She said that key concerns for FSB members over the past 12 months had been total cost of ownership for vehicles that met LoCity standards, while the emissions from auxiliary engines – such as refrigeration units – needed to be considered when it came to mitigating those emissions.

“We will continue to work with vehicle manufacturers as they are the ones who will deliver the vehicles for our members to buy in the showrooms,” she said of plans for 2018.

www.matthowell.co.uk

Next on the slate was Venn Chesterton, innovation lead, low emission vehicle, Innovate UK, who took a spin through several of the trials that the organisation had been helping to run over the past year. “What we already know is that gas vehicles don’t cost a lot more, and in some cases you will save money,” he said of the Air Liquide consortium trial, while noting that a UPS electric trial “had seen us look at how to charge vehicles. They have a large charging point on site with UK Power Networks managing that.”

Forthcoming trials including trailer ergonomics with Lawrence David, a gas trial with CNG Fuels – focused on refuelling options – and a KERS trial with Howdens Joinery.

But how are these trials measured? And how are they evaluated as successful, or not? “How can we prove to legislations, city authorities, operators and the general public that these things lead to improvement? One thing is around climate change and CO2 while the other is around air quality and NoX,” said Chesterton.

To that end, the equation of success is measured as: kms driven, the energy used to drive those kms, and emissions associated with that energy used. If those measures point to a reduction in emissions, then a vehicle is benchmarked against a Euro-6 diesel. This is done under several measures, including performance in areas such as urban environments or trunking routes.

The next trials will focus on refuse collection, he added, and he called on those involved in that part of the industry to participate.

Birmingham will get one of the first clean air zones

The conference finished with a panel discussion that included contributions from Carl Beet, Transport for West Midlands; Andrew Benfield, Energy Saving Trust and Martin Ellis, Joint Air Quality Unit – looking at lowering emissions in cities and towns across the UK.

Chair and business journalist Simon Jack questioned the panel on its view as to how important EU regulation was to LoCity – and what would happen as a result of Brexit. Williams admitted that EU regulation was overarching in everything they did, but that regional mayors now had such powers over their constituencies that policy would now be driven from the bottom up, rather than waiting for the EU to handle it.

“Looking at the emissions scandal that is a failing of the EU to handle those large businesses, while these metro mayors are up there and doing it,” he said.

Beet said that EU law had given the direction, but that was moving on, while Benfield said that certainty was required in this area in order for policy makers and businesses to plan ahead to make savings and reductions.

A final question was raised from one delegate on the chance of a new mayor, with polarising views on environmental sustainability, coming in to any city and changing the political and policy work done on reducing emissions.

Benfield said that the health benefits of improving air quality would “continue to be a vote winner” while the prosperity of the economy relied on “a healthy, independent, profitable and clean” transport sector for the UK.

“This topic is not going to go away because it is hitting too many buttons. It has achieved cross party support and is not going anywhere,” he said. Ellis concurred, citing cross-party experience in Somerset and Bristol.

Finally Ellis addressed the powers of metro mayors to introduce clean air zones, and said that it was absolutely necessary for freight operators to have a clear view of the requirements and costs associated with those zones. Benfield concurred that there was a need for a national framework and standard, with encouragement beyond compliance.

“If it’s not straightforward that gives people a way out,” he said.

All of the presentations from the LoCity annual conference are available online.

Gas is part of the solution to UK’s air quality challenge

Gas is back in a big way thanks to the UK’s air quality challenge, according to Calor Gas’s head of strategy and corporate affairs Paul Blacklock.

Speaking to delegates at Freight in the City, where the company was showcasing its electric LPG range extended rigid truck developed with Emoss, Blacklock said “until three years ago LPG fuel seemed to be on its way out.

“Then the air quality crisis and the VW scandal happened”.

Blacklock said that with a ready built infrastructure of LPG, the fuel source could be described as the ‘cheap date’ when it came to tackling the UK’s emissions challenges.

“While there is no one technological solution to the air quality challenge, it is also true to say there’s too much cost to electrify everything in terms of rewiring the network and power generation,” he told delegates.

“Dedicated gas trucks are coming to form part of the air quality landscape. Dedicated electric vehicles are coming, but HGVs have not been seen as part of that movement and aren’t going to happen anytime soon.”

“We believe our range extended truck is a game changer that will drive transformation in the UK,” said Blacklock.

Calor Gas, which operates a fleet of some 800 vehicles, said its range-extended truck uses LPG to drive the vehicle’s electric generator. This charges the battery supplying the motor with electricity.

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”.

Claimed savings are an 82% carbon saving compared with conventional diesel power, rising to 94% with BioLPG. Particulate matter is also virtually eliminated and there is a claimed 94% cut in NO2.

Hauliers face period of unprecedented change, says Innovate UK

Hauliers face the biggest change to how they do business since they left behind the horse and cart, according to Innovate UK’s Venn Chesterton.

Speaking to delegates in the first seminar session at the Freight in the City Expo today (7 November), the ultra low emission vehicle lead at Innovate UK set out a raft of emission and technology changes that hauliers will need to wrestle with in the next few years.

“Make no mistake. We are seeing a push towards zero emissions in urban areas,” said Chesteron (pictured).

He added that the government’s air quality strategy meant there would be more examples of London’s T-Charge and forthcoming ULEZ to come across the UK (likely as Clean Air Zones) as local authorities have been charged with cleaning up the UK’s air.

He added that while the government’s approach to tackling climate change remained voluntary for the sector at present, that remained open to legal challenge and hauliers needed “to be aware” for that reason.

“No one technology will fix this. Electric, bio-gas, hydrogen will all have their parts to play. In the near future we will see something that does long-haul conventionally than switches to zero emission mode when entering a city. The technology for this is already here,” he said.

Chesterton used the example of John Lewis switching its heavy fleet to alternative fuels as an example of movement in the industry, but warned delegates that changes happening were broader than even emissions. “How will you stay competitive and at the cutting edge?” he asked delegates.

He also said his one year old daughter will quite likely never have a driving licence. “And insurers will price the rest of us off the road if autonomous systems fulfil their potential and are deemed to be safer than humans,” he said.

Innovate is a government backed agency that funds, tests and showcases the best new technology.

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

LoCITY

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.”

Mayor confirms Ultra Low Emission Zone will start in April 2019

London mayor Sadiq Khan has confirmed his plan for an earlier start date for an Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ).

In a statement today, TfL confirmed that the ULEZ would start on 8 April 2019 in central London requiring HGVs to meet Euro-6 emission standards and petrol-powered vehicles Euro-4.

The ULEZ will replace the T-Charge introduced last week and operate in the same area, alongside the Congestion Charge but (unlike the T-Charge and Congestion Charge, which are only in place on weekdays) it will operate 24 hours a days, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

Failure to pay the £100 charge for HGVs could see a fine of up to £1,000 levied.

Plans to extend the ULEZ London-wide for HGVs remain under consultation.

Last year, London operator O’Donovan Waste Disposal urged Khan to give the road transport industry more time to adjust to the new emissions rules.

Jacqueline O’Donovan, MD at the Tottenham-based firm, said any acceleration in the rollout of the ULEZ would leave very little time for operators to plan for the reforms.

“Khan’s clean air revolution will require HGV operators to reduce diesel emissions in all forms across their entire fleets, as well as require them to adopt new clean technologies.”

“But this does not happen overnight,” warned O’Donovan, adding that the wider industry needs time to make further changes and adopt new technologies.

In today’s statement the mayor said: “London’s lethal air is one of the biggest health challenges of this generation. We can’t continue breathing in air so toxic it harms children’s lung development and causes chronic illness and premature death. I am determined to take the bold action needed to address this scourge once and for all.

“So I am pleased to confirm that from 8th April 2019 – 17 months earlier than planned – stricter standards for diesel vehicles will apply 24/7 across central London. This builds on the success of the T-Charge and is part of my comprehensive plan to clean London’s air.”

ULEZ – Key points
  • From April 2019 the ULEZ will replace the T-Charge and operate in the same area, alongside the congestion charge but (unlike the T-Charge and Congestion Charge, which are only in place on weekdays) it will operate 24 hours a days, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
  • There will also be two ULEZ charge levels: £12.50 a day for cars, vans and motorbikes and £100 a day for lorries, buses and coaches. These charges will be in addition to the Congestion Charge (C-Charge), so the more polluting cars and vans would pay £24 per day and lorries would pay £111.50 during C-Charge hours.
  • All revenue raised will be used by Transport for London to help maintain a greener transport fleet and reduce pollution across the transport network.

TfL’s director of city planning Alex Williams will be taking part in next week’s LoCITY conference held at Freight in the City Expo in London on 7 November.

Williams will be talking to the freight sector about the ULEZ rollout, as well as the mayor’s draft transport strategy, and on hand to answer audience questions.

Register today for your free entry pass.

 

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!