Tesla to build fully electric-powered truck

Tesla, the electric car manufacturer known for its Roadster and S models, is looking at producing a zero-emission heavy truck.

Founder Elon Musk aims to “expand the electric vehicle product line to address all major segments”.

Musk claimed at a press briefing that the Tesla Semi is “in the early stages of development at Tesla and should be ready for unveiling next year”.

No images of the truck concept have so far been released.

Although the solar roof is a key part of future light vehicle plans, there is also no mention of how Tesla plans to address the energy storage capacity dilemma.

This means the amount of batteries required to provide a meaningful operating range from anything like a current long-haul artic would probably be more than the payload, subject to a major advance in battery technology.

Musk has also spoken of variants such as a Tesla pick-up truck, and urban applications for smaller truck variants appear a logical avenue too.

By Colin Barnett

Greggs boosts fleet MPG by 11% through ECO Stars membership

Bakery group Greggs has sliced £750,000 off its national fleet running costs since its Scottish division joined the ECO Stars Fleet Recognition Scheme.

The chain’s Edinburgh depot runs 11 refrigerated Euro-6 trucks, which each travel an average 82,876km per year on trunking and store delivery routes across Scotland.

Following recommendations set out in a road map produced by ECO Stars, the Greggs Edinburgh fleet has now achieved the scheme’s top five-star rating and has seen an 11% increase in mpg per vehicle.

Actions included the roll-out of telematics across its entire fleet, as well as focusing on improved driver training, monitoring and targeting to help maintain standards.

Reduced engine idling has also helped to lower fleet emissions through phasing out fridges and in-cab heaters reliant on engine power to operate.

Fridges are now run separately from the main fuel source on red diesel and night heaters have been fitted into each vehicle to reduce the need for idling during cold spells or when the driver is on a break.

Techniques applied at Edinburgh have been applied across Greggs’ national fleet, with overall savings of more than £750,000 due to lower ‘knocks and bumps’ to vehicles, reduced wear and tear and improved MPG.

James McMillan, Greggs of Edinburgh’s transport manager, said: “We are proud to have been awarded the top five-star rating by ECO Stars.

“Having our achievements recognised by this national scheme is very important to us and receiving advice and recommendations to make further improvements will not only help us in Edinburgh, but Greggs nationally,” he added.

ECO Stars is a free-to-join scheme intended to aid operators in lowering their fleet emissions and running costs.


EC low-emission mobility strategy aims to curb CO2 from transport sector

The European Commission (EC) has published its low-emission transport strategy that aims to drastically reduce harmful emissions by 2030 through facilitating a faster take-up of cleaner vehicles and fuels.

Objectives include roll-out of a certification and reporting process to measure fuel consumption and CO2 emissions on HGVs, with the EC also looking to introduce measures to “actively curb” CO2 emissions from lorries, buses and coaches.

Countries outside of Europe, such as the US and Japan, have already brought in CO2 curbing measures and Europe “cannot lag behind”, the EC warned. It therefore plans to speed up work on designing CO2 emissions standards for larger vehicles.

“Given the average lifetime of a lorry of about 10 years, vehicles sold in 2020 will still be on European roads in 2030. In order to be able to make swift progress, different options for standards will be considered, including for engines only or for the whole vehicle, with the objective of cutting carbon well before 2030,” the EU strategy said.

Other measures include more distance-based road-charging, alongside work to improve EU-wide interoperability of electronic tolling systems; a revision to the directive on HGV charging to enable fees to take into account CO2 differentiation; and frameworks for all member states for boosting development of alternative fuels and infrastructure and promoting multimodal transport.

The FTA said the strategy is a step in the right direction, and welcomed the multi-faceted approach.

Pauline Bastidon, FTA head of European policy, said: “An effective framework for low emission alternative energy and an adequate roll-out of infrastructure for alternative fuels are key for us and can go a long way in helping the logistics sector reduce its carbon footprint.”

However, the FTA added that two key issues were not adequately addressed in the strategy: grants to support take-up of new technology; and changes to vehicle weights and dimensions.

“The EC needs to ensure that financial instruments providing guarantees to private investors are not the only source of funding available for the take-up of new technologies, and we would also like to see changes to vehicle weights and dimensions considered as a fundamental measure to reduce carbon emissions,” Bastidon added.

The ACEA, which represents vehicle manufacturers across Europe, called for a more balanced approach to reducing CO2 emissions, with more emphasis on all modes of transport – including air, maritime and rail.

It added that technology neutrality is key to supporting innovation and welcomed the fact this principle was embedded in the new strategy.

The association added that industry is working closely with the EC on a computer simulation tool (VECTO), which will model CO2 emissions from a wide variety of complete truck and trailer configurations. By 2018, VECTO will enable manufacturers to provide certified CO2 values to their customers for each and every truck produced.

ACEA urged the EC to allow enough time to analyse the impact of VECTO data and certification procedure before setting new CO2 limits.

Kers technology UltraBoost to be trialled in UK on rigid lorry

The world’s first hybrid rigid lorry fitted with a new kinetic energy recovery system (Kers) is poised to be commercially tested on a number of UK urban delivery routes.

UltraBoost, designed by French technology firm Adgero, is claimed to reduce fuel consumption and associated emissions by up to 15-30% depending on terrain and traffic flow.

During braking, the unit becomes a generator, recovering kinetic energy that would otherwise be lost as heat. This energy is then stored in a bank of five high-power graphene-based ultracapacitors  and used to re-power the vehicle.

The technology is controlled by an intelligent management system that tracks driver input in order to automatically control the regenerative braking and acceleration boost.

In addition to lower fuel use and CO2 emissions, the system is said to reduce brake wear and tear and associated maintenance costs.

For the UK trial, the UltraBoost system will be fitted to a Euro-6 Iveco Eurocargo by Southampton-based conversion specialist Alternatech.

The vehicle will then be supplied through vehicle rental firm Fraikin to a well-known UK operator for use on its urban delivery routes, including Greater London.

President of Adgero, Mack Murray, said it was important that the demonstrator trial would include delivery routes in London, considering the city’s efforts to tackle diesel vehicle emissions.

“Vehicle emissions are a major concern for London and Adgero is proud to be working on part of the solution. We look forward to exploring the future of our application on other routes and vehicles in the weeks and months to come.”

Adgero recently partnered with manufacturer SDC Trailers to install the Kers technology on a 13.6m curtainsider trailer currently on trial in the UK with operator Eddie Stobart.

Low-emission van guide and online calculator updated with latest data

A low-emission van guide to help operators make informed buying decisions on the latest clean technology for LCVs has been updated by Cenex and the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership (LCVP).

Aimed at small-to-medium sized fleet operators of vans up to 3.5 tonnes, the Low Emission Van Guide and accompanying Van Cost and Carbon Calculator (VC3) have been revamped with the latest data on how to make CO2 and cost savings.

The guide now includes information such as new topic sheets, data on hydrogen vans and guidance on how to get involved in the low carbon van community.

Supporting online tool, VC3, has also been updated to include information such as user-defined payload data, bio-fuel blends and congestion charge details.

Steve Carroll, senior technical specialist at Cenex, said: “The current month-on-month growth in UK van registrations is good news for the motor industry, but this means UK van parc CO2 emissions are also on the rise.

He added: “As some UK cities are looking to set up clean air zones by 2020 by imposing charges on polluting vehicles, it is an ideal time to inform van owners of their alternative options to diesel.”

Gloria Esposito, head of projects at the LCVP, added: “Fleet managers can access case studies showing the cost savings achievable through the use of low emission fuels and technologies, and access information on the low-emission van market, government policy, infrastructure and assistance.”










Low Carbon Champion Awards 2016 shortlist revealed

Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership (LowCVP) has announced its shortlist for this year’s Low Carbon Champion Awards.

The awards recognise outstanding achievement within the UK of accelerating a shift towards lower carbon vehicles and fuels, and in helping to reduce road transport emissions.

Now in their sixth year, the awards will be presented at a networking and dinner event taking place on the first evening of the Cenex Low Carbon Vehicle (LCV2016) show in Milton Keynes on 15 September.

The ‘Grand Prix’ sponsor of the Low Carbon Champions Awards is Millbrook Proving Ground, which also plays host to the two-day LCV2016 event on 14-15 September.

LowCVP MD Andy Eastlake said: “It’s been another year of significant progress in decarbonising UK road transport from the point of view of both technology and uptake. The LowCVP is at the centre of this exciting industry and we look forward to celebrating the UK’s continued leadership in this vital area.”

Last year’s awards saw truck manufacturer Scania GB recognised for its development of a new HGV gas chassis in the Low Carbon Heavy Duty Vehicle Manufacturer of the Year Award – a category that Freightinthecity.com was proud to sponsor.

The judges said: “Scania has been observing and evaluating the market and then delivered an exceptionally good product with lower associated risk.”

Awards categories and shortlist:

  • Low Carbon Car / Van Manufacturer of the Year (Sponsor: Michelin)
    Shortlisted: BMW, Iveco, Mitsubishi Motors, Nissan, Tesla, Toyota GB
  • Low Carbon Heavy Duty Vehicle Manufacturer of the Year (Sponsor: Freight in the City)
    Shortlisted: Alexander Dennis, BYD Europe, Scania Great Britain
  • Low Carbon Vehicle Operator of the Year (Sponsor: BAE Systems HybriDrive)
    Shortlisted: Alphabet, Bibby Distribution, First Bus, John Lewis Partnership
  • Low Carbon Fuel Initiative of the Year
    Shortlisted: Argent Energy, CNG Fuels and National Grid Gas Distribution, ITM Power
  • 2016 Award for Low Carbon Innovation by an SME (Sponsor: Advanced Propulsion Centre UK)
    Shortlisted:  Microcab, Riversimple, Tevva Motors
  • Low Carbon Road Transport Initiative of the Year
    Shortlisted: Addison Lee, Gnewt Cargo, H2 Aberdeen, Reading Buses
  • 2016 Outstanding Low Carbon Publication or Report
    Shortlisted: Cambridge Econometrics, EA Technology, Element Energy, Element Energy & the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT)

Special awards categories: (No shortlist; winners announced on the night)

  • Outstanding Individual in Promoting Low Carbon Transport
  • ‘Grand Prix’: Outstanding Achievement in Low Carbon Transport (Sponsor: Millbrook)



Government announces details of £24m low-emission freight vehicle competition

The Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) and Innovate UK is opening up a £24m funding pot for industry-led research trials and the development of low-emission vehicles or on-vehicle systems.

These projects must reduce emissions in the freight, logistics, utilities and emergency industries.

HGVs and vans contribute 31% of the UK’s domestic transport greenhouse gas emissions and the government said better uptake of low-emission vehicles to UK fleets can help the UK meet its CO2 reduction targets, as well as improving air quality.

The funding competition is run in two streams:

  • Part 1 will fund projects that trial vehicles and on-vehicle technology. The aim is to test the benefits of the technology before commercialisation
  • Part 2 will fund projects that develop innovative and disruptive on-vehicle technologies, systems or business models. These must reduce emissions in the real world.

Businesses can bid for funding now, with the registration deadline on 12 October and application deadline on 19 October.

A briefing event for potential applicants will take place in Solihull on 14 July 2016.

The government said it expects all projects to be collaborative and involve a vehicle operator, with costs ranging from £250,000 up to £5m.

Industry recently heard how the UK’s exit from the European Union would not affect its drive towards cleaner technology.

‘No let-up’ in clean air technology despite Brexit

Withdrawal from the European Union will not have a detrimental effect on the development of clean engine technology in the UK, according to the boss of the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC).

APC works across all forms of automotive manufacturing in the UK – cars, buses and trucks – and with businesses developing electric vehicles, battery technologies, lightweight materials and powertrains.

Gerry Wilson, director – business development at APC UK, said: “What we see from government is no let-up in terms of investment in the automotive sector. We are the most productive automotive industry in Europe and that will continue unabated.”

APC is part-funded via grants from the EU’s research and innovation programme Horizon 2020. Wilson said that this funding would continue through to that date, but “after 2020 we do not know”.

However he did state that: “If, as a consequence of Brexit, the funding stops from Europe, the government will maintain the funding.”

He also said that a UK outside of the European Union would continue to follow the establishment’s trends and targets when it came to air quality.

Andrew Everett, chief strategy officer of Transport Systems Catapult, a Milton Keynes-based technology and innovation centre, added that air quality targets would be primarily “city driven” in the future: “They will drive the industry, but through a different mechanism [to EU air quality targets].”

Mayor announces ‘toughest crackdown’ on most polluting vehicles in London

The mayor of London today announced details on what City Hall has described as “the toughest crackdown on the most polluting vehicles by any major city around the world”.

Making good on his promise one week into office to step up his efforts to improve London’s air quality through lowering transport emissions, Khan has launched the first stage of his Clean Air Action Plan consultation.

This includes a proposal for a new £10 emissions surcharge, dubbed the ‘T-charge’, on all pre-Euro-4 standard vehicles entering the existing Congestion Charge area from 2017, which would act as an interim measure before the launch of the Ultra Low-Emission Zone (ULEZ). This would be in addition to the current Congestion Charge fee of £11.50 per day for entering the zone between 7am and 6pm Monday to Friday.

HGVs entering Greater London must already be a minimum of Euro-4 standard due to London Low Emission Zone rules, so the T Charge plans really serve to bring all other vehicles in line with them.

However, Khan’s proposals to speed up the roll-out of London’s ULEZ and expand its reach have already rung warning bells with the freight industry.

The mayor has proposed today to bring in the ULEZ one year earlier than planned, and extend its reach beyond 2020 to London-wide for HGVs, buses and coaches, and as far as the North and South Circular for motorcycles, cars and vans.

Christopher Snelling, head of national and regional policy at the FTA, said the ULEZ plans would cause significant issues, particurlarly for van operators where compliant vehicles will only have been available to buy from this year.

“Typically, operators who rely on second-hand vehicles buy at four years old, so it will place significant cost burdens on them,” he explained.

FTA estimates that the new proposals may cost the average small operator with five vans more than £100,000 extra up front – more than 150% of the company’s annual turnover.

“No-one disputes the need to improve air quality. What we do object to is the one-sided nature of these measures – all burden and no support,” Snelling added.

FTA is therefore calling for a temporary discount on the Congestion Charge for compliant vehicles prior to the ULEZ starting.

Khan’s other air quality plans include a call to government to introduce a diesel scrappage scheme and proposals to clean-up the most polluting buses and routes.

The first consultation is open until Friday 29 July, with a second, more detailed one planned for later this year.

Speaking today, on the 60th anniversary of the Clean Air Act of 1956, Khan said:  “Just as in the 1950s, air pollution in London today is literally killing Londoners.

“That’s why I’m launching a hard-hitting plan of action to clean up our filthy air. Tough challenges call for tough measures, so I’m proposing a new £10 charge for the most polluting vehicles in central London from 2017, followed by an even stronger crackdown on vehicles pumping out hazardous pollutants.”


Government to offer £19m funding pot for low-emission freight vehicles

Transport minister Andrew Jones has announced a £19m funding pot for the freight industry to help reduce vehicle emissions.

The DfT said the money will help fleets of commercial vehicles access the very latest in low and zero-emission vehicle technologies.

Part of the funding will also go towards establishing alternative fuel infrastructure, such as electric vehicle charging points.

No further details have yet been released on bid criteria, however the DfT has confirmed that funding will be available to operators of any size. The funding competition will open in July.

Jones said: “We are always looking at new ways to make the vehicles on our roads cleaner, and this funding will support the freight industry to embrace the latest technology.”

“Today’s announcement is further proof that the government is leading the way as global demand for these vehicles grows,” he added.

The scheme will be funded by the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) through Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency.

Speaking at the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership annual conference in London today, Jones also announced a low carbon HGV technology accreditation scheme has been developed for the road freight sector.