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.

 

 

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.”

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!

 

 

Wilcox ENERGYA concrete mixer set to electrify Freight in the City Expo 2017

Wilcox Commercial Vehicles is set to cause a stir at Freight in the City Expo 2017 with the ENERGYA series truck concrete mixer that cuts fuel use, noise and emissions.

Unlike traditional truck mixers where drum movement is generated by a hydraulic system, Cifa’s ENERGYA truck mixer is powered from its own rechargeable lithium-ion batteries which are independent to the chassis engine.

ENERGYA truck mixers are equipped with a kinetic energy recovery system (KERS), which allows energy recovery during vehicle deceleration. The batteries can also be charged from both the power grid and through a generator powered by the diesel engine on the truck, allowing the truck mixer to be fully operational, even if the batteries are dead.

Jamie Boyce, Wilcox area sales manager, said this makes the mixer particularly suited to congested areas with high traffic levels.

“Concrete mixers need to be kept rotating to keep the concrete mixed while on route to the delivery site,” he said. “With the mixer being independent to the chassis engine, when in congestion or waiting to discharge, the driver can cut the engine without affecting the mixer or the load being carried.”

A recent trial run by Cifa showed a saving of 3,600 litres of fuel and more than 9,500kg of Co2 with the ENERGYA mixer creating no Co2 emissions and less than 10db of noise when in operation.

Boyce added: “The batteries can be recharged in around three hours from a power source, but they also recharge through the KERS from the braking system of the chassis.

“By just operating in traffic with frequent stopping and starting, the mixer can stay recharged for a whole day through the KERS system.”

Freight in the City Expo takes place on 7 November at London’s Alexandra Palace. It is free to attend, so why not register for a pass today!

 

Associations question London T-Charge as surcharge goes live

Trade associations have questioned the effectiveness of the London T-Charge, as the new tax went live this morning (23 October).

The T-Charge costs drivers of pre-Euro 4 vehicles that enter London’s congestion charge zone between 7am and 6pm on any weekday £10.00, on top of the £11.50 congestion charge.

But the FTA has warned the tax may not go far enough to remove older vehicles from London’s streets

Natalie Chapman, FTA head of policy for London told Freight in the City: “This charge means other road users will be sharing a burden that the freight industry has been shouldering for years.

“It will bring cars up to the standard that HGVs have had to meet for sometime. This is about all road users playing a part in cutting emissions.”

Chapman acknowledged the charge could impact on some vans and older HGVs but added: “We are talking about vehicles that are more than 10 years old so the charge will have minimal impact on the freight industry.”

However Chapman questioned if the Toxin Tax goes far enough in ensuring older vehicles are removed from the capital’s streets.

She said: “I question how effective it will be. I suspect that it depends on how often people use these vehicles. For many if it is for an occasional journey they may just decide to pay the T-charge, so although it will certainly raise revenues, will it make a real difference to emissions?”

The RHA warned that new Toxin Tax combined with the planned Ultra Low Emission Zone risks damaging London’s economy and dismissed the charge as “just another tax on business in the capital.”

RHA chief executive Richard Burnett added: “The T-Charge on lorries is a modest tax, but the coming changes the mayor plans for ULEZ in 2019 will be a massive tax burden.

“It will impose taxes on those operators of lorries just a few years old who simply cannot afford replace nearly new lorries – we will see jobs lost and hauliers put out of business to achieve very modest air quality improvement.”

However TfL said that since the T-Charge was announced in February the daily number of older more polluting vehicles driving into the Congestion Zone had decreased by around 15%.

Gareth Powell, TfL’s Director of Strategy, said: “The T-Charge shows that London is leading the way with the toughest pollution standard of any world city, which will be further strengthened with the introduction of the Ultra Low Emission Zone.

“We are encouraged that people appear to be heeding these initiatives and finding more environmentally friendly ways to travel. This is the bedrock on which the mayor’s ambitious plan for a zero emission city by 2050 is built.”

LoCITY conference a key event for operators delivering into London

Operators delivering into London will find the LoCITY conference at this year’s Freight in the City Expo essential to attend.

You will be able to hear first-hand from TfL’s director of city planning Alex Williams (below) on what the capital’s Ultra Low Emission Zone will mean for your operation, as well as learn more about the Mayor’s Draft Transport Strategy.

You’ll also be able to find out about the latest tools and guidance documents developed to help fleets make informed buying choices, as well as hear about some exciting new research focused on alternative fuels for refuse vehicles.

LoCITY will be inviting representatives along from other major UK cities to discuss their own plans for improving air quality and encouraging uptake of cleaner freight vehicles.

While over on the LoCITY stand in the exhibition hall, you can speak to the team directly to ask any questions you might have about the latest ultra-low-emission vehicle technology and pending air quality legislation.

You’ll also be able to check out an exciting new electric RCV developed for the City of London, and a fully electric Nissan eNV200Maxi van from Voltia, which is making its UK debut.

Speakers in the session include: Alex Williams (as above); Denise Beedell, development manager, Federation of Small Businesses and LoCITY champion; Carl Beet, transport strategy manager, Transport for West Midlands; Andrew Benfield, group director of transport, Energy Savings Trust.

Freight in the City Expo takes place on 7 November at Alexandra Palace, London.LoCITY

It is free to attend and features a full-day’s seminar programme alongside an extensive exhibition of the latest urban delivery vehicles.

Find out more about the event and register for free today!