Cenex to establish business case for vehicle-to-grid technology

Cenex will be the UK partner on the European Smart Mobile Energy programme and will explore the business case for vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology to power cities.

The project will investigate how cities can increase energy efficiency and decrease carbon emissions by integrating V2G technology into the existing energy infrastructure at district and city scale.

It will explore how electric vehicles (EVs) can support energy infrastructure through V2G, using EV batteries as short-term storage to manage energy demand at district and city scale in Birmingham, Berlin and Valencia.

At Aston University, in Birmingham, V2G technology is already proven and operating successfully at a building level.

This project will allow Cenex to evaluate how the connection and control of multiple V2G installations could be implemented at a district and city scale.

Cenex will work with city authorities, grid and energy companies, large building owners and EV fleet operators evaluate the potential network impacts and business case of V2G in three major European cities.

Other partners in the three city project include: the Technical University of Berlin, the University of Valencia, Energy Technology Institute and The Foundation of the Valencian Community for Strategic Promotion, Development and Urban Innovation.

Robert Evans, CEO at Cenex, said: “This is a critical next step toward accelerating Europe’s move to clean energy.”



Toyota to explore hydrogen fuel cell potential for HGVs

Vehicle manufacturer Toyota has announced a US-based feasibility study to explore the potential of scaling up its hydrogen fuel cell technology to power an HGV.

The technology is currently used in its zero-emission Mirai car, however the manufacturer believes the system could be used to produce a wide range of zero-emission vehicle options, including lorries.

A statement on its US website read: “The scalability of this technology is enabling the automaker to explore a semi-trailer truck application for a California-based feasibility study.

“The Toyota Mirai will continue to provide a zero emission driving solution for global customers; a heavy-duty truck sized fuel cell vehicle creates a potential zero-emission freight transportation solution for the future.”

The manufacturer said more details on the study, and the continued development of “a hydrogen society”, will be announced in the coming months.

Hydrogen refuelling hubs have continued to increase in the UK, with last month seeing the first solar-powered site opened in London.

Spanish capital picks gas-powered Iveco lorries for refuse collection

Madrid City Council has added 109 CNG-powered Iveco Stralis trucks with Ros Roca waste collector bodies to its municipal fleet.

The vehicles, which will collect urban waste in the Spanish capital, will be built at Iveco’s Madrid factory. The factory is dedicated to manufacturing the gas-powered trucks.

Iveco said the CNG models can bring significant environmental gains over traditional diesel trucks: reducing CO₂ emissions by 10%, particulate matter by 95%, NOx by 35%, as well as delivering fuel cost savings of up to 40%.

CNG Stralis engines are also 50% to 75% quieter than a Euro-6 diesel engine, according to Iveco, reducing noise pollution by between three and six decibels.

The manufacturer added that total cost of ownership was also 10% lower than their diesel equivalent.

There are currently 43 public CNG refuelling stations and 19 LNG stations in Spain, making it the country with the most stations selling LNG in Europe.

A further nine mixed CNG/LNG stations are under construction.

Madrid’s City Council has purchased these Stralis models through a centralised state procurement system – a model of procuring goods, works and services which makes it possible for them to be used by any of the departments in the General State Administration.

New hydraulic refrigeration units promise cleaner, quieter city deliveries

A Swedish range of hydraulically driven refrigeration units for trucks are now on sale in the UK.

The new Hulsteins units are claimed to drive down emissions, noise and operational costs for urban deliveries. (Pictured main image at Freight in the City Expo 2016 fitted to a new Volvo FE CNG)

They run via a hydraulic pump directly from the truck engine and claim to provide constant, even, cooling power regardless of whether the truck is on tick-over or full revs.

Units have the same output power as traditional diesel alternatives, yet are more environmentally friendly and economical to run, according to the Swedish manufacturer.

The company said the hydraulic units can reduce C02 by more than 98%, reduce fuel by 62%, service costs by 50% and are PIEK approved for quiet city deliveries.

Their flat-fronted design, mounted externally on the frontwall between the driver’s cab and truck body, is also said to help with height restrictions and improve aerodynamic options.

“The best thing is they do not cost the earth and have a better ROI than a diesel units over five years,” added Simon Wood, UK sales and operations manager at Hulsteins.

“We have been very successful in Sweden and across Europe, but we are new to the UK. I have spent the last few months on the road talking with end users, body builders and truck manufacturers trying to raise the awareness and try and get some of our units in operation,” he added.

hulsteins---scaniaThe company is offering packages to end users on new builds that will be fitted free of charge for a six-month trial. After that period, if the operator is happy, they will pay for the unit and keep it.

Wood said he is currently in talks with some large UK supermarkets and operators over the trials, and is keen to hear from other UK operators interested in running the hydraulic units.

Hulsteins has also been working with truck OEMs on projects in Sweden (pictured on a Scania hybrid, left) aiming to achieve significant reductions in fuel usage, emissions and CO2, as well as to enable more out-of-hours deliveries through quieter equipment.

The hydraulic refrigeration units have been manufactured and operated across Sweden for more than 40 years.



New trials aim to boost use of electric delivery vehicles for chilled goods

Government-funded trials aiming to be “a game-changer” in the ability to use all-electric vans and trucks for chilled goods home deliveries are underway.

Using EVs for chilled goods can be challenging, due to the need for the battery to power both the vehicle and the fridge unit: either a bigger battery pack is needed, which compromises payload, or range is lost when using a standard-sized battery.

However, a new combination of technologies is being tested that aims to decouple the power requirements of the fridge unit and the drive train.

The first trial will see operator Iceland Foods operating a modified Paneltex all-electric truck on a 5.5-tonne Isuzu chassis (pictured). It will be fitted with Sunamp’s cold storage technology, with Route Monkey providing EV optimisation algorithms.

Project leader Sunamp will invert its Heat Batteries to create a new cold storage technology that can maintain the required ambient temperature in the vehicle’s cargo area.

The company claimed the system has a better power to weight ratio and is more efficient than using Li-Ion batteries, helping to increase the vehicle’s payload capabilities by reducing the size of the traction battery pack.

This trial builds on Sunamp’s R&D under previous Innovate UK funding of Heat Batteries, for heating and air conditioning in electric cars and buses, which it said showed “huge benefits” in extending the useful range of these EVs at low cost.

Route Monkey’s software will be used to optimises EV range by calculating factors such as route topography and scheduling deliveries of heavier loads at the beginning of the day. It will also plan the demo vehicle’s deliveries in accordance with Iceland’s two-hour customer time windows.

For this trial, Route Monkey’s optimisation of the demonstrator will include the capabilities to react to traffic congestion, factor in weather conditions, and – in case of emergency – schedule a top-up charge of the batteries and cold storage Heat Batteries at the nearest available charging point.

Andrew Bissell, CEO of Sunamp said: “The partnership’s combined technology has the potential to be a genuine game-changer. If it proves as successful as we expect, it will have far-reaching applications in refrigerated vehicles and beyond.”

The Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership will co-ordinate dissemination of the results.

The project is part of a £38m initiative funded by the Office for Low Emission Vehicles and Innovate UK.

More fleets are encouraged to take part in the trials and should email info@sunamp.co.uk.

British Gypsum calls for ‘next step’ in HGV tractor-unit design to deliver better direct vision

British Gypsum has called on manufacturers to provide hauliers with tractor-unit designs that grant drivers improved visibility from their cabs.

“We want to find someone to take the next step and give us improved visibility in a tractor unit, which is something we haven’t seen yet,” said Brian Fisher, distribution manager at the building materials firm.

“We are continually looking for the next piece of tractor unit innovation. We’ve seen a lot on rigids and on tippers, but we are predominantly an artic fleet, so for us the vision piece is around artics.”

Fisher said the pace of change to address better visibility is too slow at the moment, with not enough options currently on the market to enable operators to plan their fleet upgrades.

“We’re buying trucks every five years and will do a fleet change in around 18 months. If there isn’t anything on the market then, it won’t be on the fleet for another five years after that. This is the challenge,” he added.

Fisher’s view was last week echoed by London operator O’Donovan Waste Disposal who urged manufacturers to work faster in providing sector-specific solutions to meeting the capital’s pending Direct Vision Standard.

Blind spot elimination

To ensure its core subbies’ fleet trucks are as safe as possible, British Gypsum already specifies additional low-level passenger door window panels on new vehicles, which are supported by cameras to eliminate blind spots.

In a recent Driver of the Year competition run by parent firm Saint Gobain, Fisher said he spent 20 minutes in one of its trucks fitted with window panels and cameras trying to find a blind spot, but was unable to do so.

However, in some truck models, the position of the passenger seat can be problematic in obscuring direct vision even with an additional window panel, he added.

“The industry has got to change this. You need to be able to go straight to a manufacturer and say I want a Fors gold tractor unit,” added Fisher.

Guiding influence

British Gypsum uses three main subcontractors – DHL Supply Chain, Ceva Logistics and John Jempson & Sons – to manage transport across its five Fors gold standard sites.

Rather than hand over responsibility of all fleet management, British Gypsum maintains control over specifying which vehicles are chosen and how they are kitted out for its operation.

“We’re different to a lot of other manufacturers that outsource their transport. We are very prescriptive on the specification of our vehicles.

“We specify a vehicle to minimise any risk to the driver and minimise risk to anyone else that comes into contact with the vehicle,” said Fisher.

For example, British Gypsum’s standard specification for a new vehicle would include: a 360-degree camera system; the near-side high-vision window – about 20 are already on the roads – proximity sensors; an extended catwalk at the back; a grab couple on the trailer; internal load system inside the trailer; and the rest would be up to Fors gold standard.

A Vision Technique’s BrakeSafe automatic handbrake failsafe system is also specified on new vehicles, with an additional requirement on existing fleet vehicles that they will not be able to enter a British Gypsum site unless fitted with an audible handbrake alarm that works.

Direct involvement

The company believes it is important to maintain good relationships with vehicle suppliers directly, rather than this being handled only by its lead hauliers.

“At the minute, we’ve got a brand-new urban artic trailer being built by Don-Bur, which will be our new specification for any urban trailers coming through. They are doing this because we’ve asked them to. Supplier relationship is really important to us,” said Fisher.

“If we look back over the past few years, we’re a different beast because we’ve changed our approach. We don’t now ask our 3PLs to do a lot of the work, we do it ourselves. Now we say ‘we know what we want’ now go and deliver it.”

British Gypsum ensures its smaller subbies are also kept abreast of its company’s safety strategy and the latest regulations by meeting with them twice a year.

It is also working with smaller subbies along its entire supply chain to help them reach Fors silver standard by the end of next year.


Freight in the City looks at the delivery innovations featured at last week’s expo

Commercial Motor group technical editor Colin Barnett headed to last week’s Freight in the City Expo at Alexandra Palace to check out some of the latest technology on show to facilitate urban deliveries…

There’s nothing like a changing legislative landscape to encourage innovation, and there were plenty of examples of new urban logistics thinking debuting at Freight in the City.

Making its first UK appearance, the full-electric Fuso Canter was represented by a six-tonne E-Cell prototype, along with confirmation that the full production 7.5-tonne version, to be called eCanter, will be available in the UK from Q4 of 2017.
FITC 2016-120
Meanwhile, Daimler says that there now around 75 Canter hybrids on British roads, where operators are reporting fuel savings of around 23% compared with diesel.

Also freshly arrived in the country was Volvo’s fully type-approved CNG-powered FE, with a 320hp Cummins spark ignition engine and Allison transmission.

Volvo acknowledges that the main obstacle to overcome is the limited recharging infrastructure in the UK.

A small but significant change to the Dennis Elite 6 sees it fitted with a longer diff ratio to greatly improve its suitability for general commercial operations.

Dutch company Emoss was on hand with an MAN rigid converted to full electric operation. It reports growing UK interest in fields as diverse as an urban artic, operating as a mobile consolidation hub, to a 7.5-tonner for aircraft toilet emptying.

Essex-based Tevva continues to develop and demonstrate its range-extended electric truck, possibly the most feasible compromise for the current climate. Although the fact that type approval procedures are still not geared to converting new vehicles, the firm will continue to concentrate on retro-fit conversions, with a target of 200 units in the next two years.FITC 2016-129

Lighter newcomers included the Turkish BD full-electric conversion of the Fiat Ducato, the hydrogen fuel cell Renault Kangoo from Arcola Energy, and a fully Clocs compliant Renault Trucks Master panel van.

The big story in the trailer world was the first sight of Cartwright’s Streetwise. This new concept in urban deliveries is loaded via a conventional fixed dock. However, unloading is carried out at street level through central side-loading doors.

Cartwright’s target market is multi-temperature multi-drop deliveries such as town centre convenience stores, fast food outlets and pubs.

The TransDEK Duet Urban also loads, and unloads, through the rear, but through a novel sash door system, which provides good security on the roadside. The trailer, which complies with the stringent Dutch PIEK noise requirements, can carry 29 UK pallets weighing 12-13 tonnes within a 10.6m length.1685

Stoneridge Electronics showed a Swedish Volvo FH equipped with its new camera-based mirror replacement system, MirrorEye. This uses up to six cameras and a range of interior display options to replace traditional mirrors and give a clear view all around the vehicle, even when turning and at night.

The compact system eliminates blind spots and improves fuel economy, and is going through EU type approval as an acceptable alternative to conventional mirrors.

Emoss showcases full electric rigid at expo

Dutch company Emoss took part in last week’s Freight in the City Expo in London, displaying an MAN rigid converted to full electric operation.

Last month the company said it intended to use the expo as a springboard into the UK market, which it turned its attention to following London’s plans to introduce an Ultra Low Emission Zone in 2019.

It reported growing UK interest for electric trucks in fields as diverse as an urban artic, operating as a mobile consolidation hub, to a 7.5-tonner for aircraft toilet emptying.

Based on rigid chassis spanning from 7.5 tonnes GVW through to 28 tonnes GVW, the conversions can be made to any make of truck, either straight from the factory or as a retrofit option on older fleet vehicles.

Emoss has also developed a range-extender for a 50-tonne tractor unit giving it a range between 900km and 1,000km.



DHL’s Roe: ‘Amazing’ industry response in developing cleaner, safer, quieter delivery vehicles

DHL’s MD of transport Phil Roe has praised the industry’s “amazing” response to working towards achieving safer, cleaner and quieter delivery movements.

Only two years ago, when DHL launched its urban concept truck at the Quiet Cities global summit, Roe said there was little on the market to help operators achieve more sustainable city logistics.

In just two years, this has completely changed he believes, with an array of new vehicles and technology available for operators: DHL itself even manufactures its own electric vehicles for its German post office operation.

Speaking to delegates at last week’s Freight in the City Expo in London about alternative delivery patterns, such as retiming out of peak hours and consolidation models, Roe said there were some “fantastic islands of best practice”.

“But for all those deliveries being retimed, there are thousands of deliveries not being retimed,” he added.

“When I talk to my customers, they are interested, but want the confidence to know the trend will last.”

Adopting a common national standard that defines and recognises an acceptable ‘quiet delivery’ could hold the key, he believes.





























Freight in the City talks to Daf Trucks about Direct Vision

Freight in the City (FitC) caught up with Phil Moon, marketing manager at Daf Trucks, at the expo to discuss London’s proposed Direct Vision Standard and its potential implications for hauliers.

FitC: On display you have a Daf CF low-height 8×4 rigid tipper fitted with a ClearView passenger door window, what other features does it have making it suited to urban delivery?

Moon: It’s got a camera system, warnings, filled in sideguards. But the fundamental design change is that the truck is not an NG3, it’s an N3, so it sits a bit lower. About six inches lower than the majority of 8-wheelers that we’d sell today and in the past.

This brings us to the forthcoming Direct Vision Standard, which has been discussed at length at the expo today. What are Daf’s thoughts on it?

I have some concerns from an operators’ perspective. A lot of the focus has been on construction vehicles. Most manufacturers base their construction chassis around a mid-range cab anyway. So although the sort of trucks that have been identified as probably not getting any stars are N3G tippers it may be the case that a lot of higher cabs, longer distance tractors, may also fall into the same category.

That could have a real impact on major national and international fleets that do have to come into London to deliver. I’m not sure that really been appreciated as a knock on effect.

And it’s not a long time frame to introduce new vehicle models, I guess?

Yes, 2020 is a relatively short time-period away. An eight wheeler operator could well keep a vehicle for up to eight years. And to potentially ban that vehicle from London in less than four years’ time could be quite dramatic.

And there’s still uncertainty [in regards who will be conducting the Direct Vision audits for TfL and when]. So I think there’s a possibility that operators won’t be able to understand what a truck’s star rating might be until earlier into 2017 [so there’s a time issue].

That’s potentially quite the headache in regards planning for operators.

Fleet procurement, fleet replacement, what they [operators] can do with vehicles that they think aren’t going to be compliant by 2020; I think that on top of bringing forward the ULEZ, which yes we’ve known what the objective is but the scale of it and the timing of it has changed, puts an awful lot on to hauliers. As an industry that could be a real challenge and ultimately could impact on the cost of transport.

DAF FITC expoDo you sell enough trucks into London and the surrounding area to make a model exclusively for it to meet Direct Vision?

Like any European, or even global manufacturer, in order to build trucks as cost effectively as we do we rely on a large market. There’s obviously diversity in all the markets we sell to but we try to do that out of a toolbox of different components and with a relatively small market when you take the European market as a whole it will be very challenging to do that in a cost effective and a timely way.

And the projected time is very short term. In terms of the gestation cycle and the development cycle for new vehicles, and particular new vehicle concepts you shouldn’t underestimate the implications of producing for instance a low-entry cab it’s quite dramatic.

Is a low entry cab the be all and end all?

When we design trucks we have to take into account a number of different aspects according to the operation. Off road ability might be one for construction. Ease of entry and access might be another one for distribution, there’s lots of different aspects.

Whilst a low entry cab might improve direct vision there are a lot of knock on consequences and disadvantages. It might be suitable for certain types of application if you’re in a multi-drop urban environment but they may not be apparent. As soon as you start to use that vehicle on long distance haulage, which you’d have to if you were bringing goods from the North of England to the South, then how would you accommodate that? There’s no sleeper cab facility, there’s no power train options available to power a 44-tonne vehicle.

So it’s not one size fits all then?

Operators need a degree of flexibility. Where they haven’t got flexibility they maybe have to make sure they have dedicated use that they can make sure they can utilise that vehicle as much as possible. If there are restrictions that means you can’t use it in a certain area or you can’t use the vehicle it could be quite impactful.