Low emission vehicle plan announced

Posted on: September 10, 2013

The Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) has revealed its strategy to continue driving the UK ultra-low emission vehicle (ULEV) sector forward.

The announcement from Transport Minister Norman Baker suggests the government will focus on developing fuel options to benefit the light commercial, heavy commercial and public service vehicle sectors, and to continue to provide the automotive sector with opportunities to grow the UK economy.

He said, “These are exciting times for the motoring industry as ultra-low emission vehicles are the future for road travel. Our vision is that by 2050 almost every car and van will be an ultra-low emission vehicle with the UK at the forefront of their design, development and manufacture. This strategy moves us up a gear in pursuing that vision.”

Baker added that the new strategy allows the automotive sector to produce changes that will benefit the quality of air in towns and cities, and reduce carbon emissions and reliance on foreign oil imports.

OLEV is also asking for the industry to feedback on how it should utilise £500 million of new capital investment, available between 2015 and 2020, to establish and secure the ULEV market in the UK.

Business Minister Michael Fallon, said, “By setting out the level of our financial support up to 2020 we are demonstrating our long-term commitment and giving business the confidence to invest.

“We will keep working in partnership with industry on where our investment can best drive growth as we support the transition to ultra-low emission vehicles.”

Key to the government’s plans for ULEV is to grow low emission vehicle fleets, to create a better network of charging points and infrastructure, including a smarter electricity grid as well as the developing ULEV technologies.

Mike Hawes, Chief Executive of SMMT, added, “We’re pleased to see the strategy set out a longer term approach to the incentives, policies and initiatives which are needed to create confidence for vehicle buyers and manufacturers. We strongly support the collaborative approach with our industry which will help to secure the UK’s position as a leader in the development, production and use of ultra-low emission technologies.”

Part of OLEV’s plan is to explore the different refuelling options available to different transport sectors. It emphasises that light commercial vehicles can benefit from developments in the car market from plug-in or fuel cell technology, while the heavier commercial sector will need to explore sustainable bio-fuel options where it has established that other liquid fuel alternatives are scarce and as creating electric drivetrains for this sector may not be feasible.

One challenge the government department is facing, alongside the Low Carbon HGV Technology Task Force, is providing an infrastructure to ease concerns by fleet operators. It admits the benefits of switching to gas engines is easy to see in terms of cost savings, however the Low Carbon Truck and Infrastructure Trial will be the first foundations for creating a HGV biofuel infrastructure.

OLEV adds that the public service vehicle sector is slightly different and can benefit from a mix of both technologies. Its Green Bus Fund is a good indication of this , with 1,200 new low emission buses entering service across the UK, from the £87 million funding pot, with various technologies employed including hybrid and fuel cell technology.

17 councils to retrofit public service vehicles

Posted on: September 10, 2014

More than 1,000 local authority vehicles will be greener, including taxis, ambulances and fire engines, as the government announces those councils that placed successful bids for the Clean Vehicle Technology Fund (CVTF).

For the first time, the £5 million fund was opened to a wider range of public service vehicles, as previous funding rounds focused on improving the emissions produced by buses.

This latest round of bids has seen 17 local councils win funding for 1,080 vehicles to be retrofitted with a variety of technology.

The Department for Transport has also announced it will allocate an additional £50,000 on top to help those authorities monitor the results of the retrofit projects.

Transport Minister Baroness Kramer, said, “The £5 million Clean Vehicle Technology Fund means councils can now lead the way on introducing greener vehicles on their local streets. We received imaginative applications from local authorities from across England for vehicles including buses, taxis, vans, fire engines and ambulances. All the schemes will lower emissions in busy towns and cities.”

The Greater London Authority has requested £500,000 to retrofit selective catalytic converters to 400 Euro-3 buses, and is also looking into the viability of fitting a similar device on fire engines.

Yorkshire Ambulance Service will receive £166,000 worth of funding which it plans to invest in solar panel roofs fitted to 175 rapid response vehicles. It says the reason to invest in solar technology is purely down to keeping the vital battery system on the vehicles topped up, without the need to leave the engine running.

Birmingham City Council and Reading Borough Council are targeting taxis, with Birmingham opting to equip its 80 cabs with Liquid Petroleum Gas systems, and Reading choosing the Compressed Natural Gas and diesel dual fuel conversions for 113 of its vehicles.

On the back of recent news that Oxford Bus will be using a flywheel hybrid system on its ADL Enviro400 Brookesbus network , both Southampton and Newcastle City Councils will invest in similar technology. The south coast project will see 23 buses benefit from this system on the Unilink route, while on Tyneside, 30 buses travelling on two routes, between Newcastle and Tyneside and Northumberland and Sunderland, will benefit from a kinetic energy recovery system.

The 2014 CVTF was designed to build on the success of the Clean Bus Technology Fund, which saw more than 500 buses from 26 local authorities retrofitted with emission lowering technology as part of £7.3 million government investment.

ACEA outlines its commercial sector priorities

Posted on: September 9, 2014

The European Automobile Manufacturers Association has outlined its priorities for the commercial vehicle and transport sectors, as the new European Parliament comes to office.

The European body plans to find a balance between expanding mobility needs and green issues.

ACEA’s idea is to ensure the industry focuses itself on what it describes as the three pillars of sustainability, environmental, economic and social, and to ensure that the sector doesn’t solely focus on one area over the others.

To achieve this, ACEA hopes to encourage the use of the most efficient transport mode available, alongside continual improvement and maintenance of the road network. As well as developing and implementing policies already outlined, such as the Euro-6 review and clean air packages.

ACEA also plans to push and maintain the research and development programme for Europe, for example the Eurovignette project, which is a revision of how trucks circulating in Europe are taxed and charged.

For commercial and automotive R&D projects to continue, ACEA says the sector needs a share of the funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme. This is a scheme for funding research and innovation that would supplement ongoing projects like the European Green Vehicles Initiative and other road transport schemes.

Erik Jonnaert, Secretary General at ACEA, said, “The automobile industry invests €32 billion annually in R&D. Helping the industry leverage this R&D investment through Horizon 2020 is just one route via which the fruits of research and innovation can be rolled out to European consumers and transport operators in the form of cleaner, safer and more connected vehicles.”

One area ACEA has to address is how member states’ authorities type approve vehicles and the need swiftly to resolve issues that arise, which it believes can be solved by monitoring laws and procedures with an emphasis on ‘harmonisation and enforcement’.

Type Approval: Interview with Brit-Tipp’s Gary Miller

Posted on: September 10, 2014

Whole Vehicle Type Approval (WVTA) is a challenge for the entire body building industry, but for body builders over a certain size it is a nettle that must be grasped.

One firm that has been only too glad to rise to the challenge is Warrington-based body builder Brit-Tipp. The firm already has 12 N1-class Type Approval for its core range of 3.5-tonne bodywork and is finalising N2-Type Approval across heavier vehicles.

“We’ve now got Iveco N2 Type Approval across our whole range of bodywork and we’ll have DAF shortly,” says Gary Miller, Managing Director at Brit-Tipp, adding that Mercedes, MAN, Canter and Isuzu TAs have also been applied for.

From 29 October this year, all third-party truck bodies will require Type Approval, either European Whole Vehicle Type Approval (ECWVTA) or National Small Series Type Approval (NSSTA). While there is a provision in the regulations that bodywork can be subject to a one-off inspection, known as Individual Vehicle Approval (IVA), this is not an avenue that Brit-Tipp intends to go down. “While we know that a lot of firms intend to follow the IVA route, we don’t personally think it is the right way to go,” says Miller. “The reason is that there will be long extended lead times to get an IVA test for each vehicle and the costs will ultimately be passed on to the customer.

“However, with Whole Vehicle Type Approval there is a fixed cost and that’s it. We just feel it is a better way forward.” He adds that the company will also apply for N3 TAs, the heaviest class, in order to offer Type Approval on everything the company manufactures.

Miller thinks the spirit of Type Approval will have a positive effect on the industry. “It’s a good thing that everybody will be playing by the same rules. Yes, it does cost a lot, but it is going to give confidence to the customer that they know their completed vehicle can be registered immediately after completion and the job is right.”

Of the firm’s core products that have already gained Type Approval, he says that the vast majority of custom requirements can be catered for within the framework of mass and dimensions.

“People will ask for all kinds of variations on our standard tipper, such as all-around handrails and toolboxes behind the cab as well as caged and arboricultural vehicles,” he says, adding that the main difference to the newly-approved N2 body types was a very slight increase in width, due to lateral protection and that the under-run bar will now be a standard fitment.

On this subject he notes that the firm’s under-run bar has been Type Approved by VCA and can be fitted with its own tow bar attachment that has also been Type Approved, meaning that the sub-assembly has been designed, and manufactured entirely in-house, a policy which Miller extends throughout the business. “We try to do everything in-house as the more we can do, we are less reliant on other suppliers and so are in greater control of our own future,” he explains.

While Type Approval in Miller’s eyes represents an opportunity for the industry, he is careful to say that when the legislation is introduced, it must be enforced. He points out that when N1 was first introduced, a number of dealerships were still registering vehicles without a Completed Certificate of Conformity because there wasn’t an effective path of communication between the DVLA and the VCA. “It brings me to recall 1995 when the CE marking was introduced,” he says. “I thought that if it didn’t have a CE mark it wouldn’t pass an MOT, but that never happened. I just hope that this time that rule breaking will be clamped down on.”

Finally, Miller says that he is glad the firm is adopting a strategy of seeking Type Approval over the entire range. “We are proud that we are the first bodybuilder to get it,” he says. “I do think the IVA is going to be a big problem going forward as there is going to be a huge bottleneck. If it’s taking up to six weeks for an IVA at the minute, what’s it going to be like after 29 October?

“N2 Type Approval does cost us money, but from our point of view and from the customer’s point of view it is the most sensible way,” he concludes.

Three-millionth low carbon diesel engine built by Ford

Posted on: September 11, 2014

News from Ford: Ford’s three-millionth UK-built small-capacity diesel engine has rolled off the line at Ford’s state-of-the-art manufacturing centre at Dagenham.

Low-carbon diesel engines have been built at the Dagenham Diesel Centre plant for a variety of models across the Ford range, and for other manufacturers, since production started in May 2007.

On average more than 30,000 engines are produced every month, with total production of the small-capacity diesel engine for 2013 exceeding 365,000. The engine was launched with 1.4- and 1.6-litre capacities, and, in 2013, the 1.4-litre version was upgraded to a more fuel-efficient 1.5-litre that delivers lower emissions, and which is produced alongside the ultra-efficient 1.6-litre unit.

By September 2015 all Ford diesel engines will comply with the latest Euro-6 emission regulations, which reflect an 84% reduction in Nitrous Oxide (NOx) emissions from diesel cars since 2000.

Ford marked 30 years of the diesel-engined Ford Fiesta in May 2014 and all generations of the model, spanning three decades, have been powered by Dagenham-built engines. Last year, more than 76,000 Ford vehicles sold in the UK were fitted with Ford’s small-capacity diesel engine, accounting for around 20% of all Ford cars and commercial vehicles sold through 2013.

In a Ford Fiesta, the 1.5-litre engine emits 98g/km of CO2 and returns a combined 76.4mpg. The 1.6-litre Ford Fiesta ECOnetic model with Auto-Start-Stop emits just 85g/km and can return a combined 85.6mpg. The 1.6-litre engine is available across the Ford range in Fiesta, B-MAX, Focus, C-Max, Grand C-Max, Mondeo, S-MAX and Galaxy models, in addition to the new Ford Transit Connect and Tourneo Connect.

The new Ford EcoSport is available with the 1.5-litre engine, as are the Ford Fiesta, and Ford B-MAX models.

Martin Everitt, Dagenham Engine Plant manager, said: “This milestone demonstrates the strong demand for clean, powerful, yet economical, small-capacity diesel engines. This is set to grow further when we introduce the new Ford Focus and Ford Mondeo models, both of which will be available with this low-carbon diesel engine.”

Mercedes says LCV drivers could be driving illegally

Posted on: September 11, 2014

News from Mercedes-Benz: Mercedes-Benz Vans is urging all van drivers in the UK to check out the facts around Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) requirements, before venturing out on the roads.

The deadline for all drivers operating an LCV over 3.5 tonnes to have completed their Driver CPC training, which is a legal necessity of 35 hours of training every five years, was 10September 2014.

Steve Bridge, Managing Director, Mercedes-Benz Vans, said, “It seems like there has been a sole focus in the industry on CPC training for truck drivers, but in reality almost 4,400 vans over 3.5 tonnes sold this year in the UK will be subject to Driver CPC legislation.

“This will also have an impact on Operator licences of mixed fleets, so it is vital that the UK van market is fully aware of the legislation. If drivers of vans over 3.5 tonnes are yet to complete, or even start their CPC training, before they drive their vehicle again they must ensure they have undertaken the 35 hours of learning.

“You can be fined up to £1,000 for driving professionally without Driver CPC, and as it would mean that technically you hold an incorrect licence, your insurance could also be void.

“However, it shouldn’t be just about ticking a box to complete the course – I believe that training for van drivers should be an enjoyable learning experience that brings everyone to a level far beyond the minimum demanded by the current legislation, or even potential future legislation.

“I have completed my Driver CPC, with course content revolving around load security, fuel economy and safety; really valuable training. I hope to see more van drivers participating in ongoing learning going forwards.”

However, the Freight Transport Association (FTA) believes that a vast majority of drivers will have completed their35 hours’ periodic training by the deadline, according to DVSA figures released last month, but still suggests that for some the dash to compliance will continue right up to today’s deadline, and even beyond.

James Firth, Head of Road Freight and Enforcement Policy from the FTA, said, “The logistics industry is not going to grind to a halt as some have suggested – the figures indicate that most drivers will have got it done. But the deadline highlights a more fundamental problem of driver supply in the future. The cost of getting your HGV licence, the cost to companies of insuring young drivers, the lack of facilities for drivers on the road network and a generally negative image of the profession are all barriers to young people recognising the logistics industry for what it really is: a challenging and rewarding sector, which uses cutting edge technology to solve problems on a daily basis to keep the economic heartbeat of the UK strong and uninterrupted.”

Microlise and Tata to transform India’s CV industry

Posted on: September 11, 2014

News from Tata Motors: Microlise, the transport management solutions firm, is to provide pioneering technology to Tata Motors, India’s largest commercial vehicles manufacturer, in a move which is expected to transform the country’s commercial transport industry.

In a multi-million pound deal, the five-year contract will see Microlise supply Tata Motors with its specialist fleet telematics. It will supply the company with in-vehicle hardware and a web-based portal to allow customers to manage their transport fleets efficiently and safely.

Microlise has been speaking to global giant Tata Motors for several months. Its products enable customers to reduce operating costs and environmental impact by maximising the efficiency of their transportation.

Ravi Pisharody, Executive Director of the Commercial Vehicles Business Unit at Tata Motors in New Delhi, said, “As the leading commercial vehicle manufacturer in India, we have been spearheading the change in the Indian transport industry for many years now.

“We as Tata Motors wish to lead the shift towards electronic control of drivelines and other vehicle systems. We also wish to harness the power and potential of such a digital approach by introducing advanced telematics and fleet management services. Tata FleetMan’s partnership with Microlise is a step in that direction. We firmly believe that this association has the potential to transform the way commercial vehicle fleets are managed in India.”

Nadeem Raza, MD at Microlise, said,“Microlise is extremely proud and excited to be working with Tata Motors. The cultural fit between the two organisations, and a very clear shared vision, has meant that both companies have been able to develop the new Tata FleetMan system, ensuring that it will not only address the requirements of Indian transport companies today, but will continue to deliver future features and functions, to meet ever increasing demands that will be placed on transport operations as the exciting growth story in the Indian economy continues.

“The new Tata FleetMan system will be based on the market leading Microlise platform that is currently installed in over 150,000 vehicles around the world and used by some of the biggest transport and logistics companies like DHL, Tesco and Carrefour for significant cost savings and efficiency improvements.”

Tata Motors launched the Tata Fleetman Telematics and Fleet Management services brand in India two years ago, in response to growing market needs for better fleet control and greater fleet utilisation. It recognised while basic services served transporters well, it needed the right partner to meet customers’ needs for more sophisticated and technologically complex applications.

Driveforce opts for Iveco for the next decade

Posted on: September 11, 2014

News from Iveco: Bristol-based car transport business Driveforce has grown its fleet with the delivery of its first Euro-6 tractor unit, an Iveco Stralis Hi-Road.

The business runs a fleet of 24 trucks, 80% of which are Ivecos.

Gary Chapman, Managing Director of Driveforce, says, “We have run Ivecos for more than a decade, after taking delivery of our first Stralis in 2004. They have proven to be ideal vehicles for car transporter work; their low height is perfectly suited for the needs of the company.”

Driveforce takes pride in never making a commitment it can’t keep, and to do this it needs vehicles, which provide consistent performance.

Chapman continues, “Our Iveco fleet has helped us build a reputation for reliability and high standards among customers. We expect our latest Stralis Hi-Road will continue with this level of performance as well as providing us with improved fuel economy thanks to its Euro-6 engine.”

Confidence in the long term performance of the Stralis is critical for the company as it plans to operate the vehicle for up to seven years.

Chapman concludes, “Before we invest in a new vehicle we need to be absolutely sure it will deliver at the same high standards on its last day as its first. We invest in expert service and maintenance for our fleet, so we have every trust in this new vehicle to deliver.”

The Stralis will undertake general contract work including fleet car transport and show car movements throughout the UK. It will undertake approximately 120,000km a year and the company expects to replace the truck after approximately 800,000km in service.

This Stralis has been mounted with an existing car transporter body which has already seen seven years’ service on the fleet. Completely refurbished by sister company Driveforce Engineering, which carries out maintenance and refurbishment work for Driveforce and other firms in the industry, it will now be used on the Stralis for the second half of its projected 14 year lifecycle.
The vehicle features a sleeper cab, which includes the luxury Hi-Comfort bunk and an extensive array of storage compartments for the driver’s personal belongings.

The Euro-6 Iveco Cursor 11 engine powering this Stralis Hi-Road offers optimised fuel consumption and improved performance compared with the EEV engine generation it supersedes. Key to this is Iveco’s HI-SCR system, developed, patented and produced to meet the limits demanded by Euro-6 legislation without using EGR. This enables it to offer multiple advantages including weight reduction, lower fuel consumption and increased durability, with this engine capable of producing up to 460 hp between 1,500 and 1,900 rpm and 2,150 Nm of torque between 900 and 1,500 rpm.

Kögel to showcase its Cargo TIR at IAA

Posted on: September 11, 2014

News from Kögel: At IAA Commercial Vehicles 2014, Kögel will be presenting the Cargo platform semi-trailer with sliding tarpaulin and drop side. This combination is particularly popular in Eastern Europe and is ideal for use in cross-border freight transport. In addition, the Cargo TIR scores with its robustness, extensive set of standard equipment and diverse customised equipment. In addition to its high-quality workmanship, the Kögel Cargo TIR is also distinguished by its low maintenance costs and enormously flexibility in use.

The highly stable frame has a sophisticated cross beam arrangement for the transport of heavy loads and use in a very wide variety of road conditions, daily harsh loading operations, and extreme conditions. The floor load-bearing capacity can bear high fork-lift axle loads of up to 7.2 tons. The Kögel Cargo TIR also has a low tare weight and a really robust body. Thanks to two continuous, 220-millimetre-thick roof frame profiles, no rung supports are required when the side tarpaulin is open. The trailer with standard equipment has a tare weight of around 6,000 kilograms. This makes it ideally suited for heavy-duty transport. Naturally, the Cargo TIR has the DIN EN 12642 Code XL load-securing certificate. The Cargo TIR on exhibit is fitted with the new standard Kögel aluminium rear wall door. This comes not only with a self-cleaning trilobular shaft guide but also with inexpensive and easily replaceable single articulated hinges for great ease of repair.
Security and customs seal

Because of the Kögel integral roof tarpaulin, there are no belts hanging into the loading area of the Kögel Cargo when the roof is open; they are integrated into the roof tarpaulin. This entirely eliminates straps snagging on the load. The exhibition vehicle can also be optionally equipped with four pairs of hinged, 600-millimetre-high side walls made from hollow aluminium profiles with tie-rods and tarpaulin anchors for the customs seal. For top cargo security and fast clearance in customs duty traffic, the TIR sliding tarpaulin has tarpaulin eyelets to close the tarpaulin against the drop side with a continuous customs-approved cable.
Cathodic dip-paint coating

As in all Kögel freight vehicles, the entire vehicle frame of the Cargo TIR is given long-lasting protection against corrosion by nano ceramic technology and cathodic dip-paint coating, supplemented with UV lacquering.

Reading Buses unveil new gas refuelling station

Posted on: September 11, 2014

News from Reading Buses: In one of his last public duties as Reading Buses Chief Executive Officer, James Freeman invited Transport Minister Baroness Kramer to unveil a plaque commemorating the opening of its new £1 million gas compression station.

“The opening today and the Minister’s visit is an amazing moment for me personally,” Freeman told an audience of over 100 guests from the bus industry and representatives of the local community with whom Reading Buses has an affinity.

“When we decided to go gas we took a risk and stepped outside our comfort zone big style. We wanted to celebrate the opening of our gas station a year ago, but things took a great deal longer than expected. But it’s here now and running superbly.

“We are always trying to be further out front than other people and we have got into gas because we were looking for something that gives us a real edge in the commercial sense.

“In the UK, gas as a fuel is still very much in the shade. Given the fact that the diesel engine is beginning to become a public enemy, we thought gas as a fuel for buses was a really good way of making sure that buses continue to be part of people’s lives.”

Freeman explained that at first gas had been previously brought in on a tanker every day, but now that the infrastructure is complete gas is brought onto site from the mains running under Great Knollys Street, which is the home of Reading Buses, compressed on site and put into storage tanks from which it is taken through to the fuelling station. He said this now worked ‘very well.’

“Gas buses are most reliable by a wide margin and are cheaper to run. The message is we have an amazing thing here,” Freeman added.

Baroness Kramer, who arrived at Great Knollys Street in a gas bus, said Reading was best known for its three b’s – beer, bulbs and biscuits. To that could now be added a fourth – buses. “This is a very big step forward,” she said.

“Reading has been so successful in going green and bus operators want lower running costs which is part of what you are seeing here today. This investment made in the filling station is a major contribution to the town with a better service to customers and better air quality for the population of Reading as well.

“This will become a template for other bus companies to take on board. This really is the bus showing off its green credentials and I shall direct people to Reading to see the gas buses.

“The people of Reading will benefit from the fact that today I am announcing investment using the Green Vehicle Technology Fund to help councils adopt cutting edge technology and we are awarding Reading £360,000 which will see more than 100 local taxis running on compressed hybrid fuel.

“This is another achievement driven by the council and community and a cutting edge approach that Reading has to keep down emissions and produce clean air.”

Councillor Tony Page, Lead Member for Transport and Deputy Leader of Reading Borough Council, said the new gas station was ‘central and critical’ to the lifeblood of the town and fundamental to delivering its transport objectives.

While profit objectives had to be met, they were not as central as the wider remit of delivering an extensive range of services to the town. The gas bus project was a continuation of a line of initiatives from Reading Buses and was ‘critically important’, not only for the potential of cheaper fuel, but delivery of improved air quality which he added was ‘very important.’

The compressed biomethane gas is supplied to Reading Buses by the Gas Vehicle Alliance who produce 9.6 million kilogrammes a year. During the gas cleaning process, they collect the CO2, inject carbon neutral gas into the national grid and then dispense it into the buses from the new gas station.

Alan Martin, Scania Manager Special Projects, said that since the introduction of 34 gas buses into Reading its gas engine had been further developed to meet Euro-6 standards to improve air quality. Furthermore Scania was investing in the design and development of double deck gas buses, which they hoped to have in the market at the end of 2015.