The LowCVP has stated that independent testing of retrofit technology, a switch to natural gas and biomethane and supporting the transition to hybrid and pure EVs in urban environments are the three main opportunities the HGV market has to adopt a low carbon ethos.

LowCVP managing director Andy Eastlake said: “In terms of road transport, most of the focus in recent years has been on cutting emissions from cars and buses.

“Road freight in vans and trucks is responsible for around 35% of the UK’s total road CO2 emissions and there are plenty of opportunities for the sector to make a real contribution to the UK’s climate targets – as well as helping to cut operators’ costs and contribute to improvements in air quality.”

Road testing

The LowCVP already has a number of schemes set in motion that will test the low-carbon possibilities of HGVs. A test process is already in place to measure the value and efficiency of retrofit technology with an accreditation process being drawn up for certifying low carbon technologies for HGV applications, with the results passed onto the Department for Transport (DfT).

The organisation’s Low Carbon Truck Trial (LCTT) has also been testing vehicles powered by natural gas measuring performance against diesel fuel while prototype EV trucks are also being trialled alongside the biofuel trucks. A workshop will be held in November to determine the usefulness of these trials, providing opportunities for operators and others to collaborate in a new, DfT-funded test programme to benchmark low carbon vehicles.

LowCVP is working with collaborators including Mercedes, Michelin and MIRA at the Freight Transport Association’s ‘Freight in the City’ show this week (27 October) to promote these initiatives.

Freight in the City project manager Laura Hailstone said: “Freight in the City is focused on enabling urban deliveries to be made as cleanly as possible but there remains little choice for operators in the market for alternative fuelled commercial vehicles. Our partnership with the LowCVP is a welcome step to opening up a strong dialogue between the freight industry and the low carbon technology providers.”

‘Smartphone on wheels’

Last week, Volvo revealed how its new ‘Intelligent Trucks’ could shape the future of the HGV market.

Volvo’s director of strategy & business development Per Adamsson said: “In the near future trucks will be able to communicate with other road users as well as with mobile remotely enabled devices such as cycle helmets, helping to cut the risk of accidents and reducing unplanned standstills.”

Currently, there are around 175,000 online connected Volvo trucks in Europe that can send remote maintenance requests. In the near future Volvo predicts that these trucks will be able to book their own services and workshop administrations.

A French start-up has also introduced the possibility of HGVs adopting Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) from Formula One to reduce lorry emissions by 25%. Meanwhile, delivery firm UPS last month purchased 125 new hybrid electric delivery trucks which will deliver up to four times the fuel economy of a conventional vehicle.

Matt Mace

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