More than £500 million is being pledged by the government to support the development of low emission vehicles, including improving the technology used in the transport and commercial vehicle sectors.
In a speech at the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership (LowCVP) Annual Conference, Baroness Kramer, Minister of State for Transport said that the focus in the UK on reducing emissions has helped the automotive sector out of decline, which is why the government is granting additional investment to stimulate growth.
She added, “In the past, choosing an alternatively-powered vehicle meant making a compromise – a compromise on convenience, a compromise on speed or a compromise on range. That’s increasingly no longer the case.”
From the £500 million being made available, more than £30 million will be assigned to advance the developments of low emission buses, continuing the success already experienced by Alexander Dennis, Optare and the Wright Group in this sector.
There is also £25 million set aside to build three advanced bio-fuel plants in the UK, to help stimulate the production of low carbon gas fuels.
Andy Eastlake, Managing Director, Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership, said, “Experience over the last 10 years shows that a consistent policy approach based on collaboration between all stakeholders can deliver dividends. This represents the first strides on the road to meeting the environmental imperative of decarbonising road transport by 2050.
“There are, however, no grounds for complacency and the job is far from done. We urgently need to repeat the success seen in our passenger car and bus sectors in all aspects of road transport, such as truck and commercial vehicle industries, and, of course, the supply of low carbon fuels and energy to power all forms of transport.”
A report produced for the LowCVP by E4tech and the Centre for Automotive Industry Research at Cardiff Business School, suggests that improving greener technology has stimulated both the UK economy and automotive research and development. It also highlighted that some issues still exist in the CV sectors when developing greener technology for vehicles.
The findings indicate that progress in the bus sector is being hindered by use of truck components used, which it claims may not be the best starting point. It points to one operator who had to remap the bus’ gearbox to ensure it could meet the emission targets for its bus duty cycle.
The truck sector is cutting its emissions in line with Euro-6 legislation, meaning many manufacturers are focusing solely on achieving these stringent limits. The report from the LowCVP claims that while funding is available for the development for hybrid truck technology, the current demands placed on VMs by Euro-6 legislation means the venture needs to become commercially viable and that a market support mechanism should be put in place to stimulate the uptake in technology.
Eastlake added, “For example, if hybrid trucks were given preferential access to central London it would have made a difference. As it is, technologies were successfully developed but the precise nature of the cost, complexity or emissions reduction equation meant it was insufficiently attractive to fleet operators.”