TNB News

From the South East to Northern Ireland, the UK CV sector is delivering

01 December 2022 #TNB News

Last week, SMMT visited members in Northern Ireland, and met a variety of skilled workers in the manufacturing sector that are leading the switch to zero emission commercial vehicles.

Wrightbus, which is developing electric and hydrogen buses, gave us a tour of their factory to see the processes that go into building components, such as the chassis and bodywork of their zero emission vehicles – already in towns and cities across the UK and Ireland.

Later, at SDC Trailers, we saw the demanding manufacturing process for building bespoke semi-trailers, from curtainsiders, platforms, box vans and machine carriers, and how the workforce can contribute to business improvements and efficiencies.

We also had the opportunity to meet Alexander Dennis engineers that are working with Computer Aided Design systems for a UK bus. The innovation that is taking place in a room full of like-minded engineers is helping the drive towards zero emission public transport solutions.

Our manufacturing sector presents huge opportunities for the UK’s economic recovery, and a skilled workforce such as theirs is crucial if we are to keep manufacturing output rising next year.

In England this week, there were headlines related to low emission zones, with the Bristol Clean Air Zone going live, meaning that the use of non-compliant vans and taxis in the zone would cost £9, while that of HGVs, buses and coaches will require a £100 charge.

Meanwhile, Sadiq Khan confirmed London’s Ultra-Low Emission Zone will be expanded to cover the whole of Greater London from 29 August 2023. The Mayor is also providing a £110m scrappage scheme for London charities and small businesses to scrap or, for the first time, retrofit their vehicles for certain vans and minibuses. Larger grants will be available for fully electric vehicles. However, the scrappage scheme is launching in late January, allowing only seven months for application and delivery.

CV manufacturers from Essex to Ballymena, Falkirk to Ellesmere Port are doing their level best to ensure the speedy rollout of the latest zero emission technology, with an ever growing range of choice for fleet operators. However, more must be done to make the switch easier, rather than just making ICE mobility more difficult. Ambitious funding that matches government targets, ZEBRA rollout, attractive incentives and the development of public charging infrastructure that is suitable for CVs are necessary if we are to meet our green goals, while keeping society on the move.


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