Nearly £500m awarded to help improve construction freight movement in congested urban areas

13 November 2019

Innovate UK has awarded a major contract for the development of a new Freight Traffic Control (FTC) platform to help manage construction freight movements and deliveries in congested urban areas.

The £485,000 contract was awarded to North East-based Grid Smarter Cities which will work with partners Croydon Council and EB Charging to develop and pilot an ‘alpha’ product in a live construction development in Croydon borough from March 2020.

The project will explore the potential of vehicle telematics, 3D mapping and Electric Vehicles on the future of construction logistic operations.

The end goal will be to develop a solution, building on Grid Smarter Cities’ award-winning ‘Kerb’ system, that will improve ease of movement for commercial operators when heading into and around the construction site, whilst reducing congestion and the environmental impact of HGVs.

Neil Herron, CEO and Founder of Grid Smarter Cities, said, “The Kerb FTC Project represents a great opportunity to showcase how practical innovation can deliver real impacts and we are excited to be working with the Croydon Council who are a trailblazing local authority intent on leading the way.

“Improving air quality is a key issue for society to address, and we are intent on being able to deliver technology that offers simple, easy to adopt process improvements to assist in construction freight logistics and the wider transport sectors.”

Councillor Stuart King, cabinet lead for environment and transport at Croydon Council, said, “This is an innovative project that will help us to monitor, manage and regulate HGV journeys across Croydon. This will help us try and make sure deliveries arrive not only in a timely manner but even more importantly that the journeys are as safe and green as possible.”

Karla Jakeman, Innovation Lead for Connected Transport & Communications at Innovate UK, added, “This project is a great example of how an SME can work with local authorities to solve real life issues around freight. This can provide a blueprint which can transferred to other local authorities around the UK. The potential spinoffs from this project are particularly exciting.”

Volvo Trucks begins EV sales

13 November 2019

Sales of Volvo Trucks’ new electric FL and FE models have started in selected markets across Europe.

Designed to meet increasing demand for sustainable transport solutions in city environments, the new trucks will initially be sold in Sweden, Norway, Germany, Switzerland, France and the Netherlands.

But plans are also in place to roll-out into the UK and Ireland at a later date, still to be confirmed.

Jonas Odermalm, VP Product Line Electromobility at Volvo Trucks, said, “Global urbanisation requires urban logistics and truck transport with zero emissions and less noise with increasing urgency.

“With the Volvo FL Electric and Volvo FE Electric we are able to meet both the strong environmental demands as well as the high commercial requirements of our customers.”

The Volvo FL Electric and Volvo FE Electric were developed in close collaboration with selected customers operating in Gothenburg, Sweden.

According to the brand, the feedback from drivers has been overwhelmingly positive.

Production of the series is planned for March 2020.

FEATURE: Five minutes with David Thackray, Sales and Marketing Director, Tevva

13 November 2019

British e-truck and EV technology pioneer Tevva has launched an innovative vehicle hire programme designed to help those fleets ready to take the next step towards electrification. Known as ELECTRIFY, the scheme will see Tevva deploy up to 50 12-tonne trucks across the UK and Europe over the next two years. Businesses would then be able to rent electric trucks for three to six months. This will give fleets all the real-world data they need to inform future purchases. TNB caught up with the company’s Sales and Marketing Director, David Thackray, to find out what the company hopes to achieve.

Tell us the background to ELECTRIFY. How did it come about?

We knew that as we progressed through 2019 into 2020, we were going to have a relatively mature technology platform but a challenge in terms of how quickly we could get scaled up.

We expect to produce in the order of 100-150 vehicles next year, but at least 1,000 in 2021 and double that in 2022 and double again in 2023.

But all that takes time – time to build capacity, time to recruit, time to enable your inbound supply chain etc.

So we knew there was going to be a time delay in terms of how long it would take to get to real scale and we wanted to be able to ensure that when that scale was ready to deploy, we had a customer base that was ready to order in quantity.

What are the other benefits to the programme?

Well, for our part it enables us to connect with a much larger volume of customers than we might otherwise do with the product and quantity that we have available.

At the same time though, it enables those customers to get a deeper understanding of what they can use, how they can use it, where they can use it and actually, what detailed specs they’re going to end up wanting when it comes to significant procurement.

What response have you had to ELECTRIFY?

Amazing! Even better than we could have hoped.

Of all the people I’ve spoken to, and I’m talking to fleet directors and logistics managers and so forth, the response has been 100% in favour.

We recognize that as the emergent technology, we need to demonstrate and prove in the real world how that technology can be practically applied in everyday operations and the response I get from the big fleets is that they’re red hot keen.

We initially looked to deploy between 8 and 10 vehicles in the UK but we’re now looking at what we can do to deploy at least 15 because we’re significantly oversubscribed.

By helping fleets get to grips with electrification, is there an extent to which you are doing your competitors’ jobs for them?

Effectively, Tevva is taking a lead, and I’m very comfortable with that.

I think realistically, we expect that by 2024 we’ll be producing about 6,000 vehicles a year and that’s quite a significant contribution, but if you consider that’s going to be at least Europe-wide, it represents only a small proportion of the total market and therefore I’m not concerned if we pave the way for others.

By the mid-2020s I expect the demand for electric HGVs will be significantly greater than the supply.

What do you see as the timeframe for wholesale electrification?

I personally believe that 2030 will quickly start to come into view as the date people talk about and if you’re looking at 2030, you’re looking at procurement of vehicles in 2023 that will be in service in 2030, and in actual fact you’ll be going to tender for those vehicles as early as 2022.

So, we are going to be into a tipping point some time very, very soon. And by way of evidence several cities in EU that we are talking to are targeting zero emission zones as early as 2025.

As soon as it’s clear that the product is there, I think the cities, regions and even the countries will deem that the time is right to legislate. They will take that view based on an understanding that it can be done now, and therefore they will press the button and say, ‘you need to get on with it and do it by this date’. Initiatives like ELECTRIFY can only facilitate and accelerate that process.

For all of the above reasons, I expect that companies involved in the manufacture of electric trucks and electric truck technologies will probably find that they are managing a waiting list rather than looking for a home for their production.

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Fuel supplier offers first net zero emissions fuel for HGVs

13 November 2019

A Solihull-based fuel company is aiming to become to become the UK’s first supplier of carbon neutral fuel for HGVs, supplying carbon neutral biomethane from 2021.

CNG Fuels plans to use renewable biomethane – produced from manure – to meet its goal of helping fleet operators achieve Net Zero emissions.

The company is also consulting on how its network of refuelling stations can best accommodate low-carbon hydrogen and battery electric technologies for HGVs, so that it can support customers when these become commercially viable.

Philip Fjeld, CEO of CNG Fuels, said, “We want to help decarbonise freight transport and enable fleet operators to meet Net Zero targets now, supporting the UK’s climate targets.

“Renewable biomethane sourced from manure is currently the best low-carbon solution for HGVs, but we want to be ready to support our customers when other technologies are commercially viable for freight transport.”

Andy Eastlake, Managing Director of the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership, said: “With all the focus on electrification, the low carbon combustion fuels might be overlooked. But it is vital to remember that Net Zero can be delivered in a number of ways.

“The LowCVP welcome genuinely zero (or even negative) carbon solutions which exist here and now and we must accelerate the uptake of these fuel solutions, particularly in the more challenging operations such as heavy road vehicles where they can best displace fossil diesel.”

Manure gives off methane, a greenhouse gas 28 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. Using methane as an HGV fuel prevents it from going into the atmosphere and reduces overall emissions.

BYD and Toyota form R&D alliance

13 November 2019

BYD and Toyota have joined forces to establish a joint company that will conduct research and development for Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs), including buses and commercial vehicles.

The new R&D company, which will work on designing and developing BEVs and their related parts, is expected to be established in China in 2020, with BYD and Toyota each controlling a 50% stake.

BYD Senior Vice President, Lian Yu-bo, said, “We aim to combine BYD’s strengths in development and competitiveness in the battery electric vehicle market with Toyota’s quality and safety technology to provide the best BEV products for the market demand and consumer affection as early as we can.”

Toyota Executive Vice President, Shigeki Terashi, added, “With the same goal to further promote the widespread use of electrified vehicles, we appreciate that BYD and Toyota can become ‘teammates’, able to put aside our rivalry and collaborate. We hope to further advance and expand both BYD and Toyota from the efforts of the new company with BYD.”

Irizar batteries to get second life

13 November 2019

Batteries used in Irizar electric buses and coaches are to be given a second life as part of a new collaboration.

The new partnership between the Spanish manufacturer and electric mobility company Ibil will see the batteries reused as energy storage elements in charging facilities Ibil is developing and deploying at Repsol service stations and others.

Irizar says the useful life of batteries can reach 15 years for urban electric buses, because they are charged daily and at high power. After that time has passed, it says the accumulators need to be replaced in order for the vehicle to maintain its original functionality. The end of the first life, however, does not mean that the batteries have lost all their charging capacity. So, rather than disposing of the batteries, sustainable reuse in charging station storage applications will be introduced. This will help to stabilise energy demands when vehicles are charged at high power.

Manheim sees rising demand for used vans

13 November 2019

Figures released by auction company Manheim show there was a strong market for used commercial vehicles in October.

The number of vehicles auctioned increased and high demand meant 84% of LCVs sold first-time.

Meanwhile, almost half of the commercial vehicles (47%) sold to online buyers – an increase of 11% year-on-year.

In all there was a 13% MoM increase in volume sold, while the number of first-time sales was up 4% on the September figure.

Matthew Davock, Manheim’s Director of Commercial Vehicles, said, “The first-time conversion rate is a very important measure for us, because it’s a strong indicator of demand in the market.

“We sell a huge variety of stock, so when buyer interest is low those vehicles that need recon work typically take longer to sell. That just wasn’t the case in October as buyers faced fierce competition online and in the lanes.”

According to Manheim, the competitive marketplace translated to a slight uplift in price, and performance against the guide price improved by 2.3% MoM.

And with a significant increase in online bids, Manheim saw its average days-to-sell rate fall to just 9.7 days, down a full six days on October 2018.

Davock added, “In this buoyant wholesale market our online sales channels are increasingly important for buyers looking for stock, and more vendors are keen to remarket stock 24/7 and reap the rewards of reducing their days to sell.

“In October, 13% of the LCVs we sold were bought online before they reached any physical auction, taking an average of just five days to sell.”

Looking ahead Davock expects to see the market remain healthy in November, with consistent wholesale volume and buyer interest.

He said, “Our buyers reported positive retail activity and good signs of stability in October, and with a strong stock pipeline at Manheim, November is looking good.

“Towards the end of the month, stock with excess damage will start to be more challenging as buyers weigh up preparation time against potential time-to-sell. Vendors would be well advised to take this into account when setting a reserve for poorer stock profile vehicles as we move into December.”

Hydrogen powered Toyota tractor enters service at Port of LA

13 November 2019

Toyota has unveiled a new hydrogen fuel cell electric UTR (Utility Tractor Rig) – claimed to be a world first – which is now in operation at the Port of LA.

The prototype, known as UNO, has been deployed at the Fenix container port as a test of how zero-emission container handling equipment could operate in a real-world, marine terminal environment.

Andrew Lund, chief engineer, Product Development, Toyota Motor North America Research and Development, said, “We view the hydrogen fuel cell electric UTR ‘Uno’ as an expansion of our Project Portal hydrogen fuel cell electric Class 8 heavy duty truck development.

“We appreciate the support of the Port of LA and Fenix Marine Services to allow us to demonstrate another application of Toyota’s hydrogen fuel cell electric technology.”

Fenix’s terminal, located at Pier 300 in the Port of LA, handles over one million containers per year and deployment of the UNO will help to meet its ongoing commitment to the Port’s Clean Air Action Plan goals.

Gene Seroka, executive director of the Port of Los Angeles, said, “The UNO deployment demonstrates how cutting-edge environmental technology and maritime operations are not mutually exclusive.

“We applaud Fenix for constantly looking at how to move containers in the most economical and environmentally efficient way.”

The UNO is powered by the same modular fuel cell foundation as Toyota’s zero emission Mirai electric passenger cars and Project PORTAL electric semi-truck prototypes.

The hydrogen fuel provides quicker refuelling time than battery-electric options. The first UNO test cycle at Fenix ran for 2.5 hours per trial on the rail and consumed one fill of its two hydrogen tanks. Additional tanks can be added for the desired range and can be filled in around 3 minutes, allowing much quicker options to get back on the road than battery.

FEATURE: Diversifying a show to reflect the needs of a changing industry

07 November 2019
By Tim Mustin, Sales and Marketing Manager, CV Show

As the UK’s largest commercial vehicle event, the CV show has traditionally been a forum for the industry as a whole, but this year in particular, not only has the show seen an impressive number of newcomers to the industry take exhibitor space, but also the return of several big brands to the NEC show.

It’s true to say that one of the stated aims of the CV Show is to ensure that as the industry diversifies, so does the event. It’s a key fact that the UK is the online shopping capital of Europe, with more than 80% of British consumers making regular purchases online, the SME and sole traders are playing and ever more key role in the sector.

So, we welcome these relative newcomers to the CV space, and our ethos of inclusivity is paying off. This year we have seen approximately 25% of enquiries for exhibitor spaces coming from businesses that are looking to attend the show for the first time, and we are committed to strengthening this percentage going forwards.

It’s key that as a show, we offer our attendees and exhibitors the greatest possible exposure to a broad range of ingenuous solutions to the myriad issues facing today’s operators. These operators make up the backbone of the UK economy, so we will ensure to attract a range of bespoke solutions to meet individual requirements.

LEVC is a major manufacturer that is attending the show for the first time in 2020. With the proven success of their London Taxi product behind them, the firm will be exhibiting a number of their vehicles at the 2020 show, one of which will be the unveiled as a new commercial vehicle, based on the EV platform.

As technology evolves around the industry, so does the regulation surrounding it. To this end, new for 2020 will be the informal theatres, which will serve as forums for education and debate throughout the event. One of the aims will be to simplify the complex regulatory issues and changes that are being faced by those within the CV industry, and allow attendees to leave the informal theatre events with a greater understanding of how they can both futureproof their businesses and benefit from these regulatory changes as they come into play.

Van market falls in October but new models help offset market weakness

05 November 2019

  • UK new van market falls again, down -11.0% in October as uncertainty bites.
  • Larger van registrations decline -19.2%, but demand for small and mid-sized vans rises 2.0% and 31.0% respectively.
  • Year-to-date performance up 3.1% with 311,989 of the latest low emission models hitting UK roads.



UK new light commercial vehicle (LCV) registrations fell -11.0% in October, the second consecutive monthly decline, according to the latest figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). Some 3,121 fewer models were registered in the month, as uncertainty and regulatory changes continued to affect the market.

In October, registrations of larger vans weighing 2.5-3.5 tonnes declined by -19.2%. Small vans weighing less than 2.0 tonnes and medium vans weighing 2.0-2.5 tonnes, however, posted rises of 2.0% and 31.0% respectively. The 4×4 segment also rose, up 65.0%, while pickup demand fell -12.0%. Despite the negative performance, year-to-date van registrations remain up 3.1% with 311,989 new vehicles joining UK roads so far in 2019.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said,

A second consecutive month of decline for new van registrations gives cause for concern, as uncertainty continues to have a negative impact on the purchasing of big ticket items. We need to reverse this trend, getting more of the latest models onto our roads to help improve air quality especially in urban areas. Crucial to this will be restoring economic and political stability to the UK, giving businesses the confidence to invest in their fleets.