LowCVP’s (Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership) recently launched Low Carbon HGV technology accreditation scheme is to be rolled out UK-wide to encourage uptake of fuel-saving equipment. Speaking at the organisation’s annual conference in London, transport minister Andrew Jones stated that the scheme will help tackle one of the most challenging barriers to operators considering retrofit truck technology – the lack of independent verification.
LowCVP’s partners have developed what they describe as an “accurate, reproducible and representative procedure” for verifying the efficacy of fuel-efficiency interventions on trucks and vans. The procedure enables equipment manufacturers and vehicle operators alike to conduct “robust and reliable” back-to-back tests to validate claimed impacts on fuel consumption and emissions of, for example, low rolling resistance tyres, aerodynamic kits and after-treatment retrofits.
As equipment is tested at MIRA and Millbrook, over the next few months, the partners (see panel) expect to establish a ‘go-to’ database for comparative fuel-saving data by duty cycle. The scheme is also intended to provide information on operational characteristics, enabling operators better to gauge applicability.
Industry leaders appear receptive, with TfL’s (Transport for London) LoCity arguing that it will help encourage uptake of low-emission trucks and vans in the capital. “With a range of products and services on the market, all aiming to reduce vehicle emissions, it [has been] difficult to know which are the most cost-effective,” observes Andrew Lowery, vice-chair of its HGV working group. “LoCITY therefore welcomes the launch of this certification scheme.”
“This scheme will unlock the impasse in the market where truck operators to date have only had suppliers’ word for it that that their retrofits will save them fuel, money and emissions,” states Brian Robinson, programme manager for commercial vehicles at LowCVP. Trial equipment, he explains, will be mounted on donor vehicles fitted with tailpipe PEMS (portable emissions measurement system) and put through its paces at MIRA or Millbrook.
Although suppliers will be required to fund accreditation, there may be scope for pump-priming funds in the short term, he adds. However, as we go to press, no announcements have yet been made.
Either way, this is an important step in the right direction. According to government data, commercial vehicles have been contributing a rising share of road transport emissions – now accounting for more than 30% of CO2 from the sector. While emissions from HGVs are down around 9% since 1990, against latest (2014) figures, emissions from vans have grown by 48%.
Developed with support from OLEV (the Office for Low Emission Vehicles) and DfT – and also drawing on European work on HGV carbon measurement – the HGV technology accreditation scheme involved collaboration with Horiba Mira, Millbrook, TRL, Michelin, Stobart Group, Mercedes Truck, TfL and the Transport KTN (knowledge transfer network).
“The work we have conducted with LowCVP has produced a test protocol that has proven to be robust, with excellent repeatability,” confirms David Blanchard, performance durability technical specialist at Horiba Mira. “We are delighted that fleet operators now have a tool to validate fuel saving technology, which we hope will lead to faster adoption – ultimately leading to a reduction of tailpipe emissions on the UK’s roads.”
“Earlier work by LowCVP identified that the absence of reliable, robust and accessible data was one of the most significant barriers to the adoption of low carbon and fuel saving technology in trucks,” comments LowCVP managing director Andy Eastlake. “We believe this initiative will encourage ... many innovations, saving carbon and costs.”