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Transport round-up

With news on: car brands joining EV campaign; Optare buses for Gateshead; University of Glasgow shipping research; Port of Hamburg carriers; and TfL contractor EVs

Audi, Mitsubishi and Volkswagen join low emission car campaign

Three more car brands – Audi, Mitsubishi and Volkswagen – have joined the UK government’s Go Ultra Low campaign to boost awareness of the benefits of ultra-low emission vehicles, the Department for Transport (DfT) announced yesterday (February 18).

Volkswagan is one of three car firms - along with Audi and Mitsubishi - to join the Go Ultra Low campaign this week

Volkswagen is one of three car firms – along with Audi and Mitsubishi – to join the Go Ultra Low campaign this week

The three firms join existing members of the campaign BMW, Nissan, Renault and Toyota in working to increase the take-up of plug-in cars and vans by raising awareness of the various grants available.

Together, all the manufacturers supporting the campaign offer a range of 15 ULEVs, for which full details of the costs, performance and air quality benefits of each are available on the Go Ultra Low website.

Transport Minister Baroness Kramer said: “The public are increasingly seeing the benefits of ultra-low emission vehicles, which have low running costs and are easily chargeable at home or on the street. We now have seven manufacturers campaigning to show the wide range of styles and prices available so even more people will see what’s on offer, and the significant government help available.”

Hetal Shah, spokeswoman for Go Ultra Low, added: “We’ve discovered that once people learn more about the benefits of these cars and vans, they’re keen to take action – and once they’ve tried them, they’re hooked.”

Last week, the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) announced that more than 25,000 grant claims have been submitted to the government since 2010 through the plug-in car and van scheme, which offers consumers up to £5,000 towards the purchase of a ULEV car and £8,000 towards a ULEV van (see airqualitynews.com story).

Euro 5 Optare Solo buses for Gateshead

Bus manufacturer Optare has supplied five of its Euro 5 emission standard Optare Solo single decker buses to serve multiple routes around Gateshead on behalf of the Tyne and Wear passenger transport authority Nexus.

Gateshead Taxi's five new Optare Solo buses

Gateshead Central Taxi’s five new Optare Solo buses

The 9m long Solo SR buses, which can each seat up to 31 people, will be added to transport firm Gateshead Central Taxi’s first service bus fleet. The company has more than 200 vehicles, including a 24 hour taxi fleet.

Scot Ryan, operations manager at Gateshead Central Taxis, said: “We look forward to a long working relationship with Optare and their support through these initial stages in our new venture.”

Tim Matthews, UK sales and national key account manager at Optare, said: “We are thrilled to be supplying Gateshead Taxis with what we hope will be the first of many Optare buses.”

TfL contractor launches its first two Nissan electric vans

Cambridge engineering firm Z-Tech Control Systems Ltd has launched its first two electric vehicles to join its London office in order to serve its pumping systems maintenance contract with Transport for London (TfL).

Z-Tech's new Nissan electric vans will help serve its pumping systems maintenance contract with Transport for London

Z-Tech’s new Nissan electric vans will help serve its pumping systems maintenance contract with Transport for London (photo: Z-Tech)

The two new zero emission Nissan eNV200s are some of the first all-electric commercial vehicles to be used by a TfL contractor as part of the its commitment to lower air pollution in the UK capital.

And, in order to help promote further uptake of zero emission vehicles, Z-Tech is also offering free charging points at both its London and Cambridge offices, which provide fast charging points for up to two vehicles at a time.

Z-Tech managing director, Michael Swinhoe, said: “We are early adopters of this technology, but having driven these vans, they offer a viable alternative to the combustion engine, particularly within central London.”

Ian Featherstone, knowledge manager for the Energy Saving Trust (EST) said: “There is a strong business case for the adoption of electric vehicles and this is shown through our work with over 150 of the UK’s fleets. The recent uptake of these vehicles has provided greater impetus to reduce CO2 emissions and harmful nitrogen dioxide emissions which pose a significant health risk.”

Ted Sakyi, fleet manager for London Underground, said: “By taking part in the Rapid Chargepoint Mapping project, Z-Tech will help shape the future deployment of rapid charge points in the capital, and as vans and other light goods vehicles account for more than three-quarters of the freight miles in London, this could have a real impact on reducing carbon emissions and improving air quality.”

Barry Beeston, corporate sales Director at Nissan Motor (GB), said: “We’re delighted that Z-Tech Control Systems is working with the Energy Saving Trust (EST) and Transport for London (TfL) on this project which will ultimately provide the rapid charging infrastructure that will help Nissan e-NV200 become a massive success.”

University of Glasgow to help research shipping emissions

The University of Glasgow, marine engineering firm Sembcorp Marine and Singapore’s Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), have signed an agreement to collaborate on developing new hull designs for large ocean vessels to boost fuel efficiency and reduce air pollution emissions.

Under the Under the three-year memorandum of understanding, the three organisations will use modelling to design vessels with improved hydrodynamics for better fuel efficiency.

In addition, they will collaborate to reduce harmful exhaust emissions and discharges by enhancing the vessel scrubbers and ballast treatment services. The research will see them analyse gas abatement technology to address emissions of sulphur oxides (SOx), nitrous oxides (NOx), particulate matter and greenhouse gases.

According to the University of Glasgow, such designs are needed to meet the International Maritime Organisation (IMO)’s new 2015 standards on air pollution from shipping. As such, the three partners are also considering the creation of a joint research and development laboratory on shipping efficiency.

Dr Gianmarco Radice, director of UGS – a partnership between the University of Glasgow and the Singapore Institute of Technology – said: “To achieve innovation, it is increasingly important for industry, research centres and academia to collaborate with each other. By leveraging on the capabilities from all partners, we can accelerate the innovation necessary to bring next-generation technologies in eco-shipping to the marine and offshore sector, quickly and cost-effectively.”

New low emission diesel carriers at Port of Hamburg

German logistics firm HHLA has begun operating what it claims are 12 of the world’s lowest-emission straddle carriers at its Burchardkai Container Terminal at the Port of Hamburg.

The low emission diesel carriers have been installed at the Port of Hamburg in Germany

The low emission diesel carriers have been installed at the Port of Hamburg in Germany (photo: HHLA)

In operation since mid-January, the new diesel-electric vehicles are compliant with Euro 4 emission standards and “make an important contribution” towards reducing emissions at the container terminal. A total of 133 straddle carriers are now in use at the Terminal.

According to HHLA, the new straddle carriers’ emissions of nitrogen oxides are 94% lower compared to their Euro 1 standard predecessors, while they also generate 95% less particulate matter.

HHLA executive board member responsible for the container segment, Dr. Stefan Behn, said: “By adding the twelve new straddle carriers, we have further expanded the fleet of vehicles at the Container Terminal Burchardkai. This enables us to further increase Burchardkai’s performance capabilities, especially at peak times.”

He added: “The Port of Hamburg is in the middle of the city. That makes it important to keep harmful emissions as low as possible. We at HHLA are using cutting-edge technologies and intelligent solutions to further reduce emissions at our terminals.”

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