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Latest transport and environment news

The latest transport and environment news from STS and around the world:

Final places on Plugged-in-Fleets Initiative   [20.02.2014]

A handful of places exist for fleet managers to sign up to the Government-backed Plugged-in Fleets Initiative 100 to discover if electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles make sense for their businesses.

As part of the Plugged-in Fleets Initiative (PIFI), which is funded by the Department for Transport and Transport for London, the Energy Saving Trust is undertaking a free bespoke analysis on 100 fleets to help them understand where ultra-low emission vehicles could work for them.

More than 90 fleets have so far taken part in the initiatives, but there is still time for further fleets to apply - go to or email

Interested fleets should complete an application form and provide data about their fleet including the types of cars and vans operated, usage and mileage patterns.

Based on information provided and interviews with an organisation’s fleet decision-maker, the Energy Saving Trust team will provide a detailed report and analysis using whole life vehicle costs with recommendations of how plug-in vehicles could work in a business.

Although current PIFI funding expires on April 5, the Government is currently exploring options for a further phase in 2014/15.

£900,000 fund boosts low carbon vehicles   [20.12.2013]

Five new initiatives that will develop innovative low carbon technologies have been announced. Based in North East England, the projects will receive £900k investment from the Collaborative Projects Fund, through the Regional Growth Fund, to work towards commercialising products and services that stimulate business growth and enable the country's low carbon vehicle transition.

"This continued investment is great news for the companies directly affected, but crucial for the UK's ability to develop a comprehensive infrastructure that supports the take-up of low carbon vehicles," says Dr. Colin Herron, managing director of Zero Carbon Futures, which oversees the fund.

"The electric vehicle (EV) revolution is gathering pace, and the North East is becoming a hub of infrastructure development and subsequent EV adoption. It is vital for projects such as those supported by the Collaborative Projects Fund to continue evolving innovative solutions that help integrate or improve low carbon vehicle technologies.

"For example, one of the successful projects, led by Route Monkey, will develop a software package that analyzes usage patterns of EVs to help work out residual values and optimize the total cost of ownership," continues Herron. "This will help make EVs appeal to fleet managers who are under increasing pressure to reduce the running costs and carbon footprint of their operations. As EVs are still a new technology there is currently very little information on the long-term value of vehicles and degradation of battery performance, but an accurate forecast of performance reduces leasing companies' risk and future financing costs."

The Government's Regional Growth Fund is a £3.2 billion fund designed to help companies in England grow. So far, £2.6 billion of funding has been allocated to support projects and programmes committed to deliver sustainable jobs and economic growth.

The investment is a further boost for the region, which will soon be home to a centre of excellence for low carbon technologies. The Future Technology Centre, which is owned and managed by Zero Carbon Futures, will be open for business in early 2014 and will drive the UK's transition to a low carbon future, laying the foundations for the country to fortify its position as a European leader in the development and implementation of these technologies.

Route Monkey is working with Teesside University and Urban Foresight to deliver their innovative project – the other four projects are:

AVID Technology Group Ltd and Newcastle University are working to develop an improved DC fan and water pump with new motor and controller assembly, which will improve performance, reduce weight and costs, as well as directly creating 46 new jobs.

Seaward Electronics Ltd and Teesside University are to develop an EV charging point tester which would ensure safety, functionality and efficiency of commercial and domestic charging points. Eight new jobs will be created.

Sevcon Ltd and Wolverine Tube are to model and develop a novel High Voltage Low Power Inverter for use in EVs that can also improve the efficiency of non-EVs. Twenty-five direct new jobs will be created by this research and development project.

Hyperdrive and Wylam Professional Services (WPS) aims to develop products and associated engineering services in data loggers and GPRS enabled control ECUs for automotive, defense, marine and portable power applications. The project will generate three direct, and four indirect jobs.

The third bidding round of The Low Emission Transport Collaborative Projects Fund is now open with a total of £574,000 available for applicants. This is the final opportunity to bid for funding to undertake collaborative, near market research to bring new products to market to support the growth of the low emission transport sector in the North East.

The fund is managed by Gateshead College and Zero Carbon Futures and administered by New Skills Consulting.

Food-based biofuels allowance increased   [04.12.2013]

The EU will raise the cap on biofuels produced from food crops from 4.7% to 7% by 2020.

The issue is a delicate one, and many campaigners say that using food crops to create fuel for cars is worse than burning fossil fuels as it causes deforestation and hunger.

The EU has been debating the percentage of food-based biofuels that can contribute to total transport energy consumption for some time. Currently the allowed share is 4.7%, and the EU had proposed increasing this to 5% and later lifting it to 6%, after lobbying from biofuel and agriculture sectors.

But it will now be lifted even further to 7%. A draft EU directive said: "The share of energy from biofuels produced from cereal and other starch rich crops, sugars and oil crops shall be no more than 7% of the final consumption of energy in transport in 2020."

In 2009 the EU stated that the target for renewable fuels would be 10%, with biofuels being possibly the main contributor to achieving this target. Blending with petrol and diesel over the last few years has been an effective way to introduce renewable biofuels into the market.

Although biofuels are considered by some to be effective renewable energy sources and produce less greenhouse gases, others say that the land use change and impact has an overall negative effect on the environment. The EU does place regulations on the types of land that can be used to grow biofuels, protecting those that are sensitive.

Govt consults on EV support measures   [18.11.2013]

The Deputy Prime Minister has called for innovative ideas from key players in the automotive industry to help the UK stay ahead of global competition and secure our position as global leader in ultra low emission vehicles.

The call comes following the government's announcement of a £500 million investment to drive a low carbon revolution.

The investment, which the government announced in June, will be used to support the growing market between 2015 and 2020 and is one of the most substantial packages of support for ultra low emissions vehicles in the world. It will be used to support electric cars and other vehicles that produce almost no carbon, creating jobs and boosting economic growth, as well as tackling climate change and air quality issues.

At an event hosted by the Green Alliance, the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, said: "The UK's automotive industry has undergone a renaissance in recent years and we have the potential to emerge as a trailblazer in the development, design and manufacture of green cars."

"We're doing well compared to our European competitors, helped by a buoyant UK car market. But, if we're to stay ahead we need to secure the UK's position as both a global leader in the production and adoption of low carbon vehicles. We need to see more people who live in Britain driving these cars and enjoying the lower running costs they can bring."

"The job now is making sure that we get the most out of every penny, so today I am launching a call for evidence from key players in the industry to find out how we kick start demand and make the UK the number one European destination for investment in ultra low emissions vehicles."

The additional £500 million will build on the £400 million the government has already committed from 2010 to 2015 to take low emission vehicles from a niche to a mainstream market – with support to increase plug in points, boost consumer interest, and strengthen research and development.

A thriving auto sector is vital to the UK economy – it is currently worth over £11 billion to our economy and represents 7% of all manufacturing output. A strong foothold in low emission automotive technologies will be vital to its ongoing success.

The UK already offers one of the most long-term, comprehensive packages of support for consumers looking to make the transition to ultra low emission vehicles and we want to make sure that this reputation is maintained and enhanced over the next period.

The call for evidence is seeking opinions on where emphasis should be placed and if particular areas, for example taxis and fleet vehicles, should be targeted more directly. Government is inviting industry, local authorities, fleet managers and others with an interest in this sector to respond to encourage more people to choose vehicles with the lowest possible emissions.

It builds on the government's previous successful package of support that led Nissan to base European production of the world's best selling ULEV here in the UK. It has delivered wider benefits to the sector throughout the supply chain helping SMEs across the country.

Over 6,000 ULEVs have been sold in the UK with government-funded consumer incentives and thousands of charging points have been installed.

The call for evidence will close on 10 January 2014 and details will be published of the planned 2015 to 2020 package later in 2014.

Sign up for FREE plugged-in fleets review   [19.09.2013]

Can going electric save you money? Find out with the Plugged-in Fleets Initiative 100.

The Energy Saving Trust is offering 100 fleets a FREE plugged-in fleets review to help you decide if EVs are practical and financially attractive.

Having worked with 25 fleets last year, including the Heathrow Clean Vehicle Partnership and Tristar Chauffeurs, EST have shown that the majority of fleets have the opportunity to save money by switching some of their vehicles to EV. Thanks to the government grant for EVs, company car tax incentives, and low running costs, it makes business sense to assess how EVs could benefit your fleet.

Each fleet will receive a tailored review based on their real life data comparing existing vehicles with potential plug-in alternatives, as well as infrastructure advice.

"An excellent project with a realistic approach. Taking part in the PIFI project highlighted some opportunities to run plug-in hybrids on our fleet and the Volvo V60 plug-in hybrid is now one of the vehicles that we choose to operate." Jan Kozlowski, Fleet Manager, Tristar Cars Ltd.

For more information or to apply contact or Caroline Watson Knowledge Manager at Energy Saving Trust 0207 227 0310.

More details can be found at

Click here to download the PIFI 100 application form.

Diary Date: CVP Seminar 27th September 2013   [17.09.2013]

The next CVP Seminar will take place on the morning of 27th September at the Heathrow Academy, Heathrow.

The conference, titled 'Air Quality Around Airports – Issues and Solutions', will focus on three key issues: Driver training and telematics; Low-emissions vehicles - International experience; and New fuels for Heathrow.

To attend the free event, contact the Clean Vehicle Partnership.

CVP Seminar Agenda
27th September 2013

Event: Hybrid Powertrain 2013, 17-18 July London   [21.05.2013]

A dedicated hybrid vehicle technical forum is to take place in London on July 17th and July 18th this year.

The 'Hybrid Powertrain 2013: Component & System Level Technological Development Summit' event is the first dedicated technical forum to be held in Europe providing engineering focused briefings on achieving the optimal balance between cost, performance and commercial viability.

Increasingly strict emissions regulations, and delays in mass-market adoption of pure electric vehicles means hybrid vehicle development has become a key priority for the automotive industry.

Combining increasingly efficient internal combustion engines with the emission reducing affect of electrification offers a significant opportunity to obtain CO2 reduction across vehicle fleets, but critically also deliver the right level of performance for your customers.

However technological advances, efficiency gains and cost reductions must be secured from batteries, engines and motors, to innovation with control architectures and packaging.

The OEM-Led Speaker Faculty Includes: Ford, Jaguar Land Rover, Peugeot Citroen, Daimler, Tata Motors, Ferrari, Lotus Engineering, Porsche Engineering, GM, McLaren Automotive, SAIC, Vauxhall, Alexander Dennis, plus many more…

To attend the event you need to register through the official event official event website. Registrations before May 17th will receive an automatic £200 discount.

London to develop Ultra Low Emission Zone   [11.04.2013]

The Mayor of London has announced his intention to create the world's first Ultra Low Emission Zone in central London, with the aim to deliver dramatic benefits in air quality.

Boris Johnson believes that the decision will provide a major spur for the further development and mass take-up of ultra low emission vehicles.

He has asked Transport for London to prepare plans to look at introducing a scheme that would aim to ensure all vehicles driving in the centre of the capital during working hours would be zero or ultra low emission, and the feasibility of introducing such a scheme from 2020. TfL are to begin work on preparing options for a public consultation on an ultra low emission zone.

The Mayor's proposed package of transport measures includes:
* Extra hybrid buses – to increase the number of hybrid buses in London to over 1,600 by 2016.
* New Euro Standard 6 buses – the Mayor now proposes to retire the last 900 Euro 3 buses so that all of TfL’s buses will be of Euro 4 or better for NOx emissions by the end of 2015.
* A new zero emission taxi – potential taxi designs that offer no emissions at the point of use will be explored.
* More energy efficiency measures – will be encouraged in homes, schools and public buildings.

The Mayor of London's Environment Advisor, Matthew Pencharz, said: "The Mayor has put together a team that takes air quality seriously and that is why he has confirmed another £20 million will be devoted to improving local air quality. He has also brought forward a package of measures that will deliver double the emissions savings originally forecast for phase five of the Low Emission Zone, whilst saving businesses already battling through a tough economic climate from a £350 million bill."

EST Plugged-in Fleets Initiative extended   [28.02.2013]

Energy Saving Trust (EST) has announced it will be offering 100 organisations in England a free analysis of their fleets to see if and how electric vehicles will work for them.

The initiative, funded by the Office for Low Emission Vehicles, follows the successful completion of the original Plugged-in Fleets Initiative (PIFI) of which the Heathrow CVP was a project participant.

In 2012/13 EST demonstrated how 20 of the UK's leading organisations from the public and private sector could adapt their fleets to electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles. It was found that organisations switching to electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles could reduce their fuel costs by an average of 75%.

The full results of the analysis were published last month in a report called "Charging Forward", which found a strong business case for most of the 20 fleets to adopt plug-in vehicles, with some reviews even offering a strong case for fleets to be 100% electric.

This next step, known as "PIFI 100" will deliver a further 100 reviews with organisations across England being invited to apply now. As part of PIFI 100 each organisation will receive guidance, detailed analysis and a strategic plan for the introduction of electric vehicles into their fleets.

Organisations that participate in PIFI 100 will receive:
* An analysis of where and how plug-in vehicles could work in the business
* A whole life cost analysis, comparing existing vehicles with plug-in alternatives
* An outline of what needs to change to allow plug-in vehicles to make practical or financial sense for the organisation
* Infrastructure guidance, including charging point advice
* And, a tailored final report with clear recommendations on recharging infrastructure and scheduling analysis.

To register an interest in taking part in PIFI 100, either email or call the Energy Saving Trust Transport team on 0207 227 0310.

New ECO Stars fleet recognition schemes   [15.02.2013]

Four more areas of the UK are benefiting from the launch of the ECO Stars Fleet Recognition Scheme in the first quarter of 2013. The scheme is being launched in the following areas at events with new fleet operator members inThurrock (Essex), Falkirk (Scotland), York and Nottingham.

The ECO Stars (Efficient and Cleaner Operations) Fleet Recognition Scheme, helps HGV, LGV, bus and coach fleet operators gain recognition for their commitment to improving efficiency, reducing fuel consumption and reducing emissions – all helping to improve local air quality.

The scheme's Effective Fuel Management Programmes, comprises of individual component measures such as monitoring and targeting fleet fuel use, driver training and use of supporting equipment and systems, lie at the heart of operational efficiency.

Cllr Andy Smith, Thurrock Council's portfolio holder for transport, said: “The Thurrock Freight Quality Partnership will provide operational efficiency measures - particularly in relation to operating cleaner vehicles and managing fuel use – and can lead to financial savings and improved environmental performance.”

According to figures from the Department for Transport Freight Best Practice Programme, by implementing the key measures recommended by the ECO Stars scheme, a typical HGV operator could expect to reduce fuel consumption by a minimum of 5% in the first year, worth over £2,000 per vehicle (based on 80,000 miles pa, 8 mpg and £1 per litre of diesel).

For more information about ECOSTARS Europe, which is supported by the Intelligent Energy Europe programme, visit

All party group to promote cycling in UK   [25.01.2013]

This week marks the start of a pioneering inquiry centred around getting Britons on their bicycles, in order to tackle health, congestion and pollution issues.

The All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group (APPCG) is already taking evidence for the inquiry entitled: Get Britain Cycling. There will be six evidence sessions with a panel of MPs and Peers who will take verbal evidence from a selected group of witnesses. The last session will be on the 6th March.

Excluding tourism and racing, Britons are around the bottom of almost every other European cycling ranking. Only 2.2% of Britons use bikes as their main means of transport – much lower than in most European countries.

Compared with 40% in Denmark and 20% in Sweden, only around 2% of British children cycle to school. Almost 75% of British cyclists are male which gives the sport a macho appearance, unlike in any other countries.

Many cycle groups contend that infrastructure is the key to making cycling widespread – most importantly a practical network of cycle lanes, spate from faster traffic and with protection at junctions. However, this would take considerable investment; for cycling to even begin to catch up with our European neighbours, it has been estimated that around £1.1 billion would be needed.

The Guardian, All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group

London conference to address EV barriers   [15.01.2013]

The Electric Vehicle Conference – Overcoming Barriers, Driving Adoption – is a one day event that will take place this year on the 30th April at the Grand Connaught Rooms in Central London.

The industry-led conference and networking event is aimed at exploring the barriers of electric vehicle adoption and exploring various practical business models for moving the industry forward.

Among others, the 26 senior speakers will include Waitrose Ltd, UPS EMEA, Heathrow Airport Ltd, JC Decaux UK Limited, OLEV, London Borough of Hackney, Renault UK, Speedy Services, Continental, and Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust. A range of inputs from a good mix of organisations will bring some interesting debates and opportunities to the event.

At the event, expect to hear best-practice advice from EV pioneers, explore real-world EV models, assess how your organisation can challenge perceptions, understand how utility companies are responding to EV demand and take a look at how and when OEMs will increase range, lower costs and encourage uptake... gain a truly 360 degree perspective and take away practical, honest insight in just one day!

To find out more about the event and to register visit the EV Conference website.

DfT launches next round of Green Bus Fund   [14.12.2012]

A funding pot of £20 million has been announced by DfT to support companies to invest in low emission buses. The fund will support between 50%-80% of the additional cost of low emission buses such as hybrid, electric or gas buses.

To be eligible for funding, the buses must have 30% lower carbon emissions than a Euro III diesel and must meet or exceed the latest Euro V emission standards. The closing date for bids is the 26th March 2013.

If you are interested in applying for funding, do contact us at STS as we can assist with preparing your bid. For more information on the Fund, visit: Green Bus Fund.

EU funding for Automotive PEM Fuel Cell Innovation   [14.11.2012]

UK based ITM Power is part of a European consortium that is to receive a £3.2 million grant to develop Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) Fuel Cell Membrane Electrode Assemblies (MEAs) with ultra-low platinum loadings for automotive applications.

ITM Power will be working in a consortium of 12 members, led by Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e.V. The programme, known as the IMPACT project and funded under the Seventh Framework Programme addresses the aim of improving the lifetime of PEM fuel cells with MEAs containing ultralow platinum loadings.

The overall objective of IMPACT is to develop MEA’s with improved durability (>5,000 hours) at high performance and having ultra-low platinum loadings for automotive applications. In particular, the project addresses the understanding of degradation processes which apply to such MEA’s; understanding the relationship between degradation, lifetime and platinum loading; development of improved MEA components; improved performance under dynamic operating conditions.

Dr Simon Bourne, CTO, ITM Power plc commented: "ITM Power is delighted to be part of this project which brings together leading fuel cell technologies to address key challenges for the next generation of automotive fuel cells. The project will also strengthen relationships with the fuel cell component supply chain; an important aspect of our strategy and complementary to our work with the Carbon Trust."

Heathrow trials EVs to reduce emissions   [25.10.2012]

This week sees the launch of a major new trial of electric vehicles at Heathrow to test the viability of electric power-trains used in the highly demanding context of daily airport operations.

Over the next month, a fleet of EVs including the Nissan LEAF, Peugeot iOn, Vauxhall Ampera and the Renault Kangoo Z.E. will be trialled by four major organisations and operators at Heathrow.

In addition to Heathrow Airport Limited, who support a potential switch to zero-emission ground based vehicles, British Airways, LSG SkyChefs and Gate Gourmet will be using the electric vehicles within their normal fleet to better understand the suitability or otherwise of EVs for their operations.

As noted by STS director Dr Ben Lane: "Given the current availability of high quality EVs, and need to reduce ground based vehicle emissions, STS are recommending an increase in the use of electric vehicles at Heathrow. In addition to the fleet of almost 700 electric baggage tugs already in use, we see considerable potential for other electric ground support equipment (such as cargo loaders and pushback tractors), as well as the latest on-road electric cars and vans now available in the UK."

David Vowles, Air Quality and Noise Policy Manager at Heathrow Airport Limited said: "Ten per cent of airside vehicles are already electric. The Clean Vehicle Partnership facilitates collaborative working amongst Heathrow fleet operators as well as providing advice, guidance and training to reduce emissions. This trial gives fleet operators more experience of using electric vehicles and the opportunity to test their suitability for both airside use and on the road."

Initial results from the Heathrow EV trials will be presented at the next CVP seminar on 6th December 2012. Information about the trials will also be available on the CVP website at

Sustainable Transport Solutions (STS)

LowCVP call for 2012 Awards nominations   [23.10.2012]

The Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership has announced the call for nominations for the third Low Carbon Champions Awards which will be presented at a gala event to take place on 29 January 2013 at One Birdcage Walk, Westminster.

The LowCVP Champions Awards celebrate examples of outstanding and innovative practice in accelerating the shift to lower carbon vehicles and fuels and reducing road transport emissions.

There are seven categories of Awards reflecting the diversity of those engaged in encouraging the shift to lower carbon vehicles and fuels. The seven awards are for:
* Low Carbon Car / Van Manufacturer of the Year
* Low Carbon Heavy Duty Vehicle Manufacturer of the Year
* Low Carbon Vehicle Operator of the Year
* Low Carbon Fuel Initiative of the Year
* 2012 Award for Low Carbon Innovation by an SME
* Low Carbon Road Transport Initiative of the Year
* 2012 Outstanding Low Carbon Publication or Report

Two special awards will also be made:
* Outstanding Individual in Promoting Lower Carbon Transport
* Outstanding Achievement in Low Carbon Transport over the last 10 years.

The LowCVP Awards winners will be assessed by a panel of expert judges drawn from the LowCVP's wide range of stakeholder organisations including: BMW, BVRLA, Cenex, Department for Transport, Energy Saving Trust, Freight Transport Association, Next Green Car, Greenpeace, Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV), Ricardo UK Ltd, Road Haulage Association, Shell, SMMT, Transport for London and others.

Full details and downloadable entry forms for the LowCVP Awards 2012 are available at: The deadline for nominations is Friday 23 November.


E-Car launches all-electric car club   [11.10.2012]

The UK’s first all-electric car club E-Car has launched in Wolverton, Milton Keynes, as part of a new nationwide network.

E-Car is offering Milton Keynes residents and businesses the chance to sign up to the scheme and hire a Nissan LEAF or Peugeot iOn for around £5.50 per hour.

There are three ways for businesses to access an electric vehicle through the E-Car scheme:
* Pay as you Go – businesses join the club and add drivers to their account with monthly itemised billing on account holder’s usage hours;
* Business Account – if a company is going to hire a vehicle for a few hours per week, a business account entitles them to a 20% discount and the ability to block book vehicles in advance. Usage can be tracked online and costs are invoiced monthly;
* E-Car hosting – if a hub isn’t available locally, businesses can provide a publicly accessible parking space for a vehicle and E-Car will take care of the rest. Businesses can replace or extend their existing fleet with E-Car managing the fleet on their behalf.

"We believe E-Car is being launched at a very exciting time for motorists as many want to experiment with driving an electric car before they make the decision to own one," explained E-Car chairman Andrew Wordsworth. He continued: “We hope to grow the E-Car network over the coming months." E-Car will be also launching in North Oxford later this autumn.

For more info email or visit the E-Car website at

'To-you its local' project wins LowCVP award   [02.10.2012]

The award-winning 'To-you it's local' scheme presents a radical yet realistic way of significantly cutting congestion and pollution in UK cities, as vindicated by the scheme's success in the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership's recent Urban Mobility Technology Challenge.

At the heart of the idea is the age-old principle of simultaneously reducing the number of private and goods vehicles on our roads, while increasing the number of Public Service Vehicles (PSVs), such as buses and taxis.

The infrastructure model consolidates four state-of-the-art technologies into a unique system for both businesses and private users:
* Freight*Lift: removes the requirement for pallets ( on which £1billion + is wasted annually) and enables rapid automated transfers of grouped freight consignments;
* Cool*Run: combined with Freight*Lift enables transport of multi-temperature products in one vehicle without traditional chillers and insulated body constraints;
* Freight*Bus: a multi-tasking passenger and freight carrying bus which utilises surplus bus capacity at off-peak times to transport freight;
* Locker Box and Micro-Hubs: the provision of a network of conveniently located collection and delivery nodes in association with passenger transfer points, bus stops and stations.

Hugh Frost Designs Ltd, which has developed the 'To-You' concept, is currently looking for the necessary Joint Venture and investment Partners to be able a trial network to be established in a UK city in the near future. Frost's plan is for the To-You program to initially test and service the infrastructure using Electric Light Goods Vehicles with the inclusion of Freight*Bus as the second phase.


Transport Select Committee criticises EV policy   [20.09.2012]

The Transport Select Committee today released a report criticising the Govt’s plug-in vehicle strategy as ineffective and questioning why the official National Charge Point Registry is incomplete.

The a new report from the Transport Select Committee focuses on the Government’s plug-in vehicle strategy and assess its effectiveness in supporting the sales of electric vehicles in the UK.

Louise Ellman MP, the Committee’s Chair, warned: "The Government must do more to show that its plug-in vehicle strategy is a good use of public money. Carbon emissions from transport must be reduced if the UK is to meet its climate change targets, but public money must be targeted on effective policies.

"So far, Department for Transport expenditure on plug-in cars – some £11 million – has benefited just a handful of motorists. We were warned of the risk that the Government is subsidising second cars for affluent households; currently plug-in electric cars are mostly being purchased as second cars for town driving.

In summary, the Committee recommends that:
* The DfT should clarify the reasons for the under spend in its low carbon vehicle programme.
* As part of the next spending review, the Government should set milestones for the numbers of plug-in cars it expects to see on the roads so that the success of its low carbon vehicles strategy can be assessed within that spending review period.
* The DfT should evaluate how effectively the provision of public infrastructure is encouraging consumer demand for plug-in vehicles.

Next Green Car

Obama confirms US fuel economy targets   [06.09.2012]

The Obama Administration finalised standards that will increase fuel economy to the equivalent of 54.5 miles per US gallon for cars and light-duty trucks by Model Year 2025 – equivalent to 65.4 mpg (UK).

When combined with previous standards set by this Administration, this move will nearly double the fuel efficiency of those vehicles compared to new vehicles currently on American roads.

In total, the Administration's national program to improve fuel economy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions will save consumers more than $1.7 trillion at the gas pump and reduce US oil consumption by 12 billion barrels.

The historic standards issued today by the US Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) build on the success of the Administration's standards for cars and light trucks for Model Years 2011-2016. Those standards, which raised average fuel efficiency by 2016 to the equivalent of 35.5 mpg – equivalent to 42.6 mpg (UK).

President Obama announced the proposed standard in July 2011, joined by Ford, GM, Chrysler, BMW, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar/Land Rover, Kia, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Toyota, and Volvo, as well as the United Auto Workers. The State of California and other key stakeholders also supported the announcement and were integral in developing this national program.

Project Clearflo to monitor air quality   [10.08.2012]

London's most comprehensive attempt to measure and record air pollution in the capital is now underway – with 80 scientists from 11 universities monitoring nearly 1,000 different gases and particles in the atmosphere.

Project ClearFlo intends to help improve air quality forecasting in years to come. Air quality is being examined at ground level, from the top of the BT Tower and using a research plane circling the capital.

Much of the capital's air pollution is generated from transport on the ground, which causes London to frequently exceed international air quality standards set by the EU and World Health Organisation. If limits are breached more than 30 days of the year, significant fines have to be paid to the EU.

A collection of data from the ground, London's BT Tower and Britain's largest atmospheric research plane will be collaborated to create a three-dimensional pollution image of what is known as the "London Plume" – a manmade cloud that rises over London. Major contribution to the plume comes from vehicles, heating boilers, domestic cookers and occasionally European industrial pollution.

Project Clearflo

London's H2 buses grounded for Olympics   [01.08.2012]

London's hydrogen powered bus fleet has been replaced by conventional diesel buses for the duration of the Olympics, as the filling station cannot be supplied with fuel due to security concerns.

When planning permission was granted for the hydrogen filling station in Stratford in 2009, Olympic officials imposed that, "in the interest of security", no hydrogen should be stored on site between July and mid-September 2012.

More positively, earlier this month the 1,000th refuelling took place at the Stratford depot by one of the five hydrogen buses in operation along the south bank RV1 route. The fuel is shipped from Rotterdam to Hull, and then supplied to the First depot. The bus fleet has so far clocked up 100,000 miles on the route.

"The Transport for London hydrogen bus fleet is a ground-breaking first for Europe and has been a great success to date," said Diana Raine from hydrogen suppliers Air Products. She continued, "The fleet has shown Londoners that hydrogen transport offers a low carbon solution that not only offers zero emissions, but also delivers a real and practical alternative to the diesel powered bus."

It is expected that the hydrogen bus fleet will have grown to eight buses when the filling stations are re-filled and service is resumed in September.

EST launches Plugged-in Fleets initiative   [09.07.2012]

Twenty organisations across England have pledged to lead the way in tackling emissions from road vehicles after being selected to take part in the Energy Saving Trust's Plugged-in Fleets initiative, in partnership with EDF Energy.

One of the successful advice recipients under the scheme is the Heathrow Clean Vehicles Partnership which is managed by STS, which supports the introduction of electric and other low emission vehicles at Heathrow airport and within the region.

Other participating organisations include: Boots UK, London Fire Brigade, Network Rail, Surrey County Council, Southwark Council, Tristar, University of Cumbria, Morrisons, and York City Council.

As part of the EST scheme – which is funded by Transport for London (TfL) and Department for Transport (DfT) – the companies will receive guidance and a strategic plan for the introduction of electric vehicles into their fleets.

Pay-as-you-go charging scheme launched   [21.06.2012]

Elektromotive Limited, Europe's leading provider of electric vehicle (EV) charge points, is to create the UK's largest pay-as-you-go, 'open source' network of public access charging stations for EVs, based upon the development of its proven pay-by-phone technology.

The initiative comes as the result of a new joint venture with Charge your Car (North) Ltd. The new company – Charge Your Car Limited – will expand the existing network located predominantly across North east England, and incorporate other regional networks and stand-alone units under the well-established Charge Your Car brand. The goal is to create a recharging network with 10,000 public access pay-as-you-go charge points located across the UK.

Calvey Taylor-Haw, founder and Managing Director of Elektromotive said: "Charge point owners in both the public and private sectors have a way to promote their charge points, generate revenue and manage their infrastructure. Electric vehicle Electric vehicle drivers have a single access point for recharging that is quick, easy and affordable. Charge point manufacturers have a company that will help them to sell more charge points and electric vehicle manufacturers have a company that will help them to sell more vehicles. We are also seeking partners who wish to implement Charge Your Car outside of the UK, establishing it as one of the world's leading recharging brands."


WHO confirms that diesel causes cancer   [13.06.2012]

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has raised the status of diesel exhaust fumes from 'probable carcinogen' to 'carcinogen' – a shift that the WHO's science panel have considered very important due to the amount of people that are exposed to diesel fumes.

Experts in Lyon analysed both animal and human research and published studies to formulate their conclusions. One particular paper investigated over 12,000 miners over several decades from 1947, concluding that those exposed to diesel fumes had a higher risk of developing fatal lung cancer.

Kurt Straif, director of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) department that evaluates cancer risks said that there could be many cases of lung cancer that are connected to the contaminant. He said: "It's on the same order of magnitude as passive smoking... this could be another big push for countries to clean up exhaust from diesel engines."

Straif identified particular groups of people that may be at risk from diesel fumes, which included pedestrians on the streets, ship passengers and crews, railroad workers, truck drivers, mechanics, miners and people operating heavy machinery.

While the WHO's latest position is of great significance globally, there is good reason to recognise that many newer diesel engines emit less harmful gases – while in the US, diesel fumes are still considered a 'likely carcinogen', Vincent Cogliano of the US Environmental Protection Agency said: "We don't have enough evidence to say these new engines are zero risk, but they are certainly lower risk than before."

However, there is some concern as the portion of diesel cars sold in the UK has risen steeply in recent years. This is due to improved quality and drivability of diesel cars from new technologies, and the fact that smaller diesel engines with lower CO2 figures are attractive with the introduction of CO2 based financial incentives, such as tax.

WHO, The Guardian, UK Press Association

Lower CO2 needed to reach EU targets   [11.06.2012]

Beyond the EU's 130 g/km target for new car CO2 emissions in 2015, by 2020 a 95 g/km limit will be introduced meaning new cars in Europe will have to cut their carbon emissions by a third.

Currently, the average tailpipe emissions of new cars in the UK is just below 140 g/km. The EU targets are a major driving force for manufacturers to persue hybrid and electric vehicle development, as these technologies will significantly help to lower emissions, and avoid fines.

A European Commission document shows plans for even stricter emission targets to be in place for 2025 and 2030, in order to "provide longer term certainty for the automotive industry to invest and innovate."

Statistics from The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) have indicated sales are up for alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFVs), including hybrid and electric vehicles. Compared to 2011, the first five months of 2012 recorded a 7.0% rise in the sales of alternatively fuelled vehicles, in part due to more hybrid models being bought to market. However, out of a total of 868,166 new cars sold in the five months, only 12,145 were alternatively fuelled.

Greg Archer, of campaign group Transport & Environment, said: "Tighter CO2 standards for cars will be welcomed by drivers across Europe who will save 500 Euros per year at the petrol pump on average if this proposal is adopted."

Although tightening emissions targets has positive implications, many car manufacturers are in agreement that tough regulation could be damaging to the industry that is already struggling with the economic crisis and due increasing competition from overseas manufacturers.

In response, Greg Archer added, "There is a real danger that Europe is going to lose its competitive edge in low-carbon vehicles if suppliers don't get the investment certainty needed to develop advanced technologies," being aware that the EC had considered a target of 70 gCO2/km for 2025 in 2010.

The Guardian

Tackling Air Quality Hotspots in Hillingdon and Heathrow   [29.05.2012]

Working with Air Quality Consultants (AQC), STS is developing and testing a range of measures to help reduce NO2 pollution hotspots in Hillingdon and around Heathrow.

Measures being considered include a Ultra Low Emission Zone, HGV charging and low and zero emissions buses. A final report is due late 2012.

Low Emission Strategy for Oxford   [29.05.2012]

Building on previous work with Exeter University, STS are developing their work on a Low Emission Strategy (LES) for Oxford.

The latest work with AEA Technology and Aether Consultants is developing a monitoring and assessment framework, along with updating the LES action plan.

A copy of the initial LES report developed with Exeter University can be downed here:Final report: Oxford LES main report [2MB]

Building on previous work with Exeter University, STS are developing their work on a Low Emission Strategy (LES) for Oxford.

WheelTug innovation claims to reduce airport emissions   [21.02.2012]

Taxiing to and from the runway on engine power may soon be a thing of the past with the development of WheelTug, an electric wheel-drive for aircraft. The company claim that the WheelTug system can reduce fuel consumption, emissions and noise, while potentially increasing airport capacity.

Able to propel the aircraft at up to 28 mph, WheelTug weighs 300 lb but is 'flight weight'-neutral, as less fuel is required for taxiing, the company says. Minimum fuel burn for a 737 taxiing on one engine averages 15 lb/minute, and crews typically add 30 minutes of fuel weighing 450 lb for contingencies.

Powering the wheels from the Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) – usually positioned within the tail of wide-bodied jets – cuts taxi fuel burn by up to 85%. "Instead of over 200 kg of taxi contingency fuel, I can load 60 kg, and have the same operational flexibility," says Chief Pilot Joseph Goldman.

WheelTug is on track for both official certification and the first deliveries for the Boeing 737 NG in mid-2013, according to WheelTug CEO Isaiah Cox. Several airlines are already interested in testing the the new unit, including Israeli El Al, who have signed a Memorandum of Understanding.

Other potential benefits of electric taxiing include shorter turnaround times and the ability to position aircraft on the runway at noise-constrained airports so takeoffs can begin as soon as the curfew is lifted, generating more slots.

Low Emission Technology Strategy for BAA   [05.09.2011]

STS has been commissioned by BAA at Heathrow to develop a strategy for the development and introduction of clean vehicle technologies with fleet operators across Heathrow.

The strategy will form part of the Heathrow Air Quality Strategy and contribute to its carbon reduction objectives. The study is being carried out alongside the Clean Vehicle Programme (also managed by STS) in order to engage with CVP members and get input and support for the proposals.

The final vehicle technology strategy will set out a technology road map for introducing clean vehicles, explore potential supporting mechanism, indentify vehicle and fuel projects to take forward and a develop a plan for implementation.

The project is due to be completed in December 2011.

Abu Dhabi, UAE: Transport Emissions Strategy   [02.08.2011]

In March 2011, MVA Consultancy Ltd and STS were commissioned by the Department of Transport (DOT) to provide consultancy services for a Strategy to Reduce Vehicle Emissions for buses and trucks in Abu Dhabi’s metropolitan area.

The project comprised four main components:

Data Assembly – collection and review of air quality data;

Existing Conditions – review of baseline conditions in Abu Dhabi, and an assessment of the level of emission reduction appropriate for the transportation sector;

Evaluation – review of international experience, alternative technologies available and appropriateness for Abu Dhabi; and

Strategy Development – recommendation of a robust emission strategies for buses and trucks for the metropolitan area of Abu Dhabi.

The outcome of the study, which was completed in June 2011, will provide recommendations to assist in the development of a robust strategy for reducing vehicle emissions in the Abu Dhabi metropolitan area for buses and trucks. This strategy will then form part of the wider DoT Sustainability Initiatives and the Low Carbon Strategy.

Abu Dhabi, UAE: Transport Emissions Strategy   [02.08.2011]

In March 2011, MVA Consultancy Ltd and STS were commissioned by the Department of Transport (DOT) to provide consultancy services for a Strategy to Reduce Vehicle Emissions for buses and trucks in Abu Dhabi’s metropolitan area.

The project comprised four main components:

Data Assembly – collection and review of air quality data;

Existing Conditions – review of baseline conditions in Abu Dhabi, and an assessment of the level of emission reduction appropriate for the transportation sector;

Evaluation – review of international experience, alternative technologies available and appropriateness for Abu Dhabi; and

Strategy Development – recommendation of a robust emission strategies for buses and trucks for the metropolitan area of Abu Dhabi.

The outcome of the study, which was completed in June 2011, will provide recommendations to assist in the development of a robust strategy for reducing vehicle emissions in the Abu Dhabi metropolitan area for buses and trucks. This strategy will then form part of the wider DoT Sustainability Initiatives and the Low Carbon Strategy.

STS Develop Carbon Audit Tool   [14.08.2008]

For organisations wanting to come up with an accurate measure of their carbon 'footprint' STS have developed a comprehensive transport carbon auditing tool.  The spreadsheet tool provides a user friendly method for quantifying all transport carbon emissions that might arise from an organisation’s activities; including fleet vehicle emissions, employee business travel emissions and employee commuting emissions.

The tool has been designed to allow users to specify different methodologies depending upon what data they have available.  For example car emissions can be calculated from either fuel usage or mileage.  The tool also calculates all upstream fuel emissions, taking into account emissions from the extraction, production and distribution of a fuel as well as what comes out of the vehicle exhaust.  This enables more robust comparisons to be made between different fuels such as biofuels and electric.

Commenting on the tool STS’s Simon Collings said “whether its used by local authorities for complying with NI 185 or by companies to demonstrate their environmental performance this tool will be invaluable for organisations wanting to measure and monitor their transport carbon emissions.”

STS review Commitment for Low Carbon Buses   [24.04.2008]

STS has undertaken a feasibility study for The Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership (LowCVP) into how a Forward Commitment project would work when applied to low carbon buses and the UK bus market. The study is intended to provide a blue-print of how to implement a low carbon bus procurement group.   A Forward Commitment is a contract between one or more procurers with one or more potential suppliers, such that an organisation commits to purchase a pre-defined quantity of a technology currently under development but not yet available as a commercial offering. In practice this requires the demonstration of the technology before the procurement is confirmed. 

The study will inform the view of the LowCVP with regard to this subject, and be used as an input to the development of the Department for Transport’s Low Carbon Vehicle Procurement Programme.

STS undertook the following tasks:

  • Established customer interest in low carbon bus procurement.
  • Identified the existing and potentially forthcoming policy drivers available to create or support a market for low carbon buses, in particular outside London.
  • Established the contractual structure which would be required to deliver a Low Carbon Bus Forward Commitment.
  • Developed a draft specification of a low carbon bus appropriate for procurement processes.
  • Held a stakeholder workshop to discuss the key issues involved. 

Environmental Impacts of Biofuels to be Assessed   [24.04.2008]

STS is helping the London Borough of Camden explore the balance between the climate change and air quality impacts of biofuels and set its policy objectives with regards to the use and promotion of these fuels. The project is looking at the three main biofuels - biodiesel, bioethanol and biomethane - and how they compare on a life cycle emissions impact basis. The main biofuels covered will be:
  • Biodiesel – produced from rape seed oil (to produce rape methyl ester or RME), used cooking oil (UCO) and Malaysian palm oil;
  • Bioethanol – produced from wheat, sugar beet, and Brazilian sugar cane;
  • Biomethane – produced from municipal waste, sewage waste and landfill.

The project will review existing and, where practical, local information on the life cycle emissions from the production and use of these fuels, and provide an assessment of their use in light duty vehicles. The assessment will cover the following emissions impacts:

  • Climate change impacts – considering the main transport greenhouse gas emissions of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide; and
  • Local air quality impacts – considering the emissions of nitrogen oxides and particulate matter and where data is available other emissions such as sulphur dioxide (SO2). Where relevant, emissions of volatile organic compounds such as aldehydes will also be assessed.

STS Launch Biomethane Toolkit at Greenwich Conference   [14.02.2008]

STS will be presenting a resource toolkit at a conference on 3rd March to help local authorities and waste management companies assess the opportunities for using biomethane as a transport fuel. Biomethane offers an ideal solution to integrate organic waste management with the production of a pure, clean-burning fuel for transport and housing. The conference brings together expertise from biogas producers, transport fleet managers, and a new environmental assessment and project management toolkit.

The Centre of Excellence for Fuel Cell and Low Carbon Technologies (CENEX) commissioned STS to develop a toolkit of material to help local authorities and others take forward potential plans to use gas produced from organic waste to power their vehicle fleets. The toolkit provides information on producing, upgrading and using the gas, biomethane, in vehicles. It also has an integrated set of calculators to assess schemes in terms of gas produced, numbers of vehicles that can be powered and the costs of producing the gas and running a biomethane fleet.

For more information on the conference contact

For more information on the toolkit contact