Transport round-up

With news on: Reporting smoky vehicles; UK electric vehicle sales; Bicester transport; Addison Lee taxi fleet; E-Car Club fleet, and; Bristol hybrid buses

Government launches smoky vehicle report service

The government has launched a new webpage enabling people who spot excessively-smoky polluting vehicles on the roads to report offending vehicles to the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA).

Users can report smoky vehicles on the website

Users can report smoky vehicles on the website

The webpage includes an online form in which users can fill in details of the offending vehicle type, registration mark, company name, location of the vehicle and the date and time of the sighting of the vehicle.

Users are also asked to fill in their email address as contact details for the DVSA, which will be “used for the purposes of VOSA’s [Vehicle Operator Services Agency] statutory functions”, the webpage states.

A2Dominion launches eV partnership in Bicester

Eco housing developer A2Dominion Group has partnered with vehicle leasing firm Fleetdrive Electric to encourage the transition to electric and ultra-low emission vehicles in Bicester.

(L-R) Fleetdrive managing director Mike Potter with A2Dominion’s Louise Caves and Steve Hornblow.

(L-R) Fleetdrive managing director Mike Potter with A2Dominion’s Louise Caves and Steve Hornblow.

The link up is part of the first phase of the NW Bicester project, which is run by A2Dominion and Cherwell district council to deliver what it claims will be the UK’s first eco-town.

The NW Bicester project will see communal EV charging points installed, an electric car club, cycle stores as standard for each home, as well as segregated cycle-ways and pedestrian routes linking directly into the town’s existing network.

Launched last week (February 26), the partnership aims get 10% of residents switching to pure electric of plug-in hybrid vehicles by 2017 through various initiatives to promote sustainable travel.

Residents attending the launch event were given the opportunity to test drive a range of vehicles, including the Tesla Model S, BMW i8 and i3, Audi e-tron, VW E-Up, E-Golf, Mitsubishi Outlander Phev and Nissan Leaf.

Louise Caves, strategic partnership manager for NW Bicester, said: “NW Bicester is all about providing people with sustainable lifestyle choices. We’re delighted to be able to bring Fleetdrive Electric on board to deliver a range of incentives and offer people the opportunity to experience first-hand ultra-low emission vehicles and compare them to their existing modes of transport.”

London e-car club quadruples fleet

London-based E-Car Club is set to shortly quadruple its fleet from 15 to 60 vehicles in less than a year with the help of business mobility specialist Alphabet.

35 electric vehicles from Alphabet — 23 Renault ZOEs, five Nissan Leafs and seven Renault Kangoo ZE vans — have already been supplied to the pay-per-use car club firm, with a further 50 vehicles set to be deployed in the next six months.

E-Car Club currently has six locations in London and South East England and plans to continue growing its current customer base of 700 private members and 15 business members with the assistance of Alphabet.

Christopher Morris, co-founder of E-Car Club, said: “It’s been so refreshing to be supported by Alphabet in our EV expansion. In the past, we had to fight battles with leasing companies to build a business case for electric vehicles.”

Addison Lee launches fleet of 350 hybrid vehicles

Passenger car service Addison Lee is to launch a new division in London comprising of 350 state of the art hybrid vehicles.

According to testing of the new Addison Lee Eco fleet, the Toyota Prius petrol/electric hybrid vehicles produce zero particulate matter emissions and 0.006 grams per kilometre of nitrogen oxide emissions. They also produce 96g/km of carbon dioxide.

According to the firm, the new division will sit alongside its corporate, VIP and international divisions as part of its overall fleet of 4,800 minicabs.

Peter Boucher, chief commercial officer of Addison Lee, said: “After another strong year of growth the launch of Addison Lee Eco demonstrates our continued investment in green technologies and new service lines.”

First unveils Bristol hybrid buses

Bristol bus operator First has unveiled its fleet of micro-hybrid buses to provide services across the city after receiving funding from the Department for Transport.

First has unveiled its new hybrid bus fleet

First has unveiled its new hybrid bus fleet

First currently has 28 Streetlite micro hybrid buses in its West of England fleet, 21 of which are in Bristol, but a further 50 low emission buses are expected to be welcomed into this fleet in the coming months.

The new micro hybrid buses — which were delivered at the end of 2014 — are lighter than conventional single deck buses and, together with advanced engine technology, are around 30% more fuel efficient overall, producing 30% less carbon emissions.

They are also fitted with technology which captures energy during braking which can then be used later to power other parts of the bus.

In addition to the new Streetlite micro hybrid buses, the company also plans to upgrade 31 of its existing buses in Bristol to retrofit thermal management technology to the exhaust systems, helping to cut nitrogen oxide emissions.

The company will also retro-fit micro hybrid engine systems to the vehicles, which like the Streetlite vehicles will help harness energy lost while breaking, powering electrical systems instead, saving fuel and and reducing carbon emissions.

James Freeman, managing director of First West of England, said: “As a major sponsor of Bristol Green Capital it’s important that we do what we can to bridge the environmental gap, and we’re doing just that by investing in, and bringing to the city new, low emission vehicles.”

UK electric vehicle sales highest in Europe

Sales of electric vehicles in Europe are on the rise, with UK selling the most — 15,000 — last year, according to European NGO organisation Transport & Environment (T&E).

However, T&E said the latest motor industry figures for 2014 showed that EV sales still only make up a small proportion of the overall car fleet in Europe.

The market for electric vehicles went up by 37% in 2014, but it accounted for just 0.6% of overall new car registrations, despite various financial incentives that involve some governments offering several thousand euros in subsidies for buyers of e-cars, T&E said.

T&E director Jos Dings commented: “Europe’s CO2 rules for cars have without doubt been the main driver for carmakers’ investments in clean technology. As a result we see EVs quickly becoming better and more affordable, a trend that the Commission must accelerate through tighter CO2 standards from 2025. Europe’s car industry needs to stay ahead of the US and China in the race to sustainable mobility.”


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