Cenex welcomes Department for Transport announcement of winning van suppliers in Low Carbon Vehicle

Cenex welcomes Department for Transport announcement of winning van suppliers in Low Carbon Vehicle Procurement Programme

Ashwoods, Allied Vehicles, Modec and Smith Electric Vehicles to supply innovative hybrid and all-electric vans to public sector partners with green fleets

Lord Andrew Adonis, Secretary of State for Transport, today announced that four automotive manufacturers have been approved as suppliers of low and zero carbon vehicle technology for the first phase of the Department for Transport's Low Carbon Vehicle Procurement Programme (LCVPP). The programme is being delivered on behalf of the Department for Transport (DfT) by Cenex, the Centre of Excellence for Low Carbon and Fuel Cell Technologies.

The programme, announced in the Government's May 2007 Energy White Paper, aims to accelerate the introduction of lower carbon technologies to the UK market by providing successful manufacturers with the opportunity for high profile demonstration of their lower carbon and all-electric vehicles within the public sector, with the potential for large scale orders in future if the trial is successful.

Following the results of a competitive procurement process, four manufacturers have been named as approved suppliers for the programme's first phase - a trial of more than 100 low carbon and all-electric vans with participating public sector fleets.

In the lower carbon fossil-fuelled category, Ashwoods was the only successful bidder, with its hybrid conversion boasting a CO2 reduction of better than 14% in independent tests.

Three other suppliers, Allied Vehicles, Modec, and Smith Electric Vehicles, have each been awarded framework agreements for their all-electric vans, which all offer viable alternatives to fossil-fuelled vehicles for a range of applications. Designed to keep up with normal traffic in day-to-day operation, all of the winning vehicles have maximum speeds above 50mph. They are all large panel vans, with payloads ranging from 800kg to over 1,300kg, and cargo capacities between 7.34m3 and 13m3. The batteries on the winning vehicles offer recharge times from four to eleven hours.

Suppliers that submitted proposals were assessed against a range of criteria, including: anticipated carbon savings; whole-life environmental impact; performance and reliability; value for money; level of innovation and technological development; and credible plans for mass market commercialisation with a consequential reduction in cost.

Adrian Vinsome, Head of Programmes for Cenex, commented on the first phase of the LCVPP:
"Van use in the UK is rising more rapidly than for any other vehicle category, and van journeys are getting longer. As a result, CO2 emissions from vans are projected to rise rapidly over the next 10 to 15 years. A number of manufacturers have developed lower carbon and all-electric technologies, but these tend to be expensive in low production volumes and it is difficult for fleet operators to justify the additional cost. The LCVPP is helping overcome these initial cost barriers, paving the way for market development."

Phase One
The first phase of the programme is designed to get these lower carbon and all-electric vans into service so that operators can establish how well they meet their needs, and to better understand the economics of operating these new vehicles. The DfT grant funding helps to cover the additional costs of the new technology and the Framework Agreement provides performance guarantees, minimising the risk to participating public sector operators.

The trials will take place in the fleets of partner organisations selected for their environmental track-record and fleet-greening aspirations. These include Royal Mail, the Environment Agency, the Metropolitan Police, HMRC, Transport for London, the Government Car and Despatch Agency, and six local authority groups: Glasgow, Liverpool, Newcastle & Gateshead, Leeds, Coventry and Central London.

Vehicles will initially be trialled in limited numbers, with the aim of bringing between 100 and 150 vans into service. The DfT will provide grant funding towards the procurement of the vehicles, covering the incremental cost of the low carbon option compared with a conventional vehicle.

The vehicles will be carefully monitored throughout the trial, and if successful there is an opportunity to expand the trials into the wider public sector. This large scale deployment of new technology would help to drive down costs through economies of scale, consequently making low carbon options much more attractive to both public and private sector buyers in the longer term.

Adrian Vinsome concludes: "By offering the manufacturers a market for their products - and a potentially much larger market in future through the wider public sector - the programme hopes to stimulate innovation and encourage manufacturers to bring forward R&D. This will accelerate the introduction of sustainable, energy efficient technologies that will help the Government to meet its carbon reduction targets, and benefit us all in the longer term."

The Low Carbon Vehicle Procurement Programme is part of a wider Government strategy to position the UK as a leading centre for the development, demonstration and early adoption of lower carbon vehicles. Together with yesterday's announcement of the winners of the Technology Strategy Board's Ultra-low Carbon Vehicle Demonstration Programme, close to 500 additional low and ultra low carbon vehicles will be in operation across the UK within the next year.

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