Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

The benefits demonstrating cleaner vehicles to businesses

To encourage they use of alternative fuel vehicles by businesses, by overcoming barriers to use and establishing a business case for clean vehicles.

An Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) was declared for Winchester in November 2003, due to high concentrations of air pollutants in the city centre. To improve air quality in the city the MIRACLES project encouraged the take up of cleaner fuels and technology, and ran a campaign to raise awareness of the benefits of environmentally friendly vehicles.

Description of the implementation
Unfamiliarity with alternative fuel vehicle technology can create barriers to their purchase and use, and this measure aimed to overcome these barriers. Six alternative fuel vehicles were purchased by Hampshire County Council, these included: two hybrid petrol/electric cars, two dual-fuel LPG/petrol cars, and two battery electric vans. A scheme was implemented whereby local businesses were loaned one of the vehicles for up to one month, and the vehicles were extensively promoted through various media and at local events. The vehicles were also fitted with tracking units in order that route data could be analysed. Vehicle emissions savings were estimated using this data and this was compared to the corresponding emissions if the usual business vehicle had been used.

Key Findings
Prior to each trial businesses were asked which factors would influence their decision to purchase a clean vehicle.

The three most important factors were operating costs, reliability and purchase cost.
After the trial 82% rated the vehicle as generally good, 55% thought it was generally better than their usual fleet vehicle and 65% stated they were likely to purchase a clean vehicle in the future for business use.

Businesses tend to renew their company vehicles at set times over cycles of several years. Therefore, the effect of the trial in encouraging businesses to purchase clean vehicles may not be evident for a number of years. However, one business and three employees did purchase alternative fuel vehicles following the trials. In all cases the trial had been a major influence.

Emissions savings from the alternative fuel vehicles were estimated. For the petrol/hybrid vehicle, CO2 emissions reduced by an average of 40%, CO by 20% and HC+NOx by 70%. There were also energy reductions of 37%. For the LPG/petrol vehicles, average CO2, CO, and HC+NOx emissions reductions ranged from 9-18%, 30-78%, and 58-74%, respectively. The energy reduction was in the rage of 1-5%.
The electric vehicles produced no tailpipe emissions, and therefore resulted in emission reductions of 100%.

In terms of fuel cost per km petrol hybrid vehicles and LPG/petrol dual fuel vehicles provided average savings of about 40% and 20%, respectively.

It should be emphasised that the analysis only compared usual business vehicles that were five years old or less, as no emission figures are available for older vehicles. If all vehicles had been included the emissions and fuel savings would have been greater.

Reported by

Highways and Transport Policy
SO23 8UD Winchester
United Kingdom
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