February’s car registration figures were released as the SMMT calls on the Chancellor to use next week’s Budget to announce bold new measures to make new-tech zero emission-capable cars, including plug-in hybrids, more affordable for mass-market buyers. In 2020, manufacturers will bring more than 23 new battery-electric and ten plug-in hybrid electric cars to the UK to add to the more than 65 already on sale, but take-up of these new models depends on affordability and the provision of adequate charging infrastructure.
A full reengineering of steam generation equipment at the Trelleborg Wheel Systems plant in Sri Lanka will improve the facility’s environmental footprint as well as its production efficiency. Trelleborg is installing a new biomass boiler at the production site in Makola, near Colombo; it reports that work on this “major investment” has already begun, and the new process will be fully operational from June 2019.
The UK may have voted to leave Europe, but for the time being we are still subject to European regulations. The EU says that tougher CO2 standards for cars and vans will be introduced to help cut transport emissions and improve air quality in Europe. They form part of a package of measures announced by the European Commission, which for the first time will also include fuel efficiency targets for trucks.
The National Franchise Dealer Association has stated that it remains “optimistic about the rise of Ultra Low Emission Vehicles (ULEVs), and London’s plans to become the ultra-low emission vehicle capital of Europe,” following a speech by Isabel Dedring, London’s deputy mayor for transport. Sue Robinson, the association’s director, added that the NFDA “hopes that there will be sufficient support to ensure their uptake.”
Analysts from Glass’s vehicle pricing guide have applauded the simplification of road tax announced in the recent budget and appeared supportive of measures to effective reward newer, lower CO2 vehicles. However, they also said that older vehicles are undertaxed:
The Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV), has clarified the status of the Plug-In Car Grant (PICG), which is available for vehicles emitting less than 75g/km CO2. It has confirmed that the current version of the grant, worth up to £5,000, will end this year, at a date yet to be confirmed. Until that date, OLEV has said that it will honour any deal placed on its system for a qualifying car, provided that the vehicle has been allocated to a customer and is delivered and registered within nine months.
Central government and local authorities should think hard and look at the facts before making major policy changes in the name of in the name of achieving ‘green’ environmental improvements, says Glass’s. They point out that knee jerk reactions to studies showing the negative impact of diesel emissions on urban air quality could be counterproductive as well as affect sales and use of diesel cars and commercial vehicles.
From September 2015, all new cars must be compliant with Euro 6 emissions standards, which aims to reduce the levels of harmful exhaust emissions such as nitrogen oxide (NOx), carbon monoxide (CO), hydrocarbons (THC and NMHS) and particulate matter (PM).
An article has recently appeared in the British Medical Journal warning of the dangers to public health in the UK caused by air pollutants. In 2011 a report from the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee suggested that the costs to society from poor air quality were on a par with those from smoking and obesity. Air pollution has fallen sharply over the last 25 years, in particular nitrogen oxide levels have dropped by two thirds and particulates have halved. However, whilst the pollution levels have fallen, the medical profession is now better able to quantify the damage caused.
A record number of UK car buyers are opting to reduce their fuel bills by choosing ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs), according to research by Go Ultra Low. The latest registration figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) reveal that more than 41 per cent of all alternatively-fuelled cars registered in the first quarter of 2015 qualified for the government’s plug-in car grant, up from 13 per cent over the same period in 2014.
Harmful emissions from Scotland’s public sector fleets will be further reduced thanks to a £2.5 million Scottish Government investment announced by the Minister for Transport and Islands Derek Mackay. The ‘Switched On Fleets’ initiative provides a major funding boost and is aimed at driving forward public sector fleets’ green credentials by increasing the number of electric vehicles on the road.
The latest generation of low rolling resistance tyres can pat themselves on the back – they have played a role in enabling the UK car parc to reach, and pass, the 2015 EU-wide average emission target of 130g/km CO2. According to the ‘New Car CO2 Report 2014’ published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) today, the average new car in the UK now emits 128.3g/km CO2 – a 3.6 per cent decrease over last year.
Developed in co-operation with Europe’s leading car manufacturers, the ContiEcoContact 5 “sets new standards in terms of the environment and safety”, according to Continental. As we all know, the continued challenge in tyre design is to reduce rolling resistance and wear whilst, at the same time, ensure that the tyre is still good at wet braking.
Kraiburg Austria reports that it will continue investing in machinery, facilities and processes at its Geretsberg site this year in order to provide its retreading partners the best possible quality and service. The company has earmarked a budget of three million euros for several projects, with a major chunk of this amount expected to be directed towards Kraiburg’s extruders. These will be upgraded to enable their meeting of potential future requirements, such as an extension of the tyre label to retreaded tyres. The Austrian retreading specialist also intends to provide its research and development department with an additional laboratory mixer. Last but not least, the company will invest in numerous process operations in order to improve production and administrative efficiency.
Trelleborg Wheel Systems reports it is participating in the ‘Zero Impact’ project organised by Italian organisation LifeGate. Zero Impact is a project that calculates and compensates for non-reducible CO2 emissions resulting from human activities, such as the manufacture of products. The idea behind Zero Impact is that environmental impact assessments are used to measure the affect of a particular activity, and participating companies can support the offset of this through the creation and protection of forest growth.