TfL Van group for LoCity in E14 Docklands March 2017

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Front seats focus on express operators for LoCity Van group Front seats focus on express operators for LoCity Van group

TfL Van group focus is what it says on the can - vans. Targeting clean air with alternative fuels, most of those attending, including Addison Lee, Ocado, GLH and Gnewt went all electric to commute DLR to the Excel E14 venue. Tech folk from all electric Nissan to gas from LPG to Hydrogen filled the house for a full room attendance.

Carl Lomas, Institute of Couriers chaired with Venn Chesterton as sec, supported by Sarah Wixey who captured the formal feedback for govt and Fergus Walsh delivered key notes for TfL

Steve Carroll CENEX opened with a work in progress update on the ‘Fleet advice tool’ – Strong stakeholder engagement had driven development, a tool for users to compare vehicles, fuel types, load and distance requirements in a journey to choose the best and greenest solution to their needs. Methodology had addressed usability from tail lifts to trailers, validation recognised whole life vehicle cost, battery life and residual values. A brief demo of the spreadsheet drivers was well received, the full web portal is expected before the end of year.

2017 news mar tfl locity carroll cenex

Steve Carroll LoCity Fleet Advice Tool

Lomas moved the agenda to introductions, operators talking need & infrastructure while tech talked solutions and merits to each alternative fuel. Federation of Small Business covered SMEs in what was a rich group of express small vehicle operators. Capturing the big concerns, what made it to the marker board. – What would be petrol Stations of the future? Vehicle availability. Why do we not see vehicles we need for alternative fuels in the UK? Infrastructure is an issue. Congestion, legislation, standardising outside London, costs for SMEs, matching vehicles to size of load, when is the van full, weight or volume?

Sam Clarke Gnewt closed the last comment, We need more creative grant matching for alternative fuel vehicles, we need to recognise business large and small are different in the grant structures.

Covering minutes it was time for a quick review of the two most recent meetings.

2016 Sept meeting - Infrastructure scored top priority for action, a national flavour with speakers from Coventry and Manchester. Carl Lomas, ‘The van group clearly has two streams, operators who return vehicles for fuel or charge to their base and operators who’s drivers take vehicles home, they are unlikely to have off street parking, garage or charging facilities.

2017 Jan meeting  - Heathrow had seen a technology showcase day when gas and electrics were at hand in the West Thames college car park for a touchy feely LoCity group full hands on. Venn Chesterton explained roadshow for LoCity is coming and will match operators to fuel types.

Beyond the cost of alternative fuel. Lomas spoke passionately, ‘Not everyone judges alternative fuel on economic cost, we must measure clean air, it's more than pure cost decisions, people are asking for choice of getting green. The tool needs a score for real green!

Networking has become key to the heart of the LoCity groups, the Docklands venue was no exception, good timescales were allocated for operators to talk business with technology and vehicle providers and Carl Lomas had to shout loud in restoring guests back to the tables.

Jo Boyd Wallis from TfL covered the roll-out of Rapid Charge Points (as part of the Ultra-Low Emission Vehicles Delivery Plan). ‘It’s about getting the right infrastructure and policy to facilitate the transition to low emissions. Charging, on-street residential, top-up at destination and rapid charging en-route. The target is 150 rapid charge points by end 2018 and 300 by 2020.’

The numbers are clearly not enough but the audience was warm; this is the beginning of a journey. Jo outlined funding was in place (18 million) to deliver the first targets. ‘Challenges include securing sites, power supply delivery & commerciality of provision. The new sites must be multi user 43kw dc or 50kw ac and provide live data of availability.

DfT update covered key topics. Freight Carbon review published Feb 10, Weight & Dimensions. Driving licence derogation to weight, DCP no recruitment for alternative fuel vehicles with added battery weight. The Clean Growth Plan got a mention, formerly the emission reduction plan and the zero emission roads strategy.

Sarah Wixey - two key dates for your diary, the next LoCity van group is June 13th and the big date for 2017 will be Nov 7th when LoCity joins the Freight in the City event at Alexandra Palace for must-do double-diary London date for all things freight in transport.