Fleet News

Battle for greener motoring shifts up a gear

THE Energy Saving Trust's Powershift programme started its second phase in earnest last week, when grants were awarded to help fleets fund 318 alternatively fuelled vehicles. Powershift's first phase involved placing alternatively fuelled vehicles for trials with fleets, such as the Coventry Electric Vehicle Project.

A total of 131 vehicles spent time under appraisal, proving they could carry out the day-to-day functions of a petrol or diesel powered vehicle without any handicap to the operator. Thirty-eight fleets eventually went through the formal application procedures, requesting funding for over 400 gas and electrically powered vehicles.

The second phase of Powershift will pay out up to £20 million (out of a three year £60 million budget), meeting fleets halfway by providing 50% of the additional cost of converting a vehicle to run on 'greener' fuels, a subsidy which is clearly encouraging a number of organisations at least to experiment with gas or electricity.

Jonathan Murray, manager of the Powershift programme, said: 'Our second phase is focused on sending alternatively fuelled vehicles to depot based fleets, so we can start to create a refuelling infrastructure, and encourage motor manufacturers to join in. The potential £20 million worth of orders from Powershift's funding partnerships represents the biggest single step yet on the road towards a sustainable market for alternatively fuelled vehicles.'

Of the applications 49% came from local authorities, a further 11% from refuse collection companies, and bus and coach operators represented a further 14%.

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