Fleet News

Don't wait for hybrids - go for dual-fuel vehicles now

FLEETS are being urged to move over to alternative-fuelled vehicles now rather than wait for the development of hybrid vehicles. The call comes from Jonathan Murray, head of transport for Powershift, the Government funded initiative which provides grants of up to 75% towards the cost of using cleaner-fuelled vehicles.

He said: 'People should not wait for fuel cells because there are already viable options that will reduce pollution, improve air quality and save fleets money in the short-term. Operating an LPG vehicle, for example, over 10,000 miles a year saves between £400 and £500, so multiply that by 100 vehicles or so and you are talking about huge savings.'

Murray feels fuel cell hybrids are at a similar stage now as liquefied petroleum gas was 10 years ago with a lot of work to be done on key components and production processes before they can be brought from the laboratories on to the production line.

He said: 'Hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicles are like the crock of gold at the end of the rainbow. It is the zero emission fuel that has no range problems. But it will take at least 10 years for them to be widely available and affordable.'

Murray added that interest in cleaner-fuelled vehicles was beginning to be more wide spread, moving away from mainly public sector fleets of local authorities and NHS Trusts to include insurance and leasing companies.

He said: 'People are really becoming more aware of the alternatives available. It makes sense for the NHS Trusts to take an interest, particularly as using cleaner fuels will potentially reduce the number of people they have to treat.'

Powershift is expected to announce incentives to encourage fleets to buy the Honda Insight and the Toyota Prius, which is due to go on sale in the autumn, by the end of the month.

Estimates as high as £2,000 have been given, which would cut the on-the-road price of the 1.0-litre Insight and 1.5-litre Prius to £15,000 and £17,000 respectively.

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