Fleet News

Make green cars 'sexier', say fleets

FLEETS are calling on car manufacturers to 'sex-up' alternative fuelled vehicles if the war on greenhouse gases is to be won.

The call to arms came during a face-to-face meeting between fleet decision-makers, the Energy Saving Trust and leading industry figures.

At the round-table meeting, Nigel Trotman, business relationship manager for the Whitbread Group, said: 'Cars using alternative fuels must change because they aren't sexy enough. Some drivers want them, but only if they don't cost more. People must be given an incentive.'

Following the meeting, The Energy Saving Trust has arranged a series of meetings with the Department for Transport to step up the war on greenhouse gases.

Richard Tarboton, head of EST TransportEnergy, which supports a number of grant schemes to help the move to clean fuel vehicles, including PowerShift, said it was important to maintain the momentum after its programmes had helped fund record numbers of alternative fuel vehicles and clean vehicle-technologies over the past two years.

He said: 'These results are encouraging when concern about tackling climate change is at the top of the agenda and fuel prices continue to rise.'

According to the EST, the fleet sector has saved more than £42.5m since 2002 by implementing Transport Energy's BestPractice efficiency methods.

In 2003/2004, EST allocated grants totalling £20.91m to encourage companies to fit emission-reducing equipment to diesel vehicles, or switch to alternative clean-fuel cars and commercial vehicles.

This cut CO2 emissions by 29,585 tonnes, says the EST.

Tarboton said: 'I hope more organisations will consider working with us to reduce their environmental impact through efficiency measures.'

Driving the next phase is a Government objective that 10% of new passenger vehicles sold from 2012 produce less than 100gms of CO2 per kilometre. The EU target is 140gms per kilometre by 2008.

A key aim of the round table meeting was to discuss with the industry how the programme could be accelerated.

Problems identified included the short-term focus of the Government's policies and a perception that alternative-fuel vehicles were not 'sexy'.

Fleet views sought on grant strategy

FLEETS in England, Scotland and Wales are being invited to give their views on a consultation launched on Monday by the Department for Transport on the TransportEnergy grant programmes.

The survey aims to tell the Government how well the grant programmes are performing, to provide 'support and stability' to the green transport industry and how to promote the uptake of cleaner vehicles.

Welcoming the consultation, Richard Tarboton, head of TransportEnergy, said: 'Our TransportEnergy programmes are already proving an overwhelming success. The uptake of advice, information and grants this year is exceptional, which proves that together with Government and industry, we are successfully creating a market for sustainable low-emission transport.

This consultation is a great opportunity for us to continue to listen to and speak with our stakeholders about developing the role of the programmes. We look forward to reading the results and working with the DfT, the Scottish Executive and Welsh Assembly to develop our programmes to the next stage.'

  • Comments should be made to the DfT by October 29. For details visit

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