Fleet operators descended on Rockingham race circuit to see the latest green industry innovations.
The Green Fleet Arrive and Drive event showcased leasing companies and software providers, while manufacturers including Citroen, Honda, Toyota and Modec were on hand to show off their environmentally-friendly products.
However, questions were raised about the lack of exhibitors and the event’s location – is the green industry advanced enough for a large bespoke event?
OPERATIONS MANAGER, LOMBARD VEHICLE MANAGEMENT
‘I’M here because I want to increase my knowledge of products in the green market.
‘I look after commercial vehicles so I’m interested in driving the Modec electric van. We’re getting quite a few customers asking about alternative fuels and appropriate vehicles in the commercial market.
‘There isn’t much at the moment, but I think the Modec’s got potential. We’ll be trying it first hand today.
‘Anything in the green range is interesting. Stop-start technology might be worth a look as well.
‘This event is a good idea, because you can see everything in one day.’
VEHICLE SUPPLY MANAGER, THE AA
‘I’M here to see what’s here from a fleet perspective and also to see the software available at the moment.
‘There’s nothing in particular I’m looking for, but I’ve got a bee in my bonnet about hybrid vehicles. Everyone’s saying they’re the greenest vehicles but I think not, so I’m here to try them and see.
‘The various different technologies sound fantastic but until the infrastructure is in place to support them commercially there’s not much we can do. We want to try to reduce our CO2 footprint, but with electric and biodiesel we don’t have depots so we can’t refuel.
‘This event is an opportunity to see what people have to offer. Having everything in one place is an advantage, although I thought there might be a bit more information available.’
PROCUREMENT MANAGER, WAKEFIELD COUNCIL
‘WE’RE hoping companies can give us some advice. We know we’re supposed to go green but we’re not sure how to do that.
‘I’ve got mixed feelings about the event. I’m concerned that people are trying to sell cars rather than give direction. They want to tell us that their product is the best.
There’s so much and it would be nice to be able to tell the difference between it all.
‘I am very interested in the Modec electric van and we’re going to book a demo. But we need guidance from someone, to say ‘this is what you want to be doing’, because we’re just guessing at the moment.’
PROJECT MANAGER, LONDON BOROUGH OF CAMDEN
‘WE have car clubs in Camden and we’re looking to improve the fleet. We’re really seeing what’s out there and what’s available so we can suggest it to our operators.
‘The only problem with the event is that Rockingham is a bit out of the way. We had to get the tube, train, bus and a taxi to get here. We haven’t had a chance to test drive anything yet because the waiting lists are backed up. Maybe next time they could do with more vehicles.’
FLEET MANAGER, OFFICE2OFFICE
‘IT’S a fantastic event. I’m curious about greener cars and I want to find out more and see what’s available.
‘The Modec piques my interest because it’s not using fossil fuels. It’s partly because of the image – a lot of people are interested in the environment now and if they see companies working that way it could sway them towards us.
We’ve got a fleet of 180 Mercedes-Benz Sprinters and I’m interested to know if the Modec could replace them in London. ‘It’s certainly not financially economic to go green, so we’re still investigating what to do at the moment.’
HEAD OF FLEET RENTAL, CLM FLEET MANAGEMENT
‘I’M interested in green issues, particularly in the biodiesel side of things and how it’s going to progress. I think certainly traditional diesel has come a long way as well.
‘I didn’t come to see a particular car but to see how the industry is moving into greener fuels. I’ve driven the Lexus GS450h hybrid which is very impressive.
‘A lot of companies want to ask us about green issues, so we need to be well-informed. It’s a good event, but I want to drive one car in particular and there’s a bit of a waiting list. I just want to get in and drive it. It’s been opened up too much to the general public I think, maybe there should be two days where the fleets can come in first, because we look for different things to the public. It’s too much of a waste of my day to stay all day to drive one car.’
TRANSPORT MANAGER, HARINGEY COUNCIL
‘WE’RE interested in hybrid vehicles, and I’m particularly interested in the Honda Civic IMA.
‘It’s the greener issues that people want to see tackled. Obviously, it’s partly for image but the council has to comply with government guidelines too.
‘We’ve tried various vehicles over the years. I’m trying to find out what it’s about on the car side and there are some small vehicles around too that I’m interested in.
‘It’s a good event. There’s a good range of vehicles and the staff are very helpful and knowledgeable. It’s a useful day out.
FLEET MANAGER, DEAN AND DYBALL CONSTRUCTION
‘I THOUGHT there would have been more vehicle manufacturers here, and I think it’s the wrong location. There’s no on-road representation, somewhere like Millbrook proving ground would have been better.
‘As green is the buzzword at the moment, I would have thought the Department for Transport would be here to let us know what’s available, but it’s not.
‘We need the government to take the lead. If the event was held again next year I’d consider who was attending before I made a decision. It was worth coming to see what the event was like but I’m not sure if it’s worth coming back again.’