Fleet News

Heathrow set to trial electric vehicles

This week sees the launch of a new trial of electric vehicles at Heathrow to test the viability of electric power-trains used in the highly demanding context of daily airport operations.

Over the next month, a fleet of EVs including the Nissan LEAF, Peugeot iOn, Vauxhall Ampera and the Renault Kangoo Z.E. will be trialled by four organisations and operators at Heathrow.

In addition to Heathrow Airport Limited, who support a potential switch to zero-emission ground based vehicles, British Airways, LSG SkyChefs and Gate Gourmet will be using the electric vehicles within their normal fleet to better understand the suitability or otherwise of EVs for their operations.

Following a detailed assessment of vehicles technologies last year, STS, who manage the Heathrow Clean Vehicles Partnership (CVP)  and who are coordinating the new EV trials, have recommended greater use of EVs at Heathrow; not only as a way to reduce life cycle CO2 emissions, but also as part of the NOx emissions reduction strategy across the airport.

As noted by STS director Dr Ben Lane: “Given the current availability of high quality EVs, and need to reduce ground based vehicle emissions, STS are recommending an increase in the use of electric vehicles at Heathrow. In addition to the fleet of almost 700 electric baggage tugs already in use, we see considerable potential for other electric ground support equipment (such as cargo loaders and pushback tractors), as well as the latest on-road electric cars and vans now available in the UK.”

David Vowles, air quality and noise policy manager at Heathrow Airport Limited said: “Ten per cent of airside vehicles are already electric. The Clean Vehicle Partnership facilitates collaborative working amongst Heathrow fleet operators as well as providing advice, guidance and training to reduce emissions. This trial gives fleet operators more experience of using electric vehicles and the opportunity to test their suitability for both airside use and on the road.”

Renaults’ head of Electric Vehicle Programme at Renault UK Andy Heiron also commented: “We were keen to work with CVP members to accelerate the uptake of low emission vehicles and practices for ground use at Heathrow. The EV trial will allows vehicle operators on the airport to experience and better understand the capabilities of Kangoo van ZE in this environment. With around 600 ‘conventional’ Kangoo vans already in service at Heathrow we know this van is well adapted to airport use and are confident that this trial will demonstrate that the ZE version is ideal for the type of duty cycle most operators demand.”

Initial results from the Heathrow EV trials will be presented at the next CVP seminar on 6th December 2012. Information about the trials will also be available on the CVP website.

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