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Public sector fleets get free advice on cutting emissions

UK public sector fleets are being given additional free help to select and operate cleaner vehicles with the launch of two new publications.

The Clean Vehicle Procurement Guide and the Life Cycle Costing Tool have been published as part of the European Commission-funded Clean Fleets project, which runs until the end of September 2015.

The three-year project aims to boost purchasing and leasing demand for low emission, low carbon energy efficient vehicles and advises how the European Union Clean Vehicle Directive can be incorporated into public sector tender processes.

The directive, which was adopted in 2009, requires that environmental impacts linked to the operation over the lifetime of vehicles are taken into account in public procurement purchase decisions.

It also defines how to calculate the operational lifetime costs for energy consumption, CO2 emissions and pollutant emissions (mono-nitrogen oxides, non-methane hydrocarbons and particulate matter) of vehicles.

The lifetime mileage is multiplied by the corresponding value of energy consumption or emissions per kilometre and by the respective cost per unit of energy or emission.

Linking those calculations to established total cost of ownership data, including vehicle maintenance, enables organisations to determine lifetime costs using the Life Cycle Costing Tool spreadsheet, which has been developed to meet requests from fleet decision-makers.

The directive was designed to accelerate broad market introduction of clean and energy efficient road transport with increased sales helping to reduce costs through economies of scale, resulting in progressive improvement in the energy and environmental performance of vehicle fleets.

Clean Fleets is run by a project team of 13 European partners and in the UK it is Transport and Travel Research (TTR) as well as Transport for London.

TTR also manages the ECO Stars Fleet Recognition Scheme on behalf of local authorities in the UK.

Launched in South Yorkshire in 2009, it aims to help fleet operators improve efficiency, reduce fuel consumption and emissions and thus make cost savings.

Today, more than 200 organisations collectively operating more than 14,000 vehicles are members.

Through the Clean Fleets project, experts from the partner organisations are available to offer free individual fleet support with tenders, providing assistance on each step of the procurement process, from market consultation and specification development to competitive tendering and contract management.

Tom Parker, TTR’s environment divisional manager, said: “We’ve received a positive response to the new guidance already, but hope we can encourage more fleet operators in the public sector across the UK to get in contact and use the tools provided.”

The directive and the Clean Vehicle Procurement Guide focuses on cars and light commercial vehicles, buses, and heavy vehicles such as trucks or refuse trucks.

For example, the European Green Public Procurement Criteria stipulates that cars must emit less than 130g/km of CO2 and vans less than 170g/km.

Bristol City Council used the guidance to stipulate under its latest light duty vehicle framework that cars and car-derived vans must be in the 111g/km to 120g/km Vehicle Excise Duty bracket.

Another example of a UK organisation that has used the Clean Fleets project to help it in its acquisition decisions is Reading Borough Council, which acquired 34 buses running on biomethane – the largest fleet of its type in the UK – delivering up to a 50% reduction in NOx emissions compared with Euro 5 diesel buses.

The guide takes account of the vehicle technology/fuel – electric, hybrid, biofuel, CNG, LPG, petrol, diesel, etc. – and the costing tool enables any tax incentives as well as total cost of ownership data to be taken into account in making acquisition calculations.

However, it acknowledges: “Many alternative fuel/technology options have higher upfront investment costs, both in terms of the vehicles, the infrastructure required, and potentially driver and maintenance training, but can demonstrate cost savings over the lifecycle of the vehicle due to lower fuel consumption/prices, and potentially longer lifespans and lower maintenance costs.”

An online discussion forum on the Clean Fleets website (www.clean-fleets.eu) has been established to allow exchanges of information, opinions and ideas on particular procurement issues.

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