Fleet News

First two £20m Low Emission Freight and Logistics Trials hit the road

Low Emission Freight and Logistic Trial 2017

The first two projects funded in the £20 million Low Emission Freight and Logistic Trial earlier this year are now hitting the roads.

The funding announced at the Sustainable Road Transport Conference in January by Transport Minister John Hayes MP, is being given to 20 firms who set out plans for innovative ways to deploy low and zero emission vehicles. The competition is funded by the Office for Low Emission Vehicles and Innovate UK.

The freight industry accounts for about 30% of the UK’s CO2 transport emissions and the money will help fleets get their new lower emission vehicles on the roads.


The two projects are:

The ‘Dedicated to Gas’ trial led by Air Liquide

Large fleet operators including Kuehne and Nagel, Wincanton, ASDA, Brit European, Howard Tenens and Great Bear trial the effectiveness of 81 dedicated gas-powered heavy good vehicles (HGVs) new to the UK market as well as five new cryogenic transport refrigeration units (TRUs).


The KERS-URBAN consortium’s new hybrid Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS)

The trial will happen on a total of twenty HGVs operated by Howdens Joinery Group and Sainsbury’s Supermarkets, including both rigid and articulated HGVs. 

The hybrid KERS technology supplied by Alternatech will recover energy during braking and then utilise the energy during acceleration, which will reduce fuel consumption and emissions, particularly in city environments.

The environmental benefits of the technology are being independently evaluated by Imperial College London.


Innovate UK’s manufacturing and materials director Simon Edmonds said: “It is excellent news that the first two projects of this pioneering trial are now roadworthy.

“The data from these trials will be invaluable to future development and commercialisation of these low carbon technologies for low emission freight and fleet vehicles.

“Reducing emissions from commercial vehicles is a major opportunity and we look forward to working with the Office for Low Emission Vehicles and Department for Transport further on this agenda in the coming months.”

Alongside the competition, TRL have been appointed to evaluate performance of the low emission freight and logistic trial and capture data on the emissions savings produced in the trial. This will allow government and freight operators to make informed decisions about how to best develop their low emission fleets and infrastructure.

ASDA’s fleet operations manager John Rogerson said: “As a company committed to sustainable, low emissions transportation, ASDA is proud to be part of the select group of operators trialling new low emissions HGVs in the UK for the first time.

“We are excited to work with Air Liquide and our other project partners to hopefully demonstrate the impact low-emissions HGV technology can have on the entire industry, while infusing the latest technology into our fleet and reducing our overall carbon footprint.”

Howdens Joinery Group’s national transport manager Charlie Nissen said: “Having a core fleet in Howdens Joinery that does in excess of 15 million miles a year, the initial benefits of trialling KERS technology on part of our trailer fleet is the potential cost savings in fuel.

“However in addition to this Howdens Joinery Supply Division has always carried out its activities and services with the commitment to being a responsible business, doing things because they are the right thing to do and worthwhile for all concerned.

“Our certification to the ISO14001 Environmental Management Systems standard demonstrates this commitment.

“Part of acting responsibly means that we understand how we impact the environment, and we take action to stop or reduce those impacts.

“The trailer KERS innovation allows us to be involved in the forefront of a technology that could have the potential to reduce carbon emissions from Large Goods Vehicles, not just within Howdens, but across the industry.”

By mid-2018 all trial projects will have deployed their low emission fleets, totally over 300 low emission vehicles across the UK. 

Leave a comment for your chance to win £20 of John Lewis vouchers.

Every issue of Fleet News the editor picks his favourite comment from the past two weeks – get involved for your chance to appear in print and win!

Login to comment


  • John 4870 - 13/09/2017 10:31

    Wow, what a good idea. Just like Prius has been doing efficiently for more than 20 years.

  • john4870 - 13/09/2017 12:47

    You mean just like Toyota Prius has been doing for 20 years?

Related content

Compare costs of your company cars

Looking to acquire new vehicles? Check how much they'll cost to run with our Car Running Cost calculator.

What is your BIK car tax liability?

The Fleet News car tax calculator lets you work out tax costs for both employer and employee