Keep on truckin'

Hybrid and electric vehicle numbers are creeping up, but mainly only in the car market. Will Simpson finds out if low-emission vans, lorries and RCVs could soon be hurtling down a road near you

This article was taken from Issue 72

Low-emission cars are making steady headway in the UK. Certainly, hybrid vehicles are not the oddity they once were – sales of ‘alternatively fuelled’ (i.e. hybrid, electric, natural gas or biofuel) vehicles rose by 9.4 per cent in 2012 and now comprise 1.4 per cent of all new sales. It is accepted that if the UK is going to make any sort of progress towards its promise to cut its CO2 emissions by 80 per cent by 2050 then, given that one fifth of emissions come from road transport, such vehicles will have a big part to play. But trucks, vans and lorries are another story. Here, low-emission technology has yet to make any serious inroads, which is unfortunate given that the heavier the vehicle, the worse a polluter it tends to be. A light van with a 0.5-tonne payload will, on average, produce 22.5 kilogrammes (kg) of CO2 per 100 kilometres, whereas a 19-tonne heavy goods vehicle (HGV) will produce 74.3 kg over the same distance.