Nobody ever said it was easy being green (in fact Kermit the Frog made an entire career out of telling us how hard it was), but more and more, global and economic factors are pointing towards a more ethical, sustainable and, yes, greener future. With high profile haulage and logistics companies taking steps towards establishing green initiatives and management practices as the norm, the transport industry has never been more self-aware.
While this not-so-subtle shift is, of course, very good news for the planet, it’s also very good news for haulage companies and owner-drivers who are already practising what the sustainability experts are preaching. Winning the jobs to transport available loads is no longer just about offering the cheapest price. Hauliers with a proven track record of green operational systems, vehicles and supply-chains are being rewarded for their environmentally aware practices. It’s never to late to start making small steps to ‘going green’, and, as a full time driver, your choice of what vehicle you use to transport those available loads once you get them is the most important one.
Some of the biggest companies in the world are now running hybrid vehicles in their global fleets, including the UK. Using up to 30% less fuel with far-reduced carbon emissions, the vehicles also feature advanced aerodynamic design and reduced body weight (due to carbon fibre construction), meaning their capacity is vastly increased.
The Renault Premium Hybrys Tech truck, for example, is a 26-tonne diesel-electric vehicle currently being used in the UK, with energy provided by the diesel engine and kinetic generation. The kinetic generation is stored in traction batteries powered by the action of the vehicle braking and accelerating and then used at speeds of up to 20kmph. Once the speed increases, the diesel engine kicks in. Volvo also has a hybrid haulage vehicle in production – the Volvo FE Hybrid – which has been hailed as the fastest hybrid truck in the world.
The biggest news to hit the UK delivery vehicle industry is the arrival of the Iveco 100% electric, zero-emissions New Daily Electric van. Iveco has been working towards production of 100% electric vehicles since 1986, and the New Daily Electric is not only dripping with green credentials, it’s also been designed specifically for green purposes. It has a fully integrated electronic dashboard (complete with detachable tablet) for data management and top-of-the-range navigational capabilities; two different driving modes, allowing the operator to choose between Eco and Power modes; extended battery life; near silent running, and a huge cargo volume.
Other popular commercial electric vans include the Peugeot Partner (whose features include rapid battery charging), and the Nissan E-NV200 Accenta Rapid Plus, which is 100% electric and includes advanced telematics (so you’ll never miss the opportunity to bid for available loads on the go), low running costs, no noise and emissions pollution.
With green technologies advancing in leaps and bounds, the future is already here in terms of more sustainable road transport. For responsible hauliers looking to become part of the solution rather than remain part of the problem, switching to a greener vehicle is one of the most valuable steps they can take.
Norman Dulwich is a correspondent for Haulage Exchange, the world’s largest neutral trading hub for same day available loads in the express freight exchange industry. Over 4,000 transport exchange businesses are networked together through their website, trading jobs and capacity in a safe ‘wholesale’ environment.