Mitsubishi PHEV

Comment: What's a CAZ? How's your ULEV?

Certain key phrases have come to dominate discourse in the low emission vehicle community – Ultra-Low Emission Vehicle, Clean Air Zone, Plug-in Car Grant etc – but how well are their meanings and definitions understood by the wider community of road users?

Shortening commonly used names or phrases into acronyms can save us effort and energy, but they can also further confuse and undermine understanding, unless the definitions are very well pinned down. And absolutely and universally understood.

In preparation for the new zones and even more focus on low emission vehicles and policy support, we have recently been looking more closely at motorists’ interpretation of some of the most commonly-used words and phrases and their associated acronyms.

We found that less than 1% of a large sample of current drivers of plug-in cars were able to correctly provide an ‘official’ definition for a ULEV (Ultra-Low Emission Vehicle). The main reference point is the Office for Low Emission Vehicle (OLEV) definition for a ULEV, which enables eligibility for the Plug-in Car Grant (PICG), is 75 gCO2/km.

There is also evidence that the definition of the term ULEV is often misinterpreted; where a CO2 emission threshold is assumed, significantly more drivers believe the threshold to be ‘50’ or ‘25’ or even ‘10’ (g/km), supporting the contention that most drivers interpret the colloquial phrase ‘ultra-low’ to mean ‘almost zero’.

ULEV is not the only expression that gives definitional challenges. With the plans on air quality now under way, we’re going to be hearing a lot more about terms such as CAZ (Clean Air Zone), U/LEZ (Ultra/Low Emission Zone) and other associated terms as the new policies to tackle local pollution are developed. And what is a ZEV or a LEN? People might, for example, assume that there is some kind of relationship between a ULEV and a ULEZ, but there’s – currently at least - no direct link.

On the positive side, our research did find that once the emission acronyms are presented to respondents in full, both EV-user audiences and mainstream UK motorists can accurately order the vehicle terms.

However, motorists from both our samples had a low level of awareness of the term and meaning ‘Low Emission Zone’ and few recognised the sign for it (present now in several locations). While London’s Congestion Charge Zone has become familiar to those in, or visiting, the capital, recognition and understanding of the meaning of either Clean Air Zones or LEZs is still very low.

In general, the evidence we found suggests that ‘emission zones’ are more often perceived (now correctly) as indicating access restrictions for certain types of vehicle rather than mechanisms for charging for access. One of the lessons of the recent work was that in designing emissions-related traffic signs a choice should be made whether to communicate the mechanism (low vehicle emissions) or the desired outcome (clean air).

So, where does all this leave us? Clearly there’s a lot of work to be done to agree, clarify, simplify and communicate the various terms and acronyms for lower carbon and less polluting vehicles and the areas in which they will be mandated or encouraged. With our wide range of stakeholder partners and forums for discussion, the LowCVP is well placed to steer this discussion and, I hope, shed more light on the best (Low Emission) routes forward.

Andy Eastlake from LowCVP

Making sense of the vast amount of data produced from telematics can often be daunting, resulting in opportunities being missed and actions not being taken. Our expert panelists share their advice on how to make sure valuable fleet information is not getting lost

Telematics generates vast amounts of data which needs to be digested and acted on if any benefits are to be realised. But how well are fleets using data? And do companies have a moral and legal obligation to act on reports of bad driving? We ask our telematics experts

Meet our new leasing experts, who in this first discussion, examine how new challenges such as Brexit, air quality and policy changes are affecting fleet managers

In the first of a new panel discussion, we ask our experts their views on how telematics have shaped and driven change within the fleet management profession, and why reluctance to use fleet technology still exists within some organisations

GreenFleet Expert Panel - Leasing

Can it pay to think differently about the way we travel? Our expert panelists examine how the new concept of ‘mobility’ is impacting the fleet sector

Expert Panel

Following the launch of the Department of Transport’s consultation into making charge points more accessible, GreenFleet’s expert panelists give their views on the key factors that will shape the electric vehicle market’s development in the near future.

GreenFleet Expert Panel - Leasing

How can leasing and contract hire firms help with the wider role of fleet management? And what role does the industry play in driving down emissions? We ask our new expert panel for their views.

Expert Panel - Telematics

Our telematics expert panelists share their thoughts on how technology has helped drive down road emissions, how telematics grows the appeal of electric vehicles, and how autonomous vehicles could benefit fleets in the future.

Expert Panel - Electric Fleets

GreenFleet taps into the minds of its expert panel to assess the place of electric vehicles in company car fleets and what the major barriers to adoption will be moving forward.

GreenFleet Expert Panel - Connectivity

Technology is changing the way we travel. GreenFleet quizzes its telematics expert panel on how connectivity is facilitating new mobility trends, aiding fleet management, and reducing CO2 emissions.

 Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid Premium SE

The Plug-in Hybrid is the last of Hyundai’s Ioniq family to arrive, but does it offer the best benefits of all-electric and hybrid running? Richard Gooding tops up his knowledge on the South Korean newcomer

SEAT Ibiza SE 1.0 TSI 95

A small car staple for almost 35 years, Richard Gooding finds that the fifth-generation SEAT Ibiza brings sharp-suited dynacism and petrol-powered economy to a fiercely competitive sector

Alfa Romeo Giulia Super 2.2 Turbodiesel 180

Alfa Romeo’s new compact executive sports saloon takes inspiration from its past, but also looks forward towards a more efficient future. Richard Gooding reports

The 380GW is the latest Nextbase Dash Cam designed specifically for daily commercial use.