GreenFleet once again hosted its annual Arrive ’n’ Drive event at the Rockingham Motor Speedway on 28 September, which showcased the latest zero and ultra-low emission vehicles and allowed delegates to test how efficient their driving is with the Beat The Sprig challenge
Over 250 delegates came to the showpiece event which showcased a range of low emission vehicles, from a number of leading car brands, for delegates to take for a few laps around the Rockingham circuit. The event aims to help organisations concerned with excessive fuel and running costs, encouraging fleets to “go ultra low”. This is achieved by allowing and encouraging test drives around the track.
During the day, there were two Workshops presented by leading industry experts which aimed to educate fleet managers on the latest ultra low-emission technology, what the government is currently doing to improve air quality in some of the most polluting areas, as well as providing information regarding the latest AFR rates for electric vehicles.
ACFO also held their East and Midlands regional meeting on the morning of the event, and those attending were able to book a VIP test drive in vehicles ranging from BMW’s i3 to Nissan’s popular LEAF, and listen to talks from industry experts.
Andy Eastlake, managing director of the LowCVP, an organisation which aims to accelerate a sustainable shift to lower carbon vehicles, led the first workshop of the day. The talk focused on ‘Clean Air Zones and Commercial Vehicle Operations’.
Eastlake spoke about the latest air quality management strategies being implemented by the government such as the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) – due to be put in place by 2020 – and Clean Air Zones (CAZ), which are soon to be fully operational in five cities, chosen to drive down harmful vehicle emissions as a result of high levels of air pollution.
Eastlake also went on to speak about what the LowCVP is doing to ensure that air quality management policies are implemented efficiently. He stated that the organisation is working with councils to ensure that all CAZ and ULEZ follow the same criteria to avoid confusion.
The Workshop also focused on retrofitting opportunities for fleets, future clean air zone initiatives and the decision that fleets have in order to comply with new regulation – whether that be buying compliant vehicles or avoiding the charge zone areas.
Marcus Jenkins, director at Magtec – a firm that manufactures electric drive systems and components for different vehicle types – delivered the second keynote of the session. Jenkins spoke about the company’s ability to solve problems and talked about its electric drive system offering. European sales manager at Paneltex, Sam Berridge, was the final speaker, and he demonstrated that pure electric drive is a viable option for commercial vehicles.
The afternoon saw John Pryor from ACFO lead a discussion on AFR rates for EVs, and LeasePlan’s Mark Lovett concluded the Workshop with a talk regarding vehicle leasing and financing.
Beat The Sprig
GreenFleet once again held its ecodriving competition – Beat The Sprig. The aim is for those taking part to try and beat the Sprig’s MPG and “smart driving” score on a seven‑mile open-road route. Twenty-six drivers signed up and got the chance to drive a pre‑mapped out route, along with a specialist driving trainer, who was responsible for monitoring driving habits and making notes on how efficiency can be maximised.
This year’s Driver Trainer Partner was Cardinus Risk, a firm specialising in risk management and health and safety.
Nissan, this year’s Beat The Sprig Vehicle Partner, provided three new Nissan Micras to be used for the competition. The All-new Micra has a new design with an uplifting exterior. The vehicle also features new technology, has better driving agility, is comfortable and has best-in-class ABI ratings.
Each one was fitted with telematics technology, courtesy of this year’s Technology Partner, Geotab, that gave instant readings on elements such as harsh braking, excessive acceleration, braking and MPG.
After a ‘warm-up drive’, participants received 10 minutes’ tuition from a professional driving instructor and were then asked to go out again, on the same route, putting in use the new eco-driving skills.
Once the drivers returned, a technician revealed the readings, which highlighted their financial and emissions savings, and determined whose overall score had made it onto the leaderboard.
This year’s winner, Richard Morcom, from Capital Approved Inspectors, achieved top marks of 100 per cent, across the parameters of smooth acceleration, harsh braking, optimal gear change, revs, cornering, etc. and was awarded a BOSE wireless system speaker, courtesy of Nissan. Nissan also held their “GoldenBalls” competition, which saw one lucky winner receive a pair of UEFA Champions League tickets.
On the day, there were a selection of stalls manned by leading industry experts to provide information to fleet managers.
The Phoenix Works shared the latest on renewable energy and electric vehicle charging and Northgate also set up a stand to talk to delegates about vehicle hire options.
For those interested in fleet management and associated software, Drive Software Solutions were available to share their knowledge. In addition, Cardinus Risks also offered their insight on fleet risk management and solutions.
VanTainer, part of Powertainer LTD, manufacturers of Systainer Toolbox Systems and Mobil Van Racking systems, were also available to discuss solutions for transporting and moving tools and equipment.
Round the circuit
Delegates were given the opportunity to take a vehicle from a range of different car brands, such as BMW, Nissan, Toyota and Ford, around the Rockingham circuit.
One vehicle which proved popular on the day was Ford’s Mustang EcoBoost, which was constantly seen winding its way around the circuit throughout the day, putting its speed and handling to the test, and allowing fleet managers to enjoy the sunshine with the roof down. Ford also brought along its Ecosport, which has a 1.0 litre three-cyclinder EcoBoost engine, designed to give the same power as a conventional 1.6. It has a shift indicator light to tell the driver when to change gear – maximising fuel efficiency.
The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV was also another popular vehicle which was taken around the track by fleet managers. It can travel up to 32.5 miles on electricity and recent Outlander PHEV developments include improve styling refinement.
Suzuki made their first appearance at Arrive ’n’ Drive and the Swift 1.0 Boosterjet SZ5 was a hugely popular model, with queues forming while delegates waited patiently to take the model for a drive. It’s new Boosterjet turbocharged petrol engines give the new Swift high power and torque without compromising efficiency.
Also, beneath the bonnet is a turbocharger, which has been designed to maximise fuel economy while keeping emissions low.
BMW/MINI showcased the latest vehicles in its iPerformance range, bringing the latest in plug-in hybrid technology to more models. The i3 was a favoured choice by delegates, as well as the plug-in hybrid 330e saloon, which is capable of driving for up to 25 miles when its battery is fully charged.
New to the fleet sector, the plug-in 530e was available for test drives, in addition to the plug-in hybrid X5, the clean 4x4, with premium style. For those that wanted a ‘real world’ test drive experience, Electric Avenue was available for delegates to take vehicles for a ride away from the circuit.
What's more, Lexus showcased its updated luxury hybrid hatchback, the CT200, which has sportier looks and a refreshed interior, as well as new safety features.
Delegates also enjoyed driving the Toyota Prius Plug-In around Rockingham's race track. With CO2 emissions from 22g/km, the plug-in Prius has an increased electric range of 39 miles, a reduced charging time of two hours on a 16 amp charging facility, and is available with solar panels on the roof for additional range.
Visitors looking to experience the alternative fuel hydrogen were able to test the Toyota Mirai, the world’s first mass-produced hydrogen fuel cell vehicle.
For the latest line-up of GreenFleet events, please visit events.greenfleet.net