Scotch bonnets!

On 5 May, GreenFleet Scotland highlighted the growing air pollution issues north of the border, with ultra low-emission vehicle displays as well as a host of seminars and test drives.

Air quality is now regularly in the headlines. Over 38 Scottish zones have air quality safety standards regularly broken, and according to Friends of the Earth Scotland, air pollution causes more than 2,500 deaths in Scotland each year. In 2015, the Scottish government released its ‘Cleaner Air for Scotland’ (CAFS) strategy which set out how it will deliver its commitment to further improve air quality to protect human health as well as fulfilling Scotland’s legal responsibilities.

GreenFleet Scotland in association with the Energy Saving Trust, Transport Scotland and ChargePlace Scotland opened it doors on 5 May at the Royal Highland Centre in Ingliston to educate fleet managers and transport executives in ways to save money as well as reducing CO2 from their transport operations.

Static displays and test drives

Traditionally, highlights of GreenFleet Scotland are the static displays and test drives of low and ultra-low emission vehicles, and the ninth year of the show was no exception. Getting behind the wheel of ultra-low and zero emission vehicles can be both useful and enlightening in terms of both experiencing the technology itself and convincing those of the need to make the switch, and there were plenty of vehicles at GreenFleet Scotland to enjoy. 

BMW’s range of iPerformance models was well-represented at GreenFleet Scotland, with the familiar i3, 2 Series Active Tourer PHEV and 1 Series available to drive, as well as the less well-recognised but still technologically exciting and fleet-friendly 330e plug-in hybrid. The German manufacturer also showcased the brand-new plug-in version of its just‑out Series saloon, the 530e, alongside the i8.

Fleet managers also had the chance to see Mini’s first plug-in hybrid up close, as the 49g/km, 134.5mpg Countryman S E All4 was on static display in side the main hall. Nissan dealership Alex F Noble & Son brought the best-selling electric car, the Leaf, and its e-NV200 van sister, as well as the brand-new Micra, which has only just been launched in the UK.

Hyundai brought along its new Ioniq hybrid and all-electric models, while Mitsubishi’s popular Outlander PHEV and its commercial sibling, the Outlander PHEV 4Work could also be put through their paces on the Highland Centre’s test track. Wowing visitors both inside and outside the hall, the new 100kWh, four-wheel drive Tesla Model X SUV was available to examine and drive, as was the established Model S. Toyota was also on hand in Edinburgh, and made a test drive splash with the new C-HR hybrid, Prius, and 22g/km Prius Plug-in, while the Mirai hydrogen car was on show on the main hall floor. Lexus championed the CT 200h and NX 300h hybrids, while local dealership The Belmont Group brought along a range of Kia models, including the distinctive Soul EV, as well as the new Niro Hybrid and the 37g/km, 176.6mpg Optima PHEV. 

2017 EV Challenge

The EV Challenge is another active highlight of GreenFleet Scotland. Sponsored by Leaseplan and Route Monkey, the 2017 EV Challenge saw competitors line up outside the Royal Highland Centre and were waved off silently on their 50‑mile trip around Edinburgh by Andrew Benfield, Group Director of Transport at the Energy Saving Trust and Tom Lessells, Assistant Manager, Transport, Energy Saving Trust, Scotland.

Winners of the Nissan Leaf category were Stewart Paul and Claire Bain from Fife Council, who travelled 52.6 miles with 5.5 miles per kWh, equal to 265MPGe in a diesel vehicle. Victorious in the Nissan e-NV200 category were Alan Hamilton and Jock Selkirk from Hamilton Driver Training, while Central Taxis fielded a number of drivers, with David Shek and Tony Kenmuir taking the category win.

Seminar programme

A comprehensive seminar programme is also an essential ingredient of GreenFleet Scotland, and the 2017 event enjoyed three sessions throughout the day. The first, ‘Air Quality and The Role of Clean Commercial Vehicles’ was chaired by GreenFleet Features and Road Test Editor Richard Gooding, and saw four speakers share their experiences and outline plans on how greener commercial vehicles and buses can help improve air quality. 

First up, Eleanor Pratt, Senior Air Quality Officer at the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) outlined the agency’s involvement in reducing air pollution, while Stephen Thomson, Head of Environment and Sustainability at Transport Scotland gave a presentation on the National Low Emission Framework (NLEF). Glen Davies, Chair of the Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme (FORS), imparted information on the scheme itself as well as the LoCITY driving courses, and Will Garret, Spatial Policy Manager, Planning and Transport at The City of Edinburgh Council gave details on what measures the council uses to lower air pollution.

The second session was on Efficient Fleet Management and was sponsored by Route Monkey. Chaired by Andrew Benfield, Group Director of Transport at the Energy Saving Trust, Toby Poston, Director of Communications & External Relations at the BVRLA gave insights into the area of grey fleet, while Gordon Manson, Abigail Betney and Laura Anderson of the Energy Saving Trust detailed cost and emissions‑reducing programmes. Finally, Dan Jenkins, PR & Marketing Officer at Route Monkey offered insights into the sustainable transport solutions the company offers.

RouteMonkey launched its new ‘MyRouteMonkey’ EV journey-planning app at the show, too, which allows users to optimise routes for electric cars and vans, including implementing a schedule for charging.
The final session, Emerging Technology: the 15th E-cosse Forum, was chaired by Urban Foresight. Head of the Low Carbon Vehicle Policy Team at Transport Scotland, Zak Tuck detailed the ‘Switched on Scotland’ roadmap, which includes the aim of no fossil fuel vehicles by 2050, and George Paterson, Customer Solutions & Programme Director at Dukosi told delegates of plans to develop a wireless battery and charging system for use in EVs. 

Matthew Lumsden, Managing Director of Connected Energy gave an insight into the world of second-use EV batteries, while Alan Clarke, Public Policy Associate at Uber spoke about the ride-sharing company’s plan to switch to all-electric ‘cabs’. Busy question and answer sessions followed every seminar.

Packed exhibitor show hall

As well as the outdoor and seminar activities, there was the usual packed show hall, with exhibitors showcasing charging infrastructure as well as the vehicles which need them. BMM was the Recharging Partner for the event and experts were on hand to answer any questions, while leasing and mobility specialists Alphabet were also on hand to share details of how it is driving up electric vehicle use through contract hire, tailored rental services and its AlphaCity car-sharing scheme. 

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