Handsfree Group attend the 2017 British Transport Advisory Consortium Conference

The Conference

There was an impressive turn out to what was a very informative conference, focussing on industry news, cost saving and best practise.

From alternative fuels and electric driving to the DVSA introducing an earned recognition scheme, the conference was packed full of a wide variety of useful insights for all attendees to take away.

Handsfree Group UK Sales Director, Chris Baines, attended the conference and these were his 4 biggest takeaway points from the day.

Takeaway Point 1

Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) fuel is revolutionary, not only saving cost on fuel but protecting the environment at the same time. Waitrose are leading the way with Bio-Metheyne (Bio CNG) Alternative Fuel powered vehicles by making the switch already.

A great deal was discussed about CNG (methane stored at high pressure) – a fuel which can be used in place of gasoline (petrol), Diesel fuel and propane/LPG. CNG combustion produces fewer undesirable gases than the traditional vehicle fuels.

CNG Fuels are the company supplying the gas pumps to Waitrose, their vision is as follows:

  • “To develop a Bio-CNG refuelling network with the capability to service all of the UK’s major trucking routes.”
  • “To build a network that is so reliable and dispenses CNG at such a low cost, that Bio-CNG is the only sensible choice for fleet operators.”
  • “To see HGV fleets in the UK catch up with international peers by running predominantly on low-emissions, low-cost biomethane.”

An average HGV does 200K KM per year and averages an MPG of 9-10 miles per gallon. At current prices (£1.19 per litre) it can cost £68’800 per annum in diesel per vehicle. Switching to CNG alternatives can see savings of up to 43%.

When you consider that the average logistics operator is running at around 3% – 4% margin, with the biggest costs being fuel, switching makes sense and could boost operator margin to 8%.

Take Away Point 2

A conference exclusive… Tesla to launch electric HGV.  This was a very exciting part of the conference, as we could see electric HGV take to the road very soon.  

Tesla’s truck could have a range of 200-300 miles which is impressive for what the company are calling the “small-range” model. They are looking to expand into long-distance models capable of 1000 miles on a single charge.

The news has now broken mainstream with reports of Tesla’s Elon Musk describing the commercial vehicle as a “beast” and confirming the company’s all-electric truck reveal date of 26th October 2017.

Take Away Point 3

We have all heard a few murmurings in the press about future Diesel engine production stopping and now it is becoming a reality – Volvo are to stop producing Diesel engines for its car division from 2019, switching to fully electric or hybrid only.  They will be launching five fully electric cars between 2019 and 2021 – three Volvos and two from Polestar, their high performance division.  

The rising costs of running a Diesel vehicle (cost of Diesel, threat of extra taxes, extra parking charges and increased congestion charges in London to name a few) and increased demand for electrified vehicles has all contributed towards Volvo’s decision which marks the end of the solely combustion engine-powered car.

Take Away Point 4

The DVSA are introducing a revolutionary earned recognition scheme that makes vehicle safety related information accessible.

Once a vehicle is audited and compliant, a VOSA Highway Patrol car will be able to remotely check its maintenance records to ensure everything is in order.

Applications are officially now open for the new scheme and it could become mandatory for fleets, in a similar way to how ELD (Electronic Logging Device) has done in the U.S.

Tomorrows World

Vehicles have developed a lot in the past 40 years, however the feeling from the conference is that the next 40 could be just as big, if not bigger.

Successful car manufacturers of the future will be software driven, so players like Google and Apple are likely to be those manufacturers, not the typical OE manufacturers of today.

In contrast, with computer giant Apple making $70’000 profit every 60 seconds it could buy Mercedes, BMW and Volkswagen, while still having enough change to buy McDonalds.

Were you at the British Transport Advisory Consortium Conference this year and what did you think?

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