For a long time now, HGV’s have been blamed for the high levels of emissions on the UK’s roads. And to be honest, they are right. While there are more cars on the roads than HGV’s, those cars are rarely travelling as much as HGV’s do, and with millions of fleets travelling billions of miles worldwide every day, it’s easy to see how the impact could build up. To combat that, there have been a number of new strides forward in reducing emissions from HGVs. Today, we want to talk about 2 approaches, 1 that aims to reduce the impact in the immediate future, and 1 that looks to eliminate the problem altogether.
An idea that was banded around for a long time before it was finally put to the test was a simple one – just make HGVs longer. It seems daft, but that extra bit of space could actually have a huge impact wen applied across the board. At 15.65m long, these new, vehicles are 2 metres longer than the maximums size of HGV previously allowed on the road. This means that each vehicle can carry an extra 3 rows of goods cages, or 2 rows of pallets. The added length maximises what each HGV can carry, and the idea is that this will reduce the number of journeys that need to be made, and therefore significantly reduce the carbon emissions from HGV’s. an estimated 3,000 tonnes a decade, in fact.
But, as with everything, there are some negatives to this plan, mainly centred around safety. The UK’s roads aren’t the widest and so many worries centre around the manoeuvrability of longer vehicles. Concerns over the safety of pedestrians in buy city centres as these behemoths try to turn, their ability to merge from motorways safely and generally navigate around the country without causing chaos. In addition to that, these longer vehicles will require more petrol to haul the extra load, so it’s arguable how much they actually save in terms of emissions and fossil fuels.
Of course, all of this might be rendered irrelevant by Tesla’s recent announcement of their electric HGV’s, which will soon be made available to the general marketplace (see more of our thoughts on this here). Emissions and pollution in cars and HGVs are the waste product generated by the fuel (diesel or petrol) being burned in order to run the engine. So naturally, an electric engine doesn’t need it, and so doesn’t produce the waste. In fact, most purely electric vehicles give off no emissions at all (although there is some argument that by using electricity from the grid, it’s not a completely emissions-free process). But in terms of cutting down the amount of air pollution caused by HGV’s, electric vehicles are certainly the more long-term solution. If the idea catches on, the direct emissions caused by HGV’s will plummet to almost nothing.
At The LGV Training Centre, our main concern is that HGV training will need to be retaken or refreshed to accommodate these longer vehicles. The length of the vehicle impacts many things for the drivers, including how to navigate off motorways, manoeuvre and even what routes to take. So if this new scheme does become commonplace, many drivers will need to re-train to handle bigger vehicles. But of course, we are here to help! For more information, or to start your journey as an HGV driver, just get in touch with us today.