Iveco’s UK MD Luca Sra has called for the UK government and European legislators to take “common-sense” steps to incentivise the purchase of cleaner, low-carbon trucks and vans.
Speaking last week at Iveco’s annual ‘State of the Nation’ press event analysing the past year’s commercial vehicle registration figures, Sra argued that truck and van fleet operators need support if they are going to choose vehicles that either run on cleaner low carbon fuels, or comply with Euro-6 exhaust emission limits, before the Euro-6 deadline at the end of this year.
“If the government was serious about the intentions behind Euro-6 – reducing emissions and cleaning up the environment – they could have made an immediate and early impact in doing so by offering incentives to take Euro-6 products (just as they have in Germany and so on), and have benefitted the environment by doing so,” claimed Sra. “Instead, they’ve hung on, and what they are now offering, in the form of the RPC, offers little or no real incentive and certainly not enough to make a difference.”
Iveco UK product director Martin Flach regards this plea as a forlorn hope and is sure that the UK government will not provide any other Euro-6 purchase incentives in the remainder of this year. But Flach is more hopeful that the government may offer practical support for cleaner alternative fuels and technologies such as vehicles that run on compressed natural gas (CNG). He proposed that the maximum weight limits for gas vehicles could be flexed to take account of the extra weight of their gas tanks. “Operators need payload parity,” said Flach, suggesting that a 3.5-tonne GVW gas-powered van could be allowed to operate at up to 3.8 tonnes GVW. Grants to help offset the high cost of gas refuelling infrastructure would also be welcome, said Flach.
Urging the government to seize the initiative, Luca Sra warned that without such incentives, cleaner technologies such as gas vehicles stand little chance of making a real impact in the market.
“Reality says that at this point in time, there is little or no commercial advantage to the majority of operators in pursuing those opportunities. They are practical in only a few cases. They offer little or no payback. So commercially – at present – they are almost a non-starter. For that to change, we need leadership from the government, from Europe and from all our legislators.”
Added Sra: “We need real incentives and the kind of creative thinking that’s going to encourage operators to invest – that’s going to encourage everyone to invest – and do so with confidence.”