Last Thursday (9 November) saw the prizes given out at the twelfth Fleet Hero Awards – with the field more competitive than ever.
Without further ado, the 2017 winners in all categories were:
The push to improve air quality in areas of heaviest road use, as well as the need to hit carbon emissions reduction targets, is driving great change in fleet management. Each year, the ever-improving standard of entries reflects a greater intensity of work happening on the ground.
In order to tackle these dual issues, the UK, as anywhere, needs to get the infrastructure in place to support the increased presence of plug-in ultra-low emissions vehicles (ULEVs) on the roads.
We spoke to Heathrow Airport and Leeds City Council, winners in the Ultra-low Emission Infrastructure and Ultra-low Emission Fleet categories respectively, about what they’ve been doing to encourage the roll-out of cleaner options for their staff.
Ikie Gill is part of Heathrow’s Vehicle Working Group, the team behind the installation of 75 electric vehicle charge points. He explains more about the decision-making behind their success so far:
“We used telematic information to create heat maps to identify where charge points were needed most. We looked at drive cycles in terms of where vehicles were stopping for periods of time that could be charging time, so we could make charging as accessible as possible. It was very much a common sense approach as we had to identify where power was available in relation to identified areas for charging points.
“For example, at our Airside Operations Facility building, one of the airport’s biggest sites and the central point for activity in adverse weather conditions, we’ve made sure there are appropriate chargers not only for daily use but for emergency events when fast charging is a must to keep electric vehicles mobile.”
The airport has ambitious targets to convert its entire fleet of cars and vans to be electric or plug-in hybrid by 2020 where available, with ultra-low emission standards for all airside vehicles by 2025. The new charging infrastructure is already being well utilised and plans are in motion to increase charge point numbers to around 200.
Leeds City Council know all about getting charging kit installed, having up to now installed 80 points, serving 44 electric vehicles. Another 51 are set to be ordered.
Terry Pycroft, in charge of fleets at the council, said: “We looked at the mileage of vans, and decided that those doing 80 miles or less should be changed to EVs. As for the charge points, we found that most vehicles were parked at sites all night – so these would obviously be a good places to charge.”
The council has run some innovative trials, including successfully trialling the UK’s first biomethane refuse collection trucks, as well as charging electric vehicles at home.
He explained: “We wanted to make sure that power supply wasn’t overstretched at depots. We decided to trial home charging with five drivers and see how it worked in terms of the installation and certification, but also how they experienced it. They loved it.
“Sometimes it’s about educating people to think how you think, showing them how the vehicles function. Some people have an old-fashioned mindset that still sees electric vehicles as being like milk floats. Now, of course, it’s a hundred percent different experience.”
The Fleet Hero Awards is a key calendar event for the fleet management industry, and this year the gongs were given out at the Museum of London Docklands. The bash was hosted by Red Dwarf star, Scrapheap Challenge host and motoring journalist, Robert Llewellyn.
Energy Saving Trust Chief Executive, Philip Sellwood, was impressed by the innovation he saw applauded on the night:
“These pro-active and informed organisations and individuals aren’t just setting an example for their own staff to follow, they are raising the bar for their partners and, indeed, their competitors to aspire to. As such, we’re looking forward to even more competition for next year’s Fleet Hero Awards.” Philip Sellwood, Chief Executive, Energy Saving Trust