The environmentalist reveals that the government is funding a £13M research unit at Warwick University

Published in The Environmentalist on 1 September 2012

With UK companies spending almost £11 billion annually fuelling their fleets, the Energy Saving Trust reveals that firms could save £1 billion and prevent 2.4 million tonnes of carbon being emitted by accurately tracking the distances travelled by staff.

According to the advisory body, installing mileage monitoring systems, which capture information on how far fleet cars travel, can cut business travel by up to 10% as they identify wasted journeys and encourage employees to drive more economically.

Food manufacturer Heinz, which has been working with the trust, has seen mileage claims from staff fall by 28% since installing monitoring software, generating significant saving on fuel bills and mileage allowances, as well as cutting edge carbon.

At the same time, researchers in the US have found that electric vehicles (EVs) can be cheaper over thier lifetime than conventional fleet cars. In an assessment of the total costs of ownership of alternatively fuelled vehicles, including hybrid and fuel-cell-powered cars, the researchers concluded that the low costs of charging small and medium-sized EVs and hybrids brought their lifetime costs below that of petrol equivalents. According to the report, battery electric vehicles, such as the Nissan Leaf, offered the lowest total costs of the 17 vehicles compared.

The news came as the government announced it was co-funding a new £13 million research unit at Warwick University to help the development of batteries for electric vehicles, to support the UK’s burgeoning EV sector.

The government is also providing an additional £11 million of support to trial low-carbon heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) over the next two years. the money will fund 13 projects, including one by the John Lewis Partnership, which aims to cut carbon emissions from its HGVs by 70% through improved aerodynamics and by substituting diesel with biomethane.

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