6 August 2002

The UK Department for Transport together with other government agencies unveiled the “Powering Future Vehicles Strategy”, which aims to promote new low-carbon vehicle technologies and fuels to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from road transport. The Strategy, published on 31 July 2002, is one of several measures to counteract climate change, to fulfill the Kyoto protocol commitments and UK domestic emission reduction targets.

Please log in to view the full version of this article (subscription required).

The main target of the plan is to ensure that 10% of new cars sold in the UK will be “low carbon” vehicles by 2012, and that 600 new buses per annum (about 20%) will be low carbon. No targets have been set for light goods vehicles (LGV) or for heavy goods vehicles (HGV).

The Strategy identifies the following areas of technology with potential for CO2 emission benefits:

  • Conventional vehicle technologies (gasoline and diesel)
  • Existing alternative fuels (LPG, CNG, battery electric vehicles, biodiesel, bioethanol)
  • Future vehicles (hybrid electric vehicles and fuel cells)
  • Future alternative fuels (hydrogen, methanol)

The Strategy emphasizes that future improvements in fuel efficiency and CO2 emission from conventional vehicles should be achieved without the present penalty in terms of air quality emissions. In particular, technical improvements are expected for diesel engines, leading to the introduction of new DeNOx and particulate filter technologies. Emission-controlled diesel engines are also considered an attractive option for hybrid-electric vehicles, currently powered mostly by gasoline engines.

The UK has a legally binding commitment under Kyoto protocol to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 12.5% by 2008-2012 against the 1990 levels and a domestic goal of reducing CO2 emissions by 20% by 2010. Road transport is responsible for 22% of the UK greenhouse gas emissions.

Source: UK Department for Transport