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Longer HGV’s – Emissions Saviour Or Damp Squib?

HGV Training Centre

For a few years now, HGV’s have been attacked for being bad for the environment. Not only are they primarily diesel vehicles (more on that here), but they also produce a much higher level of carbon emissions than other vehicles. 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.

Extending HGV’s

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 when 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 of course, there have been some concerns over the safety implications of this added length. With another 2 metres added, HGV’s may have increased difficulty navigating themselves off motorways, traversing England’s narrow roads and generally causing havoc when they try to manoeuvre at all in busy city centres. This is part of the reason testing is already underway – to measure the impact and see I the idea is feasible to roll out worldwide. There are already 1,800 of them on the UK’s roads in a trial phase, and we expect to see many more of them hitting the motorways in 2018 as the 5-year trial expands.

Going Electric

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 HGV 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.

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