Now is the time for LPG to be considered as a viable alternative fuel for fleet vehicles - as urban air quality rises to the top of the government’s agenda and is regularly featured in the national news - believes UKLPG, the trade body that represents the LPG industry

With recent success in conversion projects, and more than 60 black cabs being converted to run on LPG as part of the ongoing NOx Reduction Champions project in Birmingham, UKLPG says the LPG industry is encouraging fleet managers to consider LPG-fuelled vehicles as a way to address urban air quality and reduce the cost of running a fleet.

At the upcoming Cenex Low Carbon Vehicle Show, held at Millbrook, two LPG vehicles will be on the Autogas stand and available for test drives. The Ford Transit Connect Kombi, a mid-sized van that can also be converted into a seven-seater people carrier, and the Ssangyong Tivoli, a compact SUV, have both been produced to gauge interest from UK fleet customers. There will also be an LPG-powered London Black cab for visitors to view the technology used in the Birmingham project and which is currently under evaluation for London.

“With the government’s intention to introduce Clean Air Zones in five major cities in the UK, alternative fuel vehicles are a key consideration,” says Rob Shuttleworth, chief executive of UKLPG. “This coupled with the City of London’s proposed adaption of the Congestion Charge Zone to become an Ultra-Low Emissions Zone – which targets commercial vehicles rather than domestic users – means that finding alternatives to the standard diesel vehicles will be very high on any fleet manager’s agenda.

“Having two road-ready vehicles that fleet managers can see, and drive, is a real step forward for LPG in being considered as a real alternative to diesel for fleet managers. These vehicles have been produced to determine the demand in the market and this is a positive step forward to raise awareness of LPG as an alternative to diesel fleet vehicles that are high in NOx emissions.”

Jane Lindsay-Green, general manager at Autogas, says: “The vehicles that we will be demonstrating on our stand are already available across Europe and further afield, and are viable options for fleet vehicles that provide up to 99 per cent reduction in NOx emissions when compared to diesel alternatives.

“Many fleet managers have looked at alternatives to diesel, but have discounted electric vehicles for fleets that have to cover many miles without the chance to stop and recharge the vehicle. With LPG-fuelled vehicles, they use a cheaper fuel as its primary source, which is available UK-wide through an established network of forecourts, removing any potential limitations, and are often a more financially viable alternative to electric vehicles.”