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Ashwoods Hybrid Transit

Hybrid Transit: Ashwoods’ low emission van

Liverpool City Council to assess Ashwoods Hybrid Transit vans

LIVERPOOL City Council is hardly a small business, but the City is trialling new Formula 1-style hybrid technology that will be assessed for future viability for business use.

The four Ashwoods Hybrid Transit vans are being supplied under contract hire by Hitachi Capital Vehicle Solutions on a three-year evaluation basis through the Low Carbon Vehicle Procurement Programme (LCVPP), which enables chosen public sector organisations to test out environmental technologies in a real world setting.

Drivers of the Ashwoods Hybrid Transits will be required to enter data onto an emissions meter fitted in the vehicle which will enable analysis and reporting on the fuel costs, mileage and mpg of each vehicle each time the van is filled up. Expected savings are a 15% improvement on emissions.

Ashwoods is a manufactuer that focuses on developing the latest CO2 saving technologies to make them more affordable. Already the company has a good record with Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) models, and the Ashwoods Hybrid Drive is the latest development.

Ashwoods says its Hybrid Drive is the result of three years of research and development and is now production ready product for the Ford Transit RWD (diesel). The basic concept of the Hybrid Drive is to capture energy that would normally be dissipated as heat during over-run and braking on vehicles and to reuse it to assist the engine – in many ways like the KERS systems seen on Formula 1 cars last year.

This assistance means that less work is required from the engine; therefore it uses less fuel and produces less CO2.

John Carrington, fleet & transport services manager for Liverpool City Council said: “It has always been a priority for the city council to find ways of reducing the carbon output of the fleet, but the cost of adopting new technologies can be prohibitive. Access to the LCVPP fund, in addition to the leasing support from Hitachi Capital, has given us an unprecedented opportunity to pioneer this new sustainable technology with minimal financial risk.”

Hitachi’s divisional managing director, John Lawes, also added: “Leasing companies are traditionally wary of largely unproven technologies like hybrid-power, but we were very keen to partner with Ashwoods to offer leasing as a funding alternative. Innovation is vital in the development of low carbon vehicles, and we are very pleased to be a part of the LCVPP programme.”

Ashwoods said that the company was developing a retro-fit hybrid conversion for use by small businesses towards the end of 2010.

Further information

If you would like to know more about Ashwoods Hybrid Drive, visit the company’s website: www.ashwoods.org/hybrid_transit_vans.php.

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