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Transportation & Fuel Source Technology

Cenex Creates Wider Demand for Innovative Low Carbon Vehicle Technologies

Cenex, the UK's Centre of Excellence for Low Carbon and Fuel Cell Technologies, is pleased to welcome a number of pilot local authorities to help drive public sector demand for the Low Carbon Vehicle Procurement Programme (LCVPP). The Coventry Low Carbon Fleet Partnership, Glasgow City Council, Leeds City Council, Liverpool City Council, and the Newcastle & Gateshead Consortium have been selected to trial early lower carbon vehicles and generate wider public sector demand.

Cenex was charged with widening public sector participation, providing a fair and transparent mechanism to encourage participation and aggregate demand, and the first phase of this activity has resulted in the introduction of the pilot local authorities - selected on the basis of the additional value they can offer to the programme and in recognition of their previous fleet greening activities and longer term strategic intent.

Given the well-coordinated roles within their regions, Cenex approached all UK local authorities for expressions of interest, out of which 82 requested further details and 62 returned questionnaires. Independent reviews were carried out against documented assessment criteria, and a 'league table' was produced from assessment results, with the named authorities and consortia being selected.

Adrian Vinsome, Cenex's Programme Manager for the Low Carbon Vehicle Procurement Programme, said:

"We recognised the broad desire among local authorities to reduce carbon emissions from their sizeable fleets and improve operational efficiency. Also, local authorities have national coverage and a strong culture of participation in government programmes which is why the decision was taken to engage them as the first phase of wider public sector participation. We've been delighted with the response from some very forward-looking organisations, and are very pleased to welcome the pilot authorities to the programme."

A procurement exercise to supply lower carbon and all-electric vans to the public sector was launched in July. This received strong interest from potential suppliers with 30 pre-qualification responses from 24 suppliers, and an initial assessment was undertaken. This resulted in invitations to 10 suppliers - 5 for lower carbon vans and 5 for all-electric offerings - to enter the next phase of the procurement.

The successful suppliers at this stage are Ford, Ashwoods, Citroen, Mercedes-Benz and Land Rover for the lower-carbon van and Modec, Tanfield (Smith Electric Vehicles), Nissan, LDV and Allied Vehicles for the all-electric van. These companies will enter into competitive dialogue with Cenex and the DfT later this year, before being invited to provide final tenders to supply suitable vehicles for introduction from Spring 2009 onwards.

The LCVPP started on 1 April 2008 and will run until 31 March 2011, with potential for extension in future years. The Department for Transport has made £20m available, with provision for a further £30m ring-fenced subject to successful early implementation of the programme. During the first phase of the programme, the public sector organisations will operate the vehicles within their fleets under carefully monitored conditions, leading to larger volume introductions in a second phase as confidence in the technology develops.

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