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LowCVP Low Carbon Champions Award Winners celebrated at packed networking dinner

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The Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership (LowCVP) announced the Low Carbon Champions for 2014-15 last night at a packed gala dinner held in association with Cenex in Milton Keynes. The Champions Awards celebrate achievement and innovation in low carbon road transport.

Optare received the ‘Grand Prix’ award for Outstanding Achievement in Low Carbon Transport (winner of winners) in a celebration hosted by TV personality Robert Llewellyn. Mitsubishi took the award in the prestigious Low Carbon Car/Van Manufacturer of the Year category.

TV personality, writer and blogger Robert Llewellyn was Master of Ceremonies, presenting the Awards at the Double Tree by Hilton, MK Dons Stadium, at a networking dinner attended by over 380 industry representatives and low carbon transport stakeholders.

The LowCVP Managing Director Andy Eastlake said about the Awards: “It’s always a pleasure to celebrate success and there were many reasons to commend the contribution of this year’s entries to cutting emissions, both of greenhouse gases and local pollutants.

“The winning entries – and those recognised as runners-up and short-listed – are exciting examples of a vibrant and innovative low carbon road transport sector in the UK that is going from strength to strength.”

The judges said that Mitsubishi’s Outlander – which helped the company scoop the car manufacturer award –  has been a game-changer, bringing plug-in hybrid technology to a 4×4 SUV, at a competitive price. The model has achieved impressive sales, especially in the company car market, where carbon-based taxation has helped to boost sales of lower carbon vehicles.

Optare and Scania were joint winners of the Low Carbon Heavy Duty Vehicle Manufacturer of the Year Award. The judges decided to award both companies as their entries covered activities in different market sectors (Optare for buses and Scania for trucks and delivery vehicles).

Optare was the recipient of the Grand Prix Award. The judges said that this recognition was because Optare is the UK market leader in electric buses and has taken significant commercial risk in achieving this position. Optare’s buses have made an important contribution to improving air quality in UK towns and cities as well as reducing the well-to-wheel carbon footprint by over 50% in comparison with equivalent diesels.

The judges’ statement said that “Optare has a real pedigree in terms of battery innovation and has worked extremely well in building partnerships with local authorities.”

The judging panel was comprised of 21 senior executives from across the range of organisations with a stake in the low carbon road transport agenda.

Michael Hurwitz, Director, Energy, Technology & International at the Department for Transport and one of the Awards judges, said: “These awards are a fantastic opportunity to recognise the achievements of the low carbon transport sector and to celebrate the excellence of UK innovation. It is exciting to see such vibrant ideas and cutting edge technologies as the government continues to support industry with £500 million invested in low emission vehicles over the next 5 years.”

Alex Burns, Chief Executive of Millbrook, the Champions Awards headline sponsors, said: ““The UK is a major force in the production of electric buses and we are pleased to present the award for this category to an outstanding organisation that is helping to cut carbon emissions and improve air quality.

“As an organisation committed to the test, validation and engineering of low carbon transport, Millbrook is proud to present the ‘Grand Prix’ award to Optare.”

Darren Messem, Chairman of the LowCVP and also an Awards Judge said: “The UK vehicle market is at the forefront of innovation in low carbon technology, production and operation, which is essential to deliver the decarbonisation of transport needed to mitigate the worst effects of climate change.

“In this year’s LowCVP Champions Awards it’s been a privilege once again to recognise innovations spanning the breadth of the transport sector, and we hope this helps provide further stimulus to the innovators working hard throughout the sector.”

Robert Evans, Chief Executive of Cenex said: “We are pleased to be able to host this industry gathering as part of our Cenex-LCV2015 networking dinner.  The LCV2015 event brings the low carbon vehicle community together for two days of technology showcasing and networking, with the evening dinner extending valuable networking time.

“As one of the dinner attendees joining from the LCV event, I commend all those nominated for an Award and congratulate the winners.”

FULL LIST OF AWARDS

‘Grand Prix Award’: Outstanding Achievement in Low Carbon Transport (Winner of winners)

Winner: Optare

Outstanding Individual in Promoting Low Carbon Transport

Joint Award: Professor Neville Jackson, Ricardo; Dr Doug Parr, Greenpeace UK

Low Carbon Car /Van Manufacturer of the Year

Winner: Mitsubishi Motors UK

Shortlisted: VW; Nissan

Low Carbon Heavy Duty Vehicle Manufacturer of the Year

Joint Winners: Optare and Scania GB

Shortlisted: Leyland Trucks; BYD Europe B.V

Low Carbon Vehicle Operator of the Year

Winner: Dundee City Council

Runners up: First Bus with City of York

Short-listed: Reading Buses

Low Carbon Fuel Initiative of the Year

Winner: Convert to Green Ltd

Short-listed: GENeco; Rapid Charge Network

2015 Award for Low Carbon Innovation by an SME

Joint Winners: Avid Technology; Wirth Research

Short-listed: Ashwoods Lightfoot Ltd, Dearman

Low Carbon Road Transport Initiative of the Year

Winner: GENeco

Highly Commended: Aberdeen City Council

Short-listed: ECO Stars

2014 Outstanding Low Carbon Publication or Report

Winner: Urban Foresight

Runners-up: UK Power Networks

Highly Commended: ICCT (Wasted); Element Energy

The Low Carbon Champions Awards were established in 2010. The Awards – now in their fifth edition – are an initiative of the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership (LowCVP); a public-private partnership that exists to accelerate a sustainable shift to lower carbon vehicles and fuels and create opportunities for UK businesses. Around 200 organisations are engaged from diverse backgrounds including government, automotive and fuel supply chains, vehicle users, academics, environment groups and wider society. www.lowcvp.org.uk

Environment

Consumers Investing in Eco-Friendly Cars with the UK Green Revolution

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Eco-Friendly Cars

The UK public appears to be embracing the electric car UK Green Revolution, as recent statistics reveal that more and more consumers are making the switch from petrol and diesel to electric or alternatively fuelled vehicles. The demand for diesel fell by almost a third in October compared to last year, whilst hybrid and electric cars rose by a staggering 36.9%.

Time for UK Green Revolution Change

So, what is the reason for this sudden change? This comes down to the current situation in the UK, which has led to people embracing eco-friendly technologies and automobiles. One of the main reasons is the Government’s clean air plans, which includes the impending 2040 ban on petrol and diesel automobiles. There is then the rollout of the T-Charge in London, the city of Oxford announcing that they will be banning petrol and diesel from the city centre by 2020 and various other big announcements which take up a lot of space and time in the UK press.

h2>Diesel’s Reputation

In addition to this, the negative publicity against diesel has had a huge impact on the UK public. This has led to a lot of confusion over emissions, but actually, the newest low emission diesel automobiles will not face restrictions and are not as bad to drive as many believe. Most notably, German brand Volkswagen has been affected due to the emissions scandal in recent times. It was discovered that some emissions controls for VW’s turbocharged direct injection diesel engines were only activated during laboratory testing, so these automobiles were emitting 40 times more NO in real-world driving. As a result of this and all the negative publicity, the manufacturer has made adaptations and amended their vehicles in Europe. Additionally, they have made movements to improve the emissions from their cars, meaning that they are now one of the cleaner manufacturers. Their impressive range includes the Polo, Golf and Up, all of which can be found for affordable prices from places like Unbeatable Car.

The Current Market

The confusion over the Government’s current stance on diesel has clearly had a huge impact on the public. So much so that the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has called on the Government to use the Autumn Budget to restore stability in the market and encourage the public to invest in the latest low emission automobiles. SMMT believes that this is the fastest and most effective way to address the serious air quality concerns in this country.

Incentives

One way that the Government has encouraged the public to make the switch is by making incentives. Motorists can benefit from a grant when they purchase a new plug-in vehicle, plus there are benefits like no road tax for electric vehicles and no congestion charge. When these are combined with the low running costs, it makes owning an electric automobile an appealing prospect and especially because there are so many great models available and a type to suit every motorist. One of the main reasons holding motorists back is the perceived lack of charging points. However, there are currently over 13,000 up and down the country with this number rapidly increasing each month. It is thought that the amount of charging points will outnumber petrol stations by 2020, so it is easy to see more and more motorists start to invest in electric cars way ahead of the 2040 ban.

It is an interesting time in the UK as people are now embracing the electric car revolution. The Government’s clean air plans seem to have accelerated this revolution, plus the poor publicity that diesel has received has only strengthened the case for making the switch sooner rather than later.

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Energy

7 Benefits You Should Consider Giving Your Energy Employees

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As an energy startup, you’re always looking to offer the most competitive packages to entice top-tier talent. This can be tough, especially when trying to put something together that’s both affordable but also has perks that employees are after.

After all, this is an incredibly competitive field and one that’s constantly doing what it can to stay ahead. However, that’s why I’m bringing you a few helpful benefits that could be what bolsters you ahead of your competition. Check them out below:

Financial Advising

One benefit commonly overlooked by companies is offering your employees financial advising services, which could help them tremendously in planning for their long-term goals with your firm. This includes anything from budgeting and savings plans to recommendations for credit repair services and investments. Try to take a look at if your energy company could bring on an extra person or two specifically for this role, as it will pay off tremendously regarding retention and employee happiness.

Life Insurance

While often included in a lot of health benefits packages, offering your employees life insurance could be an excellent addition to your current perks. Although seldom used, life insurance is a small sign that shows you care about the life of their family beyond just office hours. Additionally, at such a low cost, this is a pretty simple aspect to add to your packages. Try contacting some brokers or insurance agents to see if you can find a policy that’s right for your firm.

Dedicated Time To Enjoy Their Hobbies

Although something seen more often in startups in Silicon Valley, having dedicated office time for employees to enjoy their passions is something that has shown great results. Whether it be learning the piano or taking on building a video game, having your team spend some time on the things they truly enjoy can translate to increased productivity. Why? Because giving them the ability to better themselves, they’ll in turn bring that to their work as well.

The Ability To Work Remotely

It’s no secret that a lot of employers despise the idea of letting their employees work remotely. However, it’s actually proven to hold some amazing benefits. According to Global Workplace Analytics, 95% of employers that allow their employees to telework reported an increased rate of retention, saving on both turnover and sick days. Depending on the needs of each individual role, this can be a strategy to implement either whenever your team wants or on assigned days. Either way, this is one perk almost everyone will love.

Health Insurance

Even though it’s mandated for companies with over 50 employees, offering health insurance regardless is arguably a benefit well received across the board. In fact, as noted in research compiled by KFF, 28.6% of employers with less than 50 people still offered health care. Why is that the case? Because it shows you care about their well-being, and know that a healthy employee is one that doesn’t have to worry about astronomical medical bills.

Unlimited Time Off

This is a perk that almost no employer offers but should be regarded as something to consider. According to The Washington Post, only 1-2% of companies offer unlimited vacation, which it’s easy to see why. A true “unlimited vacation” program could be a firm’s worse nightmare, with employees skipping out every other week to enjoy themselves. However, with the right model in place that rewards hard work with days off, your employees will absolutely adore this policy.

A Full Pantry

Finally, having a pantry full of food can be one perk that’s not only relatively inexpensive but also adds to the value of the workplace. As noted by USA Today, when surveying employees who had snacks versus those who didn’t, 67% of those who did reported they were “very happy” with their work life. You’d be surprised at how much of a difference this could make, especially when considering the price point. Consider adding a kitchen to your office if you haven’t already, and always keep the snacks and drinks everyone wants fully stocked. Doing so will increase morale tremendously.

Final Thoughts

Compiling a great package for your energy company is going to take some time in looking at what you can afford versus what’s the most you can offer. While it might mean cutting back in other areas, having a workforce that feels like you genuinely want to take care of them can take you far. And with so many different benefits to include in your energy company’s package, which one is your favorite? Comment with your answers below!

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