Liverpool City Council is taking part in a
trial of hybrid-powered LCVs, with the vehicles – four Ashwoods
Hybrid Transit vans – supplied by Hitachi Capital Vehicle Solutions
on a contract hire basis.

The vans have been fitted with hybrid
converters provided by low-emission technology company Ashwoods, which use “a
system similar to a Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS), as seen
in Formula 1, to recover the energy normally wasted through braking
and deceleration to charge the battery,” Hitachi Capital said.

The Ashwoods system, which can be fitted to
diesel vans to convert them to diesel/electric hybrid CVs, improves
fuel efficiency and reduces the engine load, Hitachi Capital

The vans have been supplied via the £20
million Low Carbon Vehicle Procurement
(LCVPP), managed by Cenex on behalf of the Department
for Transport, and designed to enable public sector bodies to trial
green technology in their day-to-day operations.

Liverpool City Council’s drivers will, as part
of the scheme, be required to input data on fuel consumption, with
the Ashwoods Hybrid Transits expected to deliver a 15 percent
emissions cut compared with standard vehicle emissions.

Hitachi Capital Vehicle Solutions’ MD, Jon
Lawes, highlighted the experimental nature of the scheme.

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“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

“Innovation is vital in the development of low
carbon vehicles, and we are very pleased to be a part of the LCVPP
programme,” he commented.