Vehicles taking part in the first two projects from the government’s £20m Low Emission Freight and Logistic Trial  are now ready to hit the roads.

In January this year, funding was announced for 20 firms that came up with innovate ways to deploy more low- and zero-emission freight vehicles in UK fleets.

The first two projects – the Dedicated to Gas trial and the KERS-Urban Consortium - are now ready to roll, with the rest of the schemes to be in operation by mid-2018.

In total, more than 300 low-emission vehicles will be taking part.

Led by Air Liquide, the Dedicated to Gas trial will see large fleet operators including Kuehne + Nagel, Wincanton, Asda, Brit European, Howard Tenens and Great Bear trial the effectiveness of 81 dedicated gas-powered HGVs new to the UK market as well as five new cryogenic transport refrigeration units.

The KERS-Urban consortium will trial a new hybrid kinetic energy recovery system on 20 HGVs operated by Howdens Joinery Group and Sainsbury’s Supermarkets, including both rigid and articulated HGVs.

Supplied by Alternatech, the hybrid KERS technology (pictured) will recover energy during braking and then use the energy during acceleration, which will reduce fuel consumption and emissions, particularly in city environments.

Simon Edmonds, manufacturing and materials director at Innovate UK, said: “It is excellent news that the first two projects of this pioneering trial are now roadworthy.

"The data from these trials will be invaluable to future development and commercialisation of these low carbon technologies for low-emission freight and fleet vehicles."

Alongside the competition, TRL have been appointed to evaluate performance of the trials and capture data on the emissions savings produced, with results to appear on a dedicated website.

John Rogerson, fleet operations manager, Asda, said: “We are excited to work with Air Liquide and our other project partners to hopefully demonstrate the impact low-emissions HGV technology can have on the entire industry, while infusing the latest technology into our fleet and reducing our overall carbon footprint.”

Charlie Nissen, national transport manager of Howdens Joinery Group, said: “The trailer KERS innovation allows us to be involved in the forefront of a technology that could have the potential to reduce carbon emissions from HGVs, not just within Howdens, but across the industry.”