Achieving cost-effective emissions compliance in London’s ULEZ with Eminox

Company Focus

Forward-looking fleet operators understand the impact of emissions on urban air quality and the health of those living and working in cities. Increasing regulations provide an added incentive to reduce vehicle pollution, with a range of Low Emission Zones (LEZ) and Clean Air Zones (CAZ) coming into force across the UK over coming months.

The Bath CAZ went live on 15 March 2021 while Oxford plans to introduce a Zero Emission Zone (ZEZ), with a pilot beginning in August 2021. Birmingham’s CAZ launches on 1 June 2021, while Transport for Greater Manchester expects to introduce a CAZ for Greater Manchester from Spring 2022. Tighter standards for HGVs, buses and coaches have just been implemented in London, with the city’s Ultra Low Emission Zone expanding from central London to create a single, larger zone up to the North Circular Road (A406) and South Circular Road (A205) from 25 October 2021.

New regulations are expected to have a major impact on reaching emissions targets and improving health. A study commissioned by the Greater London Authority found that its ULEZ will save the NHS £4.17 billion by 2050 as air pollution-related diseases are reduced by 29.5%.

Making the financial case for compliance
In all these cases vehicles will need to meet tighter Euro VI emissions standards for nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter (PM) – or face substantial charges. In the case of London non-compliant buses, coaches and trucks will have to pay between £100-£300 in daily charges.

However, many operators are still struggling with the financial impact of COVID and lockdowns on cashflow and may have large percentages of their fleets that don’t meet these tougher emissions standards. They therefore need to find ways of ensuring cost-effective compliance, particularly when it comes to relatively new, high value vehicles with many years of operating life ahead of them.

Retrofitting emissions control technology to existing vehicles is key to achieving cost-effective compliance. By fitting an approved exhaust aftertreatment system (EATS) to an older vehicle operators can achieve Euro VI equivalent emissions standards, lengthening their useful life and boosting the value of their fleet. They don’t need to make immediate major investments in new vehicles or be forced to wait for their delivery. That gives greater flexibility to plan future strategy, particularly with a raft of new commercial EVs expected to launch over coming years. In fact, on average 10-15 heavy duty diesel vehicles can be retrofitted for the price of buying a new one.

The steps to achieving ULEZ compliance
The London ULEZ provides a good example of how many CAZ are expected to work. Vehicles that don’t meet Euro VI standards without retrofitting and enter the zone will have to be registered via the TfL website, with enforcement by ANPR (automatic number plate recognition) cameras. To ensure compliance and to avoid charges the Euro VI retrofit EATS must be certified by the government-backed Clean Vehicle Retrofit Accreditation Scheme (CVRAS), run by the Energy Saving Trust. Certification involves a comprehensive independent testing programme before manufacturers receive approval for their emissions reduction system, which is specific to vehicle/engine combinations.

Eminox is the UK’s leading retrofit supplier and has been first to market with CVRAS approved systems for buses, coaches, trucks and refuse collection vehicles. Over 85,000 Eminox retrofit systems have been sold and distributed around the world, with the company working on key projects such as the £86 million Transport for London (TfL) project to upgrade 5,000 buses to Euro VI equivalent standards, as well as the Scottish Government’s Bus Emission Abatement Retrofit (BEAR) Fund.

A partnership approach to emissions reduction
With over 42 years of experience, Eminox works closely with leading fleet operators and automotive Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) as they move towards a zero emissions future. The company supplies emissions reduction technology to leading OEMs including Iveco and Volvo and uses this experience and knowledge to create cost-effective retrofit solutions. This emissions reduction technology reduces PM, NOx, NO2, CO and hydrocarbons by up to 99%, even at low operating temperatures; essential for many vehicles operating in urban areas.

Eminox understands the complexity of designing and manufacturing a retrofit system that meets the stringent real-world demands that fleet operators have, and has invested heavily in UK design, manufacturing, and support facilities to deliver a seamless solution to its customers. All Eminox exhaust aftertreatment systems are designed and manufactured at its Lincolnshire headquarters.

Its in-house team has many years’ experience in supporting large national fleets to maintain peak efficiency, and provides tailored aftersales support to ensure operators receive the best results from their retrofit exhaust aftertreatment system.

As operators move to a greener, zero emission future they need to both ensure compliance with tightening LEZ and CAZ regulations and preserve their investment in their existing fleets – particularly high value vehicles, such as buses, coaches and trucks. Achieving compliance through approved retrofit solutions is therefore key to delivering operational and strategic flexibility, reducing emissions and improving air quality moving forward.