Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership Conference

One of the main events in the low carbon vehicle calendar, the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership Conference, took place on 28 June 2007 in London. The Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership is an action and advisory group, established in 2003 to take a lead in accelerating the shift to low carbon vehicles and fuels in the UK and to help ensure that UK business can benefit from that shift.

Top of the conference billing was the announcement of the winners of the ‘Cars NOT Carbon’ greener motoring marketing competition.

In addition there was a debate with industry experts and the audience about Biofuels (‘More good than harm?’), along with presentations from other speakers such as Professor Julia King about the King Review of Low Carbon Cars.

Also announced were the results of the largest survey of the opinions of the LowCVP’s 250+ stakeholder organisations and the latest news on the car fuel economy label roll-out.

Finally, the key policies to deliver greener road transport were looked at, and one of the debates was entitled ‘Can regulation cut road transport carbon?’.

Here’s a summary of some brief soundbites from the conference:

  • Regulation, and more incentives, are essential to achieve lower carbon cars – especially as voluntary targets aren’t working
  • The EU target for a manufacturer’s fleet average to be 130g/km of CO2 by 2012 is likely to fail due to costs and technology challenges
  • Road pricing should be linked to low carbon vehicles
  • Most new car buyers prepare for their purchase on the web
  • Car adverts need to focus more on mpg and CO2 information
  • A Green Claims Code for car advertisers does exist in the UK – courtesy of Defra, and it states that manufacturers have to avoid vague green terms in adverts (ie. they must be specific)
  • Should ads be banned for cars that emit very high CO2? – or they should at least carry a public health warning similar to those on cigarette packets?
  • Car energy labels are being used more in dealerships – and, perhaps surprisingly, Porsche is the best at displaying them!
  • Sustainable biofuels are high on the government’s agenda
  • Ultimately (from April 2011) biofuels will be rewarded by the amount of carbon they save – prior to this, a process of reporting, leading to the introduction of quality standards, will allow this to happen
  • The next few years will see improvements in the efficiency of petrol engines, the wider take-up of biofuels, and more hybrids
  • Peak oil is a real threat
  • Professor Julia King invited evidence about the best solutions to give us low carbon vehicles over the next 25 years – and how the UK economy can benefit
  • Small specialists companies are seen as being able to make the most of low carbon innovation opportunities
  • More climate change/low carbon leaders are needed!

‘Cars NOT Carbon’ greener motoring marketing competition

One of the main conference events was the announcement of the winners from the Cars NOT Carbon competition, when marketing agencies and students were invited to come up with ideas to promote low carbon cars. The winners presented their innovative marketing and advertising campaigns to a large audience of automotive and fuel industry delegates, Government representatives and other LowCVP stakeholders. Delegates were also able to visit an exhibition of the winning work.

One of the winning entries was an idea to have a coloured circle on a car’s tax disc to reflect its energy rating, ranging from green to red, as a visible statement of a car’s green (or red) credentials. We say, good idea (the Lib Dems actually had this idea a while ago), but why not go further – and rather than have a small coloured sticker, make the entire tax disk green, yellow or red. Or even better, have a tax disc size coloured sticker on the vehicle’s number plate.

For more information, to see the competition winners, and find out more about LowCVP, visit: www.lowcvp.org.uk