With emissions regulation closing in at both the international and local level, it’s time for businesses to electrify to protect themselves, writes Stephen Irish, co-founder of Hyperdrive Innovation, one of the UK’s foremost designers and manufacturers of lithium-ion battery technology

Stephen Irish, co-founder of Hyperdrive Innovation

The legislative net has been tightening around the automotive industry’s emissions standards for many years now – and it’s been well publicised. We’re all very familiar with the concept of the London congestion charge and catalytic converters on our diesel cars. However, one sector that’s so far avoided the lime light is non-road mobile machinery (NRMM) – everything from agricultural machinery, construction, building material machinery, industrial trucks, cranes and even inland waterway vessels. Now, just like the auto industry, NRMM is undergoing a profound change, driven by legislation.

Just like the automotive industry, regulation in the NRMM sector is closing in on two fronts. First, engine manufactures are required to produce cleaner engines, driven by the European Union’s (EU) Stage V engine regulations which came into force in January. And second, an ever-growing number of UK cities are seeking to mitigate air pollution with low emissions zones. When coupled, this regulation is bringing the impact of NRMM pollution into sharp focus and encouraging companies to look at a solution that protects them well into the future – electrification.

ARE YOU READY FOR STAGE V REGULATIONS?

As of 1 January 2019, all new machines which fall within the scope of NRMM have had to comply with new emissions standards; Euro-Stage V. This means that for the first time, all engines with a power range of 0 kW to higher than 560 kW are included in EU emissions legislation.

The purpose? To further reduce the levels of particulate matter (PM) produced by internal combustion engines (ICE). So, weather someone is working in a warehouse that uses diesel forklifts, ploughing the fields in a tractor or simply walking past a construction site using ICE excavators and generators, the air they breathe should be much cleaner as a result.

For those using ICE engines, there’s no getting around the fact you will have to comply. All combustion engines, whether they’re petrol, diesel, gas, or anything else are included, and it applies equally to both variable-speed and constant-speed engines.

We’re currently in a 24 month ‘grace period’. During which time, it is still possible to put engines of the previous emission standard on the EU market. But with the prospect of low emission zone fines on the horizon, savvy business managers are getting ahead of the curve now.

THE RISE OF LOW EMISSION ZONES

The concept of low emission zones has been around for a long time – particularly in built up areas like London where drivers are used to shelling out the £11.50 a day it costs to drive through its centre.

However, with poor air quality now thought to be responsible for 40,000 premature deaths annually in the UK, all ICE engines whether diesel or not, whether in a car or not, are in the sights of devolved law makers.

Newcastle, Bristol, London and Manchester are just some of the local authorities looking to clamp down on dirty ICE engines. In January, London Mayor Sadiq Khan said he intends to introduce a fine like the congestion charge for firms using polluting machines – and it’s not just for cars.

According to the London Atmospheric Emissions Inventory, construction sites alone are responsible for around 7.5% of damaging nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions, 8% of large particle emissions and 14.5% of the most dangerous fine particles – the vast majority of which come from ICE engines, as opposed to dust for example. This gives an idea of the scale of the issue and doesn’t even take into account other NRMM, such as water vessels, cranes or warehousing machines.

PERFECT STORM OR PERFECT OPPORTUNITY?

The combination of these two regulatory trends – Euro Stage V engine regulation and the rise of low emission zones – is injecting urgency into the vast number of industries using NRMM. They are keen to not just comply with current regulations but also get ahead of the curve and protect their businesses against future, tougher regulations.

Traditional OEMs, factory managers, construction companies and virtually every other sector that requires powertrains, are now, therefore, embroiled in a race. A race to slash emissions. A race to electrify.

This may sound like a daunting task – especially at a time of ever tightening budgets, when R&D into new and effective drive chains can come at large expense. However, without electrifying, these businesses could face the prospect of installing expensive engine after-treatment to comply. In some cases, this could add 50-100% to the cost of machinery.

That’s where Hyperdrive Innovation comes in. By offering a spade-ready, bespoke and affordable alternative that’s zero emissions, future proof and trusted by household brands, it can be the electrification partner to navigate businesses through the rapidly changing legislative landscape.

Not only does this save many years and potentially huge sums of money on inhouse R&D, but by making the speedy transition to electrification, businesses can begin to see other savings such as lowered maintenance and fuel costs almost immediately.

This competitive advantage is already being realised by international manufacturers. JCB, for example, has already partnered with Hyperdrive, allowing them to lead the way in electrification. It’s now using battery energy storage in its machines to ensure the air is cleaner at its construction sites, protecting its workers from dangerous fumes and future-proofing its business against any further regulation. Could your business take a similarly leading role?

For more information: www.hyperdriveinnovation.com