As our industry accelerates its activity to address ambitious 2030 emission reduction targets and aims to reach net zero by the middle of the century, we talk to Anthony Bird, Driver Training Manager, about EPC-UK’s latest transition to an updated fleet of vehicle technology, together with his vision for how the company’s transport operations will look in the near future:

“The task to improve environmental credentials across the EPC-UK fleet has long been an ongoing priority for us. Even in advance of the recent COP26 global summit, we had begun our evolution towards developing a fleet capable of reducing and offsetting costs and emissions, with the introduction of hybrid company cars and investment in the latest fuel-efficient on-site vehicles.

“We’re continuously monitoring manufacturers’ progression towards Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV) and hydrogen cell, Alternative Fuelled Vehicles. We’re aware too that changes to legislation affecting Large Goods Vehicle (LGV) advanced driving regulations for hazardous goods will need to occur to allow AFVs to transport certain Classes of Dangerous Goods.

“The future of our fleet will be largely dependent on vehicle manufacturers’ advancements, alongside any incentives from the Government geared at steering people away from internal combustion engines and towards alternative fuel vehicles. Successively, the next five years could see the rise of solid-state batteries as the power choice for light commercials and cars – and hydrogen fuel cells become the future route for our large commercial vehicles.

“We are keen to embrace technological advancements as they develop before us and are committed to equipping our team with vehicles in the here-and-now that can further reduce our environmental impact.”  

New fleet recruits

“Following extensive trials and by customising vehicle specifications to suit our particular off-site requirements, we’re delighted to confirm that our first consignment of Isuzu D MAX vehicles has been added to our fleet for 2021. Eight of 20 have been delivered, and a further 60+ will be introduced during 2022.

“We renew the vehicles within our fleet every three years, considering the latest machines to be less environmentally impactful. Our last generation of Isuzu’s was still Euro 6 compliant and used 1.9 power units, however we wanted improvements in our MPG figures – as going further for less diesel has a significant impact on our operation, as well as emissions.” 

Heightening safety, reducing emissions

Anthony goes on to explain that the new model is fitted with traffic sign recognition and adaptive manual cruise control, so operators can use smart tech, rather than reactive braking to help save fuel and enhance comfort levels, and that the vehicles’ top speed capabilities have also been limited in a move to further reduce emissions and improve MPG figures. “Our meticulous approach to keeping the fleet serviced and inspected on time will remain, ensuring vehicles continue to run at optimum efficiencies,” he adds.

Fleet facts:

The new EPC-UK fleet model uses AdBlue – a fuel additive used in conjunction with SCR (Selective Catalytic Reduction) to reduce harmful NOx gasses from being released into the atmosphere

The vehicles compare equally to the most fuel-efficient models available within the 4×4 pick-up sector

With a manual gearbox, the best MPG [Extra Urban 42.8] and lowest emissions [currently 220g/km] can be achieved

The use of Truckfile / the FTA app provides full transparency of operators recorded daily checks and ensures knowledge of routine maintenance and service inspections

The model is the first ever pick-up to be awarded a 5-star Euro Ncap safety award, with eight passenger cell airbags, an advanced driver assist system, adaptive cruise control, manual speed limiter, lane departure warning, reactive steering, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert parking aid, and an automatic multi collision brake

The vehicles have been fitted with technology to contact the emergency services remotely and automatically.

Supporting our SPIRIT values

“Our commitment to vehicle safety is matched by that of innovation, supporting our SPIRIT value ethos of Safety, Passion, Integrity,  Respect, Innovation and Teamwork in practical terms,” Anthony says:

“Knowing that EPC-UK has the safest and most innovative vehicles in operation, whether driving on roads or operating in quarries, is extremely rewarding. It gives us the confidence to know operators are provided with the very best technical support when performing their roles, and their families are in safe hands when the vehicles are driven for personal use.

“As we continue to place emphasis on our environmental commitments, we will further evolve the fleet in line with technological advancements and emission limiting capabilities, working together to achieve carbon reducing targets to benefit us all.”