This 8 minute video shows how Linfox is going about reducing its carbon emissions. What stands out for me in this video is the broad commitment across the organisation to cutting greenhouse gas emissions. Use it to help inspire a similar commitment in your organisation.
Archive for the ‘transport’ Category
Nissan has just unveiled the prototype of its first electric car, the Leaf, available in Australia from 2012, and in Japan and the USA from next year. It will have a range of 160kms, a top speed of 140km/hr and a 5 to 30 minute rapid charge. The car is a 5 door hatch. Incredibly the battery pack will only weigh 200kg.
By going for a rapid-charge battery the Leaf is competing with the Better Place model of physically changing the battery once depleted for a fully charged battery. Presumably you could drive into a service station with rapid charge capability and be fully charged in 5 to 10 minutes, not an unacceptable delay if you don’t have to do it that frequently.
The relatively long range (160kms) of the Leaf reduces the need for a network of charge points at car parks, also key to the Better Place model. The Leaf is suited to home charging, with a 8 hour “trickle” charge.
Pricing has not yet been announced. Nissan are planning to sell the car but lease the battery to the first customers, with the price of the car (excluding battery) to be similar to that of a small family car. The cost of the battery lease and electricity to charge the battery will be less than that of petrol for an equivalent vehicle.
An advantage of the Better Place model though is its integration with the “smart grid”, whereby whenever the vehicle is parked a charge station is nearby it can be interacting with the grid and providing storage to renewable generation.
Other electric cars which may be available in Australia in 2012 include:
- The Mitsubishi i-MiEV (perhaps available from 2010). A small car, also with a 160km range.
- The Holden Volt. Another small vehicle.
- Vehicles compatible with the Better Place model (in Canberra, where Better Place is starting its national rollout)
- The Toyota FT-EV
Already available is the Blade, a modified Hyundai Getz.
Metropolitan fleet buyers – local government and commercial would be doing well to now start planning to introduce electric vehicles into their fleets from 2012. Which, if Nissan and Better Place deliver on their schedules and prices, won’t only make environmental sense, but will also make financial sense if the capital cost is no more, and running costs are lower.
Videos of the Better Place project and battery swap.
Project Better Place
Electric car battery switching station
Yesterday Better Place announced that Canberra would be the first site in the national rollout of its electric vehicle recharge network.
Construction of the network will begin in 2011, with services available to electric vehicle owners from 2012.
ActewAGL - the electricity distribution business and retailer in the ACT - responsible for sourcing and distributing the renewable energy that Better Place will use to power electric vehicles within the ACT. “A significant influence on our decision to choose Canberra was the enthusiasm and support we have received from Michael Costello and his team at ActewAGL” said Evan Thornley, Chief Executive Officer of Better Place Australia.
The deployment of the network will include:
- Recyclable lithium-ion batteries that will power the electric vehicles and be provided as part of the service to drivers, reducing the up-front costs of purchasing an electric vehicle;
- Charge spots in homes, offices, shopping centres and other car parks where drivers can plug in to keep their battery fully charged; and
- “Battery Swap Stations” where motorists can drive in and have a depleted battery automatically exchanged for a fresh, fully charged one.
The vision of Shai Agassi, Better Place founder, is for electric vehicles to be cheaper and more convenient than fossil fuel powered cars. Australia is one of three countries where the technology is being rolled out globally. Its great to see this vision now being translated into concrete plans.
Linfox is well known for the “You are passing another Fox” sign on the back of its vehicles. But the company has also cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 9% in the last eighteen months, and is on track to cut its emissions by 15% by December 2010.
I had the privilege of interviewing David McInnes, Group Manager Environment and Climate Change yesterday and being inspired about Linfox’s approach to the climate change challenge. It was refreshing not to hear the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme mentioned once in the interview. Linfox is reducing its carbon emissions because it wants to, not because its being forced to, and is quietly getting on with it.
So how does a organisation with 15,000 staff, whose carbon emissions mostly come from diesel consumed in trucks, reduce its per km emission by 9% in eighteen months? You can find the interview on our “Good News Interviews” page.
For me a couple of the standouts from the interview were:
- Their staff engagement program. Almost all of their savings have come about by making better use of what they already have, rather than investing in new technology. This has been achieved by getting their staff involved in changing the way things are done and in how trucks and buildings are operated, and making hundreds of small changes.
- Their carbon accounting system – developed in-house. Linfox programmers set up their SAP system such that now monthly carbon reports can be generated, down to the level of individual trucks if necessary. A consistent theme of all organisations cutting their carbon footprints is their focus on accurately and frequently tracking their emissions
- David’s recommendation to any organisation wishing to cut their carbon footprint to undertake an energy audit, which provides the business case for action. Thanks for the plug for my profession David!
After the interview we discussed Linfox’s Greenfox program, and I wish I had left the voice recorder on. This is a fantastic program. Staff can become a Greenfox by passing five training modules. Everyone who completes the training gets a framed certificate, and drivers who complete the training get a Greenfox badge on the shoulder of their uniform. David mentioned that Greenfox’s often become ambassadors, with truck drivers going to their kid’s schools and talking about climate change.
Also not covered in the interview was the great help David got from Linfox’s IT department in modifying SAP. Normally there is a long queue in the organisation for projects requiring SAP changes. The carbon accounting adjustments though were undertaken by the SAP programmers on top of their normal requirements, such was their commitmen to the company reducing its carbon footprint.
Finally David also spoke off the record about the need to focus less on the science and more on the community and the emotional response that when sparked can result in great change.
As one of Australia’s larger businesses Linfox is taking a leadership role by getting on with reducing its corporate carbon footprint. David McInnes is providing inspirational leadership. Take half an hour to listen to David McInnes and I guarantee you’ll come away motivated and hopeful about what is possible if we focus on cutting carbon emission.