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Fleets sought for trial of 'real world CO2' device

Date: 15 May 2007   |   Author: Guy Bird

A new device that calculates a vehicle's real-world carbon dioxide emissions could revolutionise the way firms measure their 'CO2 footprint'.

Slated for an autumn on-sale date - as an add-on to existing telematics packages - it could give fleets seeking to demonstrate their 'actual' rather than 'theoretical' carbon footprint a strong advantage in the corporate social responsibility stakes as well as help them comply with proposed future low emission zones.

After successful development of a prototype, the firm behind it is now looking for fleets to trial the product and has already had discussions with Tesco's among others.

The patented technology - called Eco-Log and developed by start-up company Lysanda - measures signals from a vehicle's on-board diagnostics system like load, engine speed, throttle angle, 'powertrain map' and engine temperature to work out actual emissions of CO2 and other pollutants at the tailpipe.

Lysanda's technical boffins - many ex-carmaker engineers - said the technology is much more robust and cheaper than previous exhaust pipe sensor systems used on some heavy trucks and boasts an accuracy better than +/- 1% on CO2 already validated by Millbrook Proving Ground.

The Eco-Log product on sale later this year will feed emission data back to the fleet manager's software via telematics reporting, but in the future the data could also be shown in-cab via a satnav screen or computer display so the driver could see the effect of their right foot on emissions in real-time.

Lysanda's commercial director Simon Harris said the product would sell for "well under £500 per unit" as a card inserted into a 'host telematics unit' (or as a bolt-on box), and be available initially for diesel engines and CO2 measurement only - other emissions data and a product for petrol engines will be offered by the end of 2008. "Ultimately," said Harris, "the plan is to make this product available beyond the aftermarket through carmakers too."

Nigel Underdown, head of transport advice at the Energy Savings Trust, said: "Anything that improves the monitoring of carbon and other emissions has to be a good thing."