And finally…

Did you hear the one about the Dragon and the Princess? It’s not a children’s tale but Pall-Ex’s Penny-a-Pallet scheme to raise money for The Princess Royal Trust for Carers. Dragons Den star and Pall-Ex chief Hilary Devey reveals that the network and its members raised £15,000 through the scheme, which sees 1p donated to the charity for every pallet the network moves.

BAE Systems wins innovation honour at CIWM Awards

10 January 2012
By BAE Systems

BAE Systems has won the 2011 Chartered Institute of Waste Management Environmental Excellence Award in the category ‘Vehicle, Plant and Equipment of the Year’.

The award recognised the innovative design and technology benefits of BAE Systems’ new HybriDrive® parallel hybrid power train, a technology showcase demonstrated in the US and the UK with RCV (refuse collection vehicles) specialist Dennis Eagle and Crane Carrier Company, which are currently trialling the product on their 26 tonne Refuse Collection Vehicles.

Mike Mekhiche, BAE Programmes Director for Power and Energy Management said, “We are very pleased and proud to have won this award which represents another important endorsement of the environment credentials of the HybriDrive® parallel system. We are particularly pleased that this is for the practical benefits that this technology brings to the end-users and their communities in terms of a greener and cleaner environment while reducing life-cycle and operational costs. Our alliance with a leading RCV OEM such as Dennis Eagle is critical to the success of this British endeavour because of their leading role in this market place and their early-adopter approach that is allowing for the fast trial of this innovative technology”.

BAE Systems new parallel diesel-electric hybrid technology offers three times the power and torque of other such competing parallel drive solutions. The hybrid technology built by BAE Systems provides 30% better fuel economy when compared to an equivalent conventional vehicle on specific duty cycles.

HybriDrive® Parallel is a true heavy duty solution designed to support heavy duty vocational trucks (Classes N2 and N3), in that it supports big-bore engines from a 350 to a 650hp, with its 70kW and 110kW variants – making its use in the truck sector ever more effective. The parallel system – the latest member of BAE Systems’ HybriDrive family – complements and draws upon the company’s proven HybriDrive Series system, currently deployed in more than 3,700 transit buses across the globe. The parallel system is designed for heavy-duty truck applications that include refuse collection, construction, pick-up and delivery, and utility vehicles.

Tata Steel keeps loads under control

10 January 2012
By Tata

In September 2009, Tata Steel Europe established a team of engineers to investigate load restraint systems for its products. The team designed and tested improved restraint systems to ensure all Tata Steel loads reach customers safely, and in compliance with European standards.

Ensuring these loads are secure requires a coordinated approach between Tata Steel and its hauliers, but the vehicles and equipment used are also vital parts of each load restraint system.

To this end, Tata Steel is producing a suite of Load Restraint Guidelines, Technical Information Sheets and training packages relating to steel load restraint and equipment specification.

This project comes just before the HSE/HSL and VOSA publish a guide on the securing of loads, that will help operators and drivers comply with existing road traffic law.

Tata Steel moves 10 million tonnes of steel on the roads annually, involving over 1,500 vehicle journeys daily across the UK and mainland Europe. Raising the standard of load safety for steel products on the road is a primary concern for the company.

Trio of Stralis’ for Triple A Transport Services

03 January 2012
By Iveco

A trio of new Iveco Stralis Active Space Super3 6×2 twin-steer tractor units have entered operation with Tilbury-based Triple A Transport Services.

Supplied by Dagenham Motors, the Iveco heavy trucks replace three older vehicles in a 15-strong commercial vehicle fleet and will be used for a combination of general haulage and night-time trunking.

Richard Newbold, Managing Director of Triple A Transport Services, says: “Operating a fuel efficient fleet is critical so we trialled a Stralis demonstrator prior to placing the order. The demonstrator was kitted out with on-board telematics so we could monitor the precise fuel consumption. It proved extremely fuel efficient throughout the 10-day trial.”

Selecting a vehicle which offers high standards of in-cab comfort was also a key factor in Triple A Transport Services choosing the Stralis and its top-of-the-range AS Super3 cab.

“Our drivers do a demanding job and it’s important they have a comfortable working and living environment when they are out on the road,” says Newbold. “The new Stralis’ have gone down very well indeed; our drivers particularly like the amount of space inside the cab and the comfortable driving position. They have also commented on the powerful air-conditioning system, which they love.”

The Stralis AS Super3 cab benefits from a specification which includes a heated, air-suspended and three-way adjustable driver’s seat with pneumatic adjustable lumbar support, multi-function and adjustable steering wheel, air-conditioning, Eberspacher night heater, slide-out fridge and an electrically operated roof-vent. It also features a vertically stowed upper bunk, plus a three piece lower bunk incorporating a seating area, comfort seat, and a fold away central table, with a flat floor covering the living area of the cab. A good night’s sleep is ensured thanks to an electrically operated windscreen blind, door roller blinds and curtains to enclose the cab area. The new vehicles will operate with tri-axle curtainside trailers and are expected to cover up to 150,000 km per year over three years. They will remain in service with the company for three years, with servicing carried out by Dagenham Motors in Barking, located just 16 miles away from Tilbury Docks, along the A13.

Power is provided by an FPT Industrial Cursor 10 engine, which is capable of producing up to 450 hp between 1,550 and 2,100 rev/min and up to 2,100 Nm of torque between 1,050 and 1,550 rev/min. This engine meets the stringent Enhanced Environmentally friendly Vehicle (EEV) standard, making it even cleaner than Euro 5.

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SDC Trailers ready to start longer trailer production

16 December 2011

SDC Trailers has welcomed the next stage of the Department for Transport’s longer trailer trial after today’s announcement of the allocations of extended length semi-trailers to selected operators. It has a significant number of new longer trailers already constructed and many more currently in the build process.

“We’ve been supportive of the DfT’s plans for high-volume extended length trailers from the outset and are excited with the fact that UK trailer manufacturers can play a part in helping the economy and cutting harmful emissions from the haulage industry,” said managing director Mark Cuskeran.

“We are also encouraged to learn that the DfT has allocated such a high number of licences initially and we’re now looking forward to working with the companies which have embraced the initiative.

“In partnership with our clients, we had already invested in technology for these next generation trailers by developing and testing a few key options even before the trial was announced in October. But, since then, we have pushed the boundries even further and can now offer some exciting, even more cost effective longer trailers – especially in the 15.65m option.

“We’ve looked closely at ways to make longer trailers more usable and attractive, both from a cost and weight point of view, and believe we are now ahead of the game with innovation and development. Our factories have been extended to accommodate high-volume trailers and we’ve secured production slots with manufacturers of self-steer axles. We’ve already manufactured a range of these new trailers and have others in the production process.

“We are now looking forward to working closely with the operators that have been granted licences to ensure they have the best possible solution to suit their individual operational needs.”


20 December 2011
By Intertruck

Intertruck, part of Unipart Commercial Vehicle, is delighted to have recently won the prestigious IAAF CV Distributor of Excellence Award for an unprecedented third year running.

Intertruck is a wholly owned national network of over 40 branches, offering a complete range of Truck, Trailer, Light Commercial Vehicle, Bus & Coach, Municipal, Specialist & Off-Highway parts to fleet operators and independent repairers both large and small.

Intertruck was presented with the ‘CV Distributor of Excellence Award’ at the recent Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation Awards & Dinner, held at the Birmingham Metropole Hotel on Thursday December 8.

This is a fantastic tribute for the Unipart Commercial Vehicle business and recognises Intertruck’s focus on the Commercial Vehicle market and its deep understanding of its customers’ needs.

Ed Pedder, Major Accounts General Manager, collected the award on behalf of the Intertruck team from President of the IAAF, Nick Best.

Ed commented: “I’d like to add my personal thanks and appreciation to the whole Intertruck team for this fantastic achievement. To be recognised and honoured in this way from the industry is a credit to the whole team and something we can all be very proud of – especially for the third consecutive year.”

DAF CF75 cements its position in Lafarge fleet

20 December 2011

DAF has cemented its place in the Lafarge fleet after the building materials supplier took delivery of 12 new 360hp CF75s for use by its Readymix division. The vehicles have all been configured as concrete mixers with the total order consisting of one 6×4 FAT chassis and 11 8×4 FAD chassis and all fitted with McPhee mixer units.

Nick Elliott, national transport manager at Lafarge Aggregates & Concrete UK, said, “Lafarge is one of the UK’s largest suppliers of building materials and it is important to us that we have reliable and safe trucks operating at all times. The DAF CF75s were chosen because they provide a cost-effective solution and a best-fit for our particular operation. The CF is a proven product and it is also hugely popular with our contractors”.

At Lafarge, safety is of paramount importance and the company has taken proactive steps to ensure that its vehicles have as many features as possible to protect drivers and other road users alike.

Elliott said, “One of the biggest problems for companies like Lafarge and others who deliver concrete into London and other busy cities is awareness of our vehicles to other road users. We have taken a number of simple, yet innovative steps to safeguard vulnerable road user groups such as pedestrians and cyclists.

“We have specified a camera system which provides drivers with a better view of the nearside of the truck as well as an audible ‘left-turn’ warning to alert any cyclist or pedestrian of the vehicle’s movement. In the cab we have also specified a lane departure warning and a dash-mounted red/green drum rotation indicator that notifies the driver whether the mixer is mixing or discharging. These added systems are in line with Lafarge’s company ethos of safety in the workplace. All our vehicles, including these 12 DAFs, meet the new conspicuity regulations that came into force in July which mean they bear reflective strips along the top, bottom and both sides of the rear”

Lafarge has specified 8m3 McPhee mixer units for the 11 FAD’s and 1 6m3 FAT and they’ll all be located across the UK tasked with delivering Readymix concrete to various regional clients.

Motor Transport Awards 2012: now open for entries

The 2012 Motor Transport Awards are now open for entries.The deadline for the 18 categories is 16 March. There are three new categories: Apprenticeship of the Year, Network of the Year, and Team of the Year. Go to
for more information.
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21 December 2011
By Renault UK

With the arrival of Kangoo Van Z.E., the first model in Renault’s four-strong electric vehicle line-up, the French marque has confirmed the first wave of UK dealers for its electric vehicles (EV).

Twenty one electric vehicle sites, branded Z.E. Expert, are now live and ready to offer the full range of sales and after-sales services for Renault’s electric vehicle customers, with each one having benefited from a comprehensive sales staff training, site upgrade and infrastructure programme.

Each dealership will be able to handle potential EV customer questions, as well as offer advice on making the most of the benefits of running one, including the essential environmental and financial factors to take into account. Trained Z.E. sales specialists, a minimum of two per showroom, will also be on hand to guide interested private and business customers through funding and charging options, as well as battery hire plans to allay any potential concerns over powertrain replacement costs and performance.

All Z.E. Expert sites have a Kangoo Van Z.E. demonstrator, so that members of the public can experience for themselves the smooth, silent and serene feeling of driving an electric vehicle.

On the service side, workshop staff at each site – a service manager and two technicians – have undergone specialist training so that they can address the demands of the new technology and become familiar with the new tools they have been provided with. The dealerships have also purchased specialist ramps and equipment to deal with the service and maintenance of its electric vehicles, which attract no benefit-in-kind taxation and 100% capital write-down allowance in the first year, as well as being Congestion Charge and VED exempt.

Additionally, Z.E Expert dealers have invested substantially in three new Chargemaster charging points with UK preferred partner, British Gas – one each for the workshop, demonstrator area and car park. The charging point in the car park will be accessible for all customers to use. There will also be a dummy domestic charging point in the showroom to provide demonstrations to customers.

Commenting on the launch of the first set of Renault Z.E. Expert sites, Thierry Sybord, Managing Director, Renault UK, said, “I’m delighted to see so many of our dealers embracing this new era of electric transport. With a full range of four fully-electric models set to launch in the UK in less than one year, we have high hopes for our Z.E. range. I’m sure our Z.E. Expert dealers will reap the rewards on both sales and after-sales and we look forward to charging ahead with them in the months and years ahead as we seek to attract as many electric vehicle buyers as possible.”

Supporting the on-site facilities, Renault has launched a series of other resources to help would-be-EV drivers become fully au-fait with the facts of living with a Z.E. product. Among them are expert Z.E. Live text chat or one-way video, including video guides via, plus a UK freephone service on 08000 72 33 72.

All Renault dealers outside of the 21 specialists have been given a Z.E. induction and will also be able to handle enquiries and refer customers to a suitable member of the Z.E. Expert dealer network.

The full list of Z.E. Renault dealers is:

Renault Manchester
Renault Birmingham
Renault Liverpool
Renault Leicester
Renault Cardiff
Renault London West
Renault Enfield
Renault Croydon
Ness Inverness
The Co-operative Bradford
Seward Portsmouth
Donnelly and Taggart, Londonderry
Charles Hurst Belfast
Vospers Plymouth
Motorline Maidstone
Benfield Newcastle
Bristol Street Exeter
Westover Poole
MarshallMilton Keynes
Smiths Peterborough
Toomey Basildon

Optare to retire original Solo: new look Solo SR its successor

03 January 2012
By admin

Optare has announced the end of production of its original Solo design after some 14 years. The original model is being retired in favour of the new look Solo SR for both UK and exports markets.

Since its introduction in 1997, more than 4,000 of the original Solo design have entered service in the UK, including exports to the USA, Western Europe and beyond. The first vehicles which were delivered to Wilts and Dorset, now part of Go-Ahead group, continue to operate in daily passenger-carrying service and in total Optare Solos in the UK alone are estimated to have clocked up over a billion miles.

The Solo SR was launched in 2007 as a premium model with an entirely new exterior appearance and has grown significantly in popularity. The new 2012 Solo SR range will consist of 7.1m, 7.8m, 8.9m and 9.6m variants, all available in the Slimline (2350mm wide) version. The 8.9m and 9.6m models will also be available in the wider 2500mm body width. All will feature curved side glazing and high specification interiors allowing up to 37 seats in the longest derivative. The opportunity has been taken to redesign some of the bodywork components to take advantage of the benefits achieved on the recently released Tempo SR design which reduce both weight and cost and further improve fuel economy.

Glenn Saint, Optare’s Chief Operating Officer, said: “Moving to the single body exterior and interior design will give all operators the benefit of the enhanced features of the Solo SR but the increased volume this creates will allow pricing to remain competitive with other products on the market”.

Building upon the existing mechanical design ensures continuing proven reliability and with no surprises from untested new designs. All Solo SR models will be available with either Mercedes-Benz or Cummins drivelines allied to Allison transmissions.

The move to the standardised Solo SR range will take place during the summer of 2012 following delivery of current order commitments.