New British-Built Vivaro breaks cover

15 January 2019

Vauxhall has revealed the first pictures of the new Vivaro Life, which goes on sale later this year.

Due to go in to production at Vauxhall’s manufacturing facility in Luton, Bedfordshire, the first images shown by the company are of the passenger variant of the Vivaro van.

Vauxhall has confirmed that the new Vivaro will be offered in two lengths: the 4.95m “Medium” and the 5.30m “Large” – which in passenger form offer up to nine seats. The model will make its debut at the Brussels Motor Show next month.

The Vivaro is based on PSA’s EMP2 platform and will be built at the company’s Luton manufacturing plant, helping to secure 1,250 jobs. Investment in the new vehicle will increase the plant’s production capacity to 100,000 units per year.

It will feature a number of driver assistance systems; a camera and radar monitor the area in front of the vehicle, with a function that recognises pedestrians crossing the road and effect an emergency braking manoeuvre at speeds up to 18mph. Other features include Lane-Keep Assist and Drowsiness Alert, along with active cruise control. Some models will also get a head-up display.

Vauxhall says it will also offer an electric version of the van in 2021.

Euromotive launches LDV EV80 electric minibus

15 January 2019

Kent-based Euromotive has introduced its first electric minibus conversion, based on the LDV EV80.

The electric bus is a wheelchair-accessible eight-seater and is Euromotive’s first pure EV, with bodywork based on the high roof version of the LDV EV80, the zero-emission version of the V80 panel van

The conversion includes a sliding door entrance and underfloor cassette-style wheelchair ramp to aid access to and from the vehicle, while it also features double rear doors accessible via an integrated tail-lift, which is concealed within the back door of the bus.

The interior of the vehicle is ply-linedand trimmed in carpet over a plywood floorfor extra insulation and soundproofing, with an anti-slip flooringsurface on top.The floor tracking is tested to comply with M1 (commercial minibus) standards.

A certificate of conformity and supported documentation from tests successfully carried out at MIRA and witnessed by the VCA is supplied with each vehicle.

Volvo appoints new director for used truck sales

15 January 2019

Volvo Trucks has announced the appointment of a new Used Truck Sales Director.

Phil Wilkes joins the team at Volvo Trucks’ Warwick headquarters from Volvo Financial Services, where he has held the role of Sales Director UK & Ireland, working with Volvo Truck and Bus.

Employed by the Volvo Group since 1997, Phil has spent all of his time with Volvo Financial Services, other than a two-year spell in Fleet Sales for Volvo Trucks.

In his new role, Phil will be responsible for the Volvo Approved and Volvo Economy used truck brands, as well as the flagship ‘Selected’ used trucks, which come with a two-year, 360,000km warranty.

Prior to joining Volvo Group, Phil worked for a truck dealership and also spent several years working in distribution within the tyre industry.

Feature: Freight and passenger transport take centre stage at the Consumer Electronics Show 2019

15 January 2019

The Consumer Electronic Show (CES) has become the biggest global exhibition of future technologies, with all of the world’s leading technology companies converging to exhibit the latest and greatest examples of new innovation.

And while wafer-thin TV screens and phones that fold up like paper were very much the headline-grabbers in 2019, the freight and public transport industries also played a significant part in the Las Vegas showcase.

The big news for the truck industry came courtesy of Toyota, which has committed to building 10 fuel-cell powered trucks in association with US truck maker Kenworth, which will go into service as a study into the viability of hydrogen power in heavy haulage – something which will come under increasing amounts of scrutiny as vehicle manufacturers look for alternative fuel options.

The show also saw US truck makers move towards new markets, with Peterbilt revealing its new E220 electric truck chassis. The E220EV is significant for the UK as it is based on the Leyland Trucks-built DAF LF, and forms part of Peterbilt and DAF parent company PACCAR’s move towards developing electric drivetrains for urban deliveries.

Meanwhile, Daimler Trucks, parent company of Mercedes-Benz Trucks, used the show to announce that it was setting up a council of customers to help it deliver its future electrification strategy, with 30 of its key fleet purchasers invited to consult on everything from driveability to charging technology.

Swedish technology company Einride was also looking at heavy deliveries, with its driverless T-Pod rigid truck, which it has recently put into trial service in northern parts of its home country. The driverless deliveries are aimed at grocery stores and temperature-controlled applications.

Ford announced plans to develop a Transit-sized self-driving autonomous van which it aims to have ready in prototype form for customer trials by 2021.

Honda also announced a fully autonomous prototype, in the form of a search and rescue ATV, designed to travel across dangerous or inhospitable terrain that would otherwise put the driver’s life in peril. The off-road concept uses GPS and sensors to plan and navigate its way across tricky terrain, and could be used to come to the aid of similarly GPS-equipped climbers or explorers in emergency situations.

Mercedes-Benz, meanwhile, exhibited its Urbanetic van, with interchangeable bodies designed for different applications, including one concept that could be used as a commuter bus at peak travel times and a delivery van for the rest of the day.

In the passenger transport sector, automotive technology company Bosch revealed a fully autonomous shuttle bus called the IOT, which not only drives itself but uses algorithms to connect ride-sharing passengers with its own route planning software, which could feasibly remove the need for conventional bus routes. The user simply waves their device with the app installed and an IOT bus is summoned to collect them.

Continental, also a major automotive technology supplier, joined the autonomous bandwagon, with the CUBE – Continental UrBan Mobility Experiment. The CUBE is a 10-seater self-driving pod that is already undergoing passenger trials in Frankfurt, Germany.

Powertrain and transmission specialist ZF, meanwhile, gave prime billing to its E.GO Mover, which is already on sale. The box-shaped autonomous minibus is capable of Level 4 autonomous drive, but to get around European legislation the company is building 400 E.GOs with separate controls and steering wheels to develop the technology for larger scale production. The Mover can carry 15 passengers, 10 seated and five standing.

But it wasn’t just future technology that made its debut at CES, with the show also seeing the world debut of the new Ford Ranger double cab and the JEEP Gladiator Rubicon pick-up.

Driver training brings fuel savings benefits to key Scania customer

15 January 2019

Training offered to LGV operators as part Scania’s repair and maintenance package has seen 13 drivers from one customer achieve an 11 per cent improvement in fuel economy.

Mulgrew Haulage took advantage of four training sessions that are offered to all operators who sign-up for the truck maker’s inclusive repair and maintenance packages, with the training courses fulfilled by Scania’s Driver Services team.

Northern Ireland-based Mulgrew operates 125 Scania trucks and has a total of 70 trucks already on order for 2019.

“The figures being achieved here clearly demonstrate a win-win situation for both parties,” said Paul Johnson, Scania’s General Manager for Connected and Driver Services.

“An 11% fuel saving is hugely significant, while better and smoother driving means reduced wear and tear and fewer premature failures.

“That is not only good from a repair and maintenance provider’s point-of-view, it also benefits the customer by increasing uptime and enhancing their total operating economy.”

“Commercially we need to be competitive and constantly monitor all our costs, fuel economy is at the top of this list,” said Mulgrew’s Operations Director, Dermot Mulgrew Jnr.

“Customers do not pay for our inefficiencies, they depend on us to provide a cost-effective and sustainable service. As professional operators we also have an environmental responsibility to think of.

“With the complimentary training sessions offered within the repair and maintenance package, Scania helps us to improve on both these fronts.”

Guildford Park and Ride goes electric

15 January 2019

The Park and Ride facility in the Surrey town of Guildford has gone electric following the delivery of nine new BYD ADL 10.8m buses.

As well as the buses themselves, the BYD ADL partnership has also supplied the Park and Ride’s operator, Stagecoach South, with the necessary charging equipment for the pure electric fleet.

The nine buses will connect three car parks and a leisure centre with the town centre, operating six days a week, with service frequencies of between 10 and 15 minutes.

The Guildford buses are built to the new BYD ADL provincial spec, previewed at Euro Bus Expo in November 2018 and feature a single door and 36 seats.

Arthur Whiteside, ADL’s Managing Director for UK Sales, said: “We are delighted to support Stagecoach South and Surrey County Council in their introduction of clean, zero emission buses. With passenger-centric interiors and excellent onboard amenities, they will further enhance the attractiveness of Guildford as a destination and place of employment in the regional economy.”

BYD’s UK Country Manager, Frank Thorpe, added: “The entry into service of these vehicles means that our joint enterprise has now supplied advanced electric buses to the majority of the major bus operating groups in the UK and, as with all of our customers, we have been able to provide much more than the bus. Our knowhow has assisted in the provision of the necessary infrastructure, including BYD-built chargers”.

New Technology boss for Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles

15 January 2019

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles has appointed a new board member in charge of technical development for the brand.

Alexander Hitzinger was previously Senior Director of Hardware Engineering at Apple Inc. (USA) and will be in charge of developing new tech for VW’s CV brand, along with establishing and managing the Centre for Autonomous Driving and Mobility as a Service functions within the Volkswagen Group.

Dr Thomas Sedran, Chairman of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, said: “We have recruited a renowned expert as Member of the Board of Management for Technical Development at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles. He will be implementing the expansion of our competencies in electric propulsion, software development and autonomous driving.”

His primary role will be in the technological development of commercial vehicles, but Hitzinger’s CAV (Connected and Autonomous Vehicle) responsibilities will be across the entire Volkswagen Group.

Although he is joining VW from the consumer technology sector, Hitzinger is a graduate engineer with an automotive background. He began his professional career as a development engineer with Toyota Motorsport in Germany before spending nine years in Formula One. He then worked at Porsche for the Le Mans World Endurance Championship as Technical Director, developing the 919 hybrid long-distance racing car.

NFT updates trailer fleet

15 January 2019

One of the UK’s biggest food distribution companies has renewed 40 of its trailers, opting for lightweight semi-chassis units to reduce emissions and improve fuel economy.

NFT Distribution has procured the tri-axle reefer trailers from Schmitz Cargobull, with the trailers being imported from Germany.

The new units feature a light and robust semi-chassis, which weighs significantly less than a full chassis trailer. This increases payload potential, offering operational benefits and reducing NFT’s impact on the environment through the ability to transport more in one journey. In addition, a heavy-duty, self-supporting floor means the trailers sit 85mm lower than traditional units helping to reduce drag and further cut fuel consumption.

The trailers have also been specified with aerodynamic body kits, including side skirts and roof diffusers, because they will be used primarily for motorway work.

David Seaton, NFT Distribution Fleet Engineer, says: “Schmitz Cargobull’s trailers are robust, reliable and cost-effective so will reduce downtime for us, and the light chassis and extra body kits will really help us reduce fuel use and emissions. We’ll be running these trailers for eight years, so the benefits will definitely add up in cutting our carbon footprint.”

Established more than thirty years ago, NFT specialises in food and drink distribution and warehousing and delivers 130,000 pallets into UK grocery retailers each week.

New UK van market holds steady after mixed 2018

07 January 2019 #CV Sector

  • Light commercial vehicle (LCV) market shows moderate -1.3% decline in 2018.
  • 357,325 registrations enough to post the fourth best year on record, beating expectations.
  • December demand falls -8.8%, representing half of the annual decline, with only 4x4s recording growth in the month.

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The new light commercial vehicle (LCV) market dropped -8.8% in December, capping off a mixed year for the sector, which saw a moderate decline of -1.3% in 2018, according to the latest figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Performance in 2018 was boosted by the strong showing from pickup (up 4.3%) and 4×4 (up 303.4%) models, meaning 3,548 more of them on the road compared with the previous year. Overall registrations of 357,325 were still enough to make 2018 the fourth best year on record, beating industry forecasts.

Fleet buying cycles, model renewal and business uncertainty have all had an impact on the market, but the December decline represents more than half of the full-year decline of -4,824 units. Small (less than 2.0t) and medium-sized vans (2.0-2.5t) bore the brunt of the overall annual downturn, with full-year registrations of 25,070 and 50,956 accounting for -14.7% and -7.4% drops respectively. Larger vans (2.5-3.5t) matched their 2017 performance with 225,891 registered, a 0% change on last year.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said,

This sector is a key indicator of business confidence in the UK, and operators need stability to renew their fleets. December’s performance was worrying, as was the overall drop in fleet purchases. Business confidence depends on government providing the right conditions, which first and foremost means taking a ‘No Deal’ Brexit off the table. We have a strong and competitive commercial vehicle market in the UK, one that can flourish in the right economic climate.

Renault Trucks 2019 Range T models bring Euro VI Step D improvements

08 January 2019

Renault Trucks is upgrading its Range T models to incorporate new drivelines that are compliant with Step D of the Euro VI emissions legislation, as well as offering lower CO2 emissions and fuel consumption than the outgoing generation.

The new 2019 model Range T and T High version are fitted with Renault’s DTI 11 and DTI 13 Euro VI Step D engines, featuring a new-generation post-treatment system, made with more durable materials, while an Adblue quality sensor has also been added, and the seventh injector removed.

Additionally, the 2019 Range T is equipped with a new-generation Optivision system – a predictive speed regulator, which uses road topography to optimise gear changes. This now stores high definition data directly in the vehicle, maintaining a connection even in areas where the GPS provides no information, such as tunnels.

The truck’s adaptive Eco Cruise Control also features fresh settings that use less fuel. Renault Trucks states that the combination of these improvements and new equipment can enable customers to achieve up to 3% reduction in fuel consumption compared to the current generation.