Iconic British van to make electric return

16 October 2019

A UK-based automotive engineering and manufacturing start-up has revealed plans to launch a new electric LCV based on the classic British design of the Morris J-type van.

The new Morris JE by Morris Commercial will feature a state-of-the-art, full electric, lithium-ion battery powertrain.

Built with a lightweight, modular chassis and carbon fibre body, the company claims the model will be one of the lightest LCVs in the marketplace.

Dr. Qu Li, CEO and founder of Morris Commercial, said, “As a business we are committed to environmental sustainability and we are trailblazing a new approach to the production of appealing, fully electric commercial vehicles. We are very excited to unveil the JE to the public this autumn.”

Volvo Group passes connectivity milestone

16 October 2019

The Volvo Group has announced it has now delivered more than one million connected customer assets worldwide.

In the UK alone, there are now some 25,000 connected Volvo trucks capable of using the Volvo Connect system, which combines all digital and connected services for Volvo’s truck customers into one single interface, making the everyday trucking operations run smoothly.

Globally, the assets, which include delivered trucks, buses and construction equipment are now gathering vast amounts of data which is being used to improve productivity by increasing vehicle and machine uptime, reducing emissions and noise, as well as improving traffic and site safety.

For example, connected Volvo buses use Zone Management to let the vehicle download data to comply with local restrictions such as emission or noise zones and speed limit areas.

For owners of construction equipment, trucks and buses uptime is vital. Thanks to the collected data, wear on crucial parts can be predicted and replacement parts ordered in advance – all reducing downtime for the owner, thus leading to increased productivity.

Martin Lundstedt, President and CEO of the Volvo Group, said, “The first million connected assets is only the start, we are committed to remain a leader in this field.”

Anna Westerberg, Senior Vice President at Volvo Group Connected Solutions, added, “Connectivity is transforming the transportation industry. Insights from gathered data can be turned into value for our customers and society as a whole and make transportation more productive, more sustainable and safer.”

Double win for Bibby and Roquette

16 October 2019

The addition of 16 new tractor units has helped Bibby Distribution increase its on-time in full (OTIF) delivery rate for Roquette to more than 98 per cent while also cutting the environmental impact of the plant-based ingredient manufacturer’s supply chain.

The new 44-tonne DAF CF trucks, equipped with latest diesel engine technology, are part of an overall £1.6m investment by Bibby Distribution in its seven-year relationship with Roquette, which offers solutions to food and beverage industry manufacturers across the UK.

Each vehicle is 500kg lighter than its predecessor and is recording an improvement in fuel consumption as well as a significant reduction in ambient noise – providing continuous improvement on the contract, which was signed for a long-term renewal in 2018.

In addition to the optimised fleet, a dedicated Bibby Distribution transport team is based at Roquette’s production site in Corby to provide direct support, handle day-to-day route planning and traffic management, and can rapidly adjust transport scheduling when required.

FEATURE: Busworld Europe preview – an electrified future moves closer

16 October 2019

Later this week, Busworld Europe 2019, the world’s oldest and most famous bus and coach only exhibition, promises to be one of the most forward-looking events in its 48-year history. The need to reduce vehicle emissions, especially in urban areas, has resulted in an intensified focus on how public transport is operated and utilised, and this evolving outlook is represented in this year’s vast event line-up.

Innovation is at the forefront. Not only in terms of drivetrain electrification – emerging as the industry’s favoured method of tackling the emissions challenge – but the infrastructure required to support such a revolutionary change. Here is a very quick round-up of what you can expect on October 18-23.

Equipmake will debut the latest version of its modular electric bus platform, which the company claims, “allows coachbuilders with no EV knowledge to become an electric bus manufacturer, cost-effectively.” The chassis has been designed with a system level approach designed to optimise energy use for vehicle heating and cooling, enabling the use of smaller, more cost-efficient batteries.

Portuguese company, CaetanoBus will reveal a new hydrogen electric bus, H2.City Gold. Recognising that one solution may not fit all purposes worldwide, the alternative-fuel chassis complements its existing traditional plug-in electric, modular platform, which together showcase the company’s “Vision of future mobility.”

As part of its continued investment in future powertrain development, Cummins Inc. is unveiling its new low-profile battery destined for the European market. Under 140mm in height, the battery is designed to help vehicle manufacturers meet low floor requirements and optimise unoccupied space. It is part of an extensive Cummins presence that showcases its expanding range of electrification technologies, including e-Drive, an integrated motor, transmission and invertor.

Alongside the modular chassis, finished vehicles, new batteries and power units, new charging solutions will also be on display. Heliox will show SprintCharge, which it calls the “the world’s first battery integrated opportunity charging station for e-buses and e-trucks.” These stations store power from the grid, enabling faster, more efficient charging than can be traditionally supported, helping to achieve greater fleet efficiency.

Jema Energy’s take on developing a solution for a common issue is a 150kW modular and inter-operable charger, which includes a system to optimise fleet charging behaviour depending on route schedules or hourly rates.

Completing the broad look at future service requirements, advanced new maintenance and telematics options are also being debuted. Stratio’s new Automated Vehicle Maintenance approach uses artificial intelligence and data generated by driver and vehicle performance to develop a flexible maintenance schedule that is more efficient and cost-effective than traditionally fixed intervals. Or, in Stratio’s words, “a new reality without disruptions.”

Telematics specialist ViriCity is launching the “world’s first ‘mixed fleet’ platform” that enables fleet operators to monitor all electric and non-electric fleet vehicles. The company states that this level of insight and data capture will help ease the transition to all-electric operations in the future.

Greater efficiency is a clear common goal. What’s most impressive is the sheer breadth of solutions on display, which makes an electrified future for public transport seem an eminently achievable reality.

Rolfo reveals car transporter concept

16 October 2019

Car transport specialist Rolfo has unveiled a new concept in car transporter bodywork.

The innovative EGO 539 is capable of transporting 12 cars, or mixed loadings with large vehicles and is built on a Mercedes Actros 2443 equipped with 428 hp engine, low-roofed Compact Space cab and an original pusher axle.

© Copyright Mercedes-Benz Trucks UK.

The tractor unit, supplied by Midlands Truck & Van, has been modified to make it a closer fit to car transport requirements with relocation of batteries and air tanks and a new 525-litre fuel tank. This work was carried out by SB Components of Wisbech.

Davide Sobrino, Managing Director of Unirolfo, the Rolfo Group’s agent for the UK market, acknowledged that the EGO 539’s market-leading carrying capacity was sure to catch the eye of many potential customers. But he insisted this was only part of the story.

He said, “With its increased loading volume, this vehicle is more productive than anything Rolfo has built before.”

Glasgow Airport shuttle goes electric

16 October 2019

Glasgow Airport’s car park shuttle bus has gone electric with the introduction of three BYD ADL Enviro200EV battery buses.

The new buses have been supplied by Alexander Dennis and its partner BYD and replace three diesel vehicles. Their introduction has been supported by Transport Scotland with a £450,000 Green Bus Fund grant.

The new buses combine BYD’s reliable electric driveline and battery technology with Alexander Dennis bodies adapted to the requirements of airport operation and charging infrastructure for the buses has been installed at their operating base in the airport’s long stay car park.

Mark Johnston, Glasgow Airport’s Managing Director, said, “These state-of-the-art vehicles will play an important role in supporting our continued efforts to create a more sustainable business and will contribute significantly to help further reduce carbon emissions locally at Glasgow Airport. The environmental benefits and considerable cost reductions associated with the introduction of these electric vehicles was very attractive.

“Moving to a full-electric bus operation cuts the carbon emissions associated with passenger travel to and from our car park from 143 tonnes per year to zero, and this significant reduction is further supported by the fact that the airport’s electricity is also supplied via renewable energy.”

Einride secures major funding to fuel growth

16 October 2019

Autonomous, all-electric transport provider Einride has secured major investment to support its growth and international expansion.

Einride will use the funds generated to build demand for sustainable transport and add to its customer contracts, which already include the likes of major global players like logistics provider DB Schenker, supermarket chain Lidl and large US based transport intensive companies.

Robert Falck, CEO and founder of Einride, said, “Our ambition is to disrupt the transport industry and closing our series A brings us one step closer to that goal. The funding will allow us to start expanding in the US, deliver on our technology road map and to meet rapidly increasing customer demand.

“We are proud to have such a strong line-up of international investors joining Einride as shareholders. Their support and combined experience will help us to continue delivering new commercial milestones and technological breakthroughs, transforming road freight transport as we know it, making it more efficient, safe and sustainable.”

Alloy Bodies celebrates five decades of innovation

16 October 2019

Manchester-based bodybuilder Alloy Bodies is celebrating 50 years in business.

From humble origins, the company has grown to become one of the top names in the industry and today it employs more than 100 staff and builds more than 2,000 bodies per year.

The current Alloy Bodies range comprises cutting edge designs for everything from van chassis up to 26-tonne rigid trucks. Since 2017 Alloy Bodies has been part of the Lanarkshire-based Anderson Group – which includes haulage, logistics, truck and van sales and property interests among its diverse portfolio.

Managing Director Jackie Murphy said, “Reaching this historic landmark is testament to the strength of our designs and products, and the exacting levels of service we aim to provide to all our customers.

“In celebrating our 50th anniversary we acknowledge our past but our focus remains very much on the future. We’ll be working harder than ever to look after our loyal, long-term customers and aiming to introduce many new friends to the benefits of operating Alloy Bodies products.”

UK new van market falls -23.5% in September

04 October 2019

  • UK new van market falls -23.5% in September as regulatory changes and economic uncertainty impact performance.
  • Registrations of small and medium vans up, but larger vans, pickups and 4x4s all down.
  • Performance in the year-to-date still healthy, up 4.5%, as buyers choose cleanest ever models.

SEE LCV REGISTRATIONS BY BRAND

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The UK new light commercial vehicle (LCV) market declined -23.5% in September, according to the latest figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). 41,216 LCVs were registered in the month, down some 12,632 units on September 2018, as regulatory changes, coupled with economic and political uncertainty, impacted the market.

Registrations of larger vans weighing 2.5-3.5 tonnes fell -35.2% in the month while conversely the market for small vans weighing less than 2.0 tonnes was up 12.3%, with medium vans weighing 2.0-2.5 tonnes also up (16.8%). Meanwhile, the pickup and 4×4 segments both fell, -18.8% and -48.4%, although combined they accounted for less than a fifth of the whole market.

September’s losses follow a period of sustained growth, with LCV registrations rising in every month of 2019 to August, as buyers responded to a wide range of deals and a raft of new models. In the year-to-date the market is up 4.5%, with more than 286,000 new vans hitting the road, most (62.2%) weighing 2.5-3.5 tonnes.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said,

These figures are unusual as LCV registrations have been growing this year, however the impact of regulatory changes, coupled with ongoing political and economic uncertainty, has distorted the market in September. Registrations for the year to date are still healthy, however, but for this to be maintained we need business confidence restored and strong economic growth so that businesses invest in their fleets.

Shorter Scania coach aimed at growing UK market segment

09 October 2019

A new shorter version of Scania’s popular Touring HD coach is to be introduced in late May 2020, the manufacturer has confirmed.

Launched in the UK in 2015, there are now around 200 of the original coaches in operation across the country.

The new model, which will be 10.9-metres long and can be configured with up to 45 seats, is aimed at a growing market segment.

Lee Wale, UK Retail Sales Manager for Scania comments, “We are delighted to announce this new shorter length Touring coach, which will enter a market segmentation that is growing in demand. The coach utilises the full-size Scania K 360 IB chassis, which is standard on the 12.1-metre version of the Touring and which many operators favour for its reliability, high level of specification and fuel efficiency.”