SEAT tests double-length trailer for factory deliveries

12 September 2018

Carmaker SEAT and Spanish logistics operator Grupo Sesé have carried out a test journey for a 26-metre long double-length articulated trailer on a motorway in Spain.

The articulated unit uses a double trailer and truck combination and is claimed to deliver a 20% drop in CO2 emissions and a 24% decrease in transport costs.

Two 13.6m-long trailers are attached to a Scania tractor unit, transporting components from a supplier base in Zarogoza to SEAT headquarters in Martorell. The total length of the truck and trailer is 31.7m (including the cab), with a maximum payload of 70 tonnes.

“The duo trailer can halve the number of trucks on the road,” said Dr Christian Vollmer, Seat’s VP for Production and Logistics. “This implies huge benefits in terms of sustainability, environmental responsibility, safety and efficiency.”

If successful, the vehicle could become a standard feature on the roads of Spain, says the company. It could also promote more efficient multi-modal transport to Europe, added SEAT, as it is compatible with train wagon infrastructure.

Seat and Grupo Sesé have worked together previously, introducing a 25m-long ‘mega truck’ in Spain two years ago. The new trial is the first time that a dual trailer has been tested on public roads.

Urbanetic concept blurs the boundaries between bus and van

12 September 2018

Mercedes-Benz will use next week’s IAA Commercial Vehicle Show to showcase its vision of future urban transport, which can transform into a van, minibus or pallet truck.

The fully-autonomous ‘Urbanetic’ mobility concept “goes way beyond existing ideas on autonomous vehicles”, says the company, and will eliminate the separation between goods transport and people moving.

The concept uses a self-driving, electrically powered skateboard-style chassis that can accept different bodies, either as a roomy ride sharing vehicle or goods transporter.

As a ride-sharing vehicle, Vision Urbanetic can accommodate up to twelve passengers, while the cargo module can carry up to ten EPAL pallets. A load space 3.7m long fits into a total vehicle length of 5.14m.

The different bodies can be changed either automatically or manually, according to Mercedes, with the automated process claimed to take “just a few minutes”. Further body derivatives are under development and expected to be shown in the future.

The autonomous chassis to which the bodies are attached incorporates all the hardware required for the driverless features to function, allowing the Urbanetic to travel to locations without a body attached. The new concept also showcases an IT infrastructure that analyses in real time the supply and demand of either ride-hailing passengers or goods within a defined delivery area.

Mercedes-Benz Vans says it envisages transporting more people and goods with fewer vehicles on a virtually unchanged roads infrastructure.

Bin lorries powered by rubbish to be trialled

12 September 2018

Waste collection and recycling company Veolia has created a bin lorry that is powered by the rubbish it collects.

The project in Sheffield will see non-recyclable waste collected by the company burnt to create sustainable electricity. In the future, this will power a fleet of electric bin trucks, which have had their conventional diesel powertrains removed and replaced by prototype battery packs.

Household waste collected by two 26 tonne RCVs will be taken to Veolia’s Energy Recovery Facility, in the Yorkshire city. Here the waste will be burnt in an incinerator situated underneath a large boiler, which generates steam to power a turbine.

Electricity generated from this turbine produces enough power to fuel 22,600 homes, as well as providing heating and hot water to 150 local buildings, including Sheffield Town Hall.

The project has been granted funding from Innovate UK to support the two-year trial, which will start at the end of this year.

Feature: IAA Hannover CV Show Preview

12 September 2018

The future of mobility will be at the centre of the 67thIAA Commercial Vehicle show, which opens its doors in Hannover, Germany, next week.

With a theme of ‘Driving Tomorrow’, the European show will have a huge focus on alternative drivetrains, automated driving, connectivity and digitalisation.

Hosted by the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA), the IAA is the the most important show in the CV calendar, alongside the CV Show here in the UK.

Vans will, as ever, be a big focus, with a number of launches. The show will see the global debut of the new Opel Combo van – the first LCV to emerge from Vauxhall-Opel’s takeover by PSA. It will be sold in the UK as both a Vauxhall van and passenger vehicle, along with the Peugeot Partner and Citroen Berlingo vans that were developed alongside it.

LDV will have a new range of electric vans on display, while the new Mercedes Sprinter is also set to be a big draw. Test drives to experience e-mobility vehicles will be offered within the grounds of the show.

On the heavier side, the IAA will see MAN’s new e-TGE van and e-TGM range of electric trucks, while Volvo Trucks will also be exhibiting its new fully electric range. In addition, Ford is expected to reveal its new long-haul truck.

Technology and industrial services provider, Voith, will also be debuting its EV technology, showing off a bus and truck chassis with full battery capability, which it aims to put into production next year. The majority of Europe’s major trailer suppliers are set to have a significant presence at the show.

“The new technologies set to be launched and exhibited at the IAA demonstrate the pace of progress in the CV industry – with innovations from the CV Show earlier this year rapidly moving forward” said SMMT’s Commercial Vehicle Manager, Nigel Base. “The build-up of anticipation leading up to these shows is made more exciting by the prospect of new and continuously refined products to make transport more efficient, reduce emissions and improve safety.”

As well as manufacturers and key suppliers, aftermarket companies will form a significant part of the show, many of which exhibiting innovations that will drive the sector’s future. From keyless technology and cloud-based data management, to advanced safety systems using predictive mapping data to help avoid accidents and improve efficiency, there’s a wealth of developments that are set to see the sector cement its position as an automotive industry testbed for future technologies.

“The slogan ‘Driving Tomorrow’ represents both a claim and a promise,” said Bernhard Mattes, President of the German Association of the Automotive Industry.

“Road freight traffic will expand all over the world in the coming years,” he added. “Furthermore, increasing urbanisation is focusing more social and political discussion on commercial vehicles. With ‘Driving Tomorrow’ we are underscoring the pivotal role played by commercial vehicles in the future of mobility, logistics and transport. This industry will [be] actively shaping the innovation process.

“The commercial vehicle industry is currently undergoing a sea-change. The symbolic linking of the various commercial vehicles – heavy trucks, vans and buses – points to the fact that the transformation is already in full swing in all areas.”

In addition to digital technology and electromobility, the IAA demonstrates that the modern, efficient, low-emission diesel engine also has a future, especially for long-distance transportation and in heavy-duty trucks.

“Commercial vehicles contribute to achieving the climate targets. CO2 emissionsper tonne-kilometer [for CVs] have been falling for many years now.And [when comparing] the different modes of transport shows that buses are undeniably the absolute CO2 champions,” added Mattes.

As well as established players, the IAA will also have a focus on technology start-ups, which will form a major part of the show’s ‘New Mobility World’.

In addition to stand space, the New Mobility World will feature a live discussion forum, where several sectors of the CV industry come together to discuss challenges, opportunities and legislative issues in a collaborative environment, as well as have the opportunity to meet the smaller companies developing new CV technology.

The show opens its doors to trade and public on Thursday September 20, with further information and tickets available from Transport News Brief will be rounding up all the major news from the show, so keep an eye out for next week’s newsletter.

LEVC announces electric van trials

12 September 2018

The company behind the latest extended-range black cab, LEVC (London Electric Vehicle Company), has announced that it is due to start trials with potential customers of its new electric van in London next year.

The Coventry-based manufacturer is currently in discussion with a number of major public-sector fleets about trialling prototype vehicles, including the Metropolitan Police and London Fire Brigade – both of which have ambitious programmes to reduce fleet emissions, with a target for all new vans being zero-emission capable from 2025.

Earlier this year, LEVC announced that it would be entering the van market with a zero-emission capable delivery vehicle. The LEVC van combines 70 years of knowledge of designing vehicles for city streets with a proven electric vehicle powertrain. The van will share the platform – and legendary turning circle – of a London taxi.

Like the taxi, the van will combine a fully electric powertrain with a petrol range-extender.

Unlike many electric vans, the LEVC vehicle is intended for long range as well as urban deliveries, travelling over 100 miles a day. This is a segment currently dominated by medium sized vans, with pure EVs focused on urban work.

Other key features of the van will include safety systems using semi-autonomous software, while the van is also required to meet LEVC’s million-mile TaxiDur test – one the most stringent vehicle durability testing regimes, designed for vehicles that spend an entire lifetime in service.

Leading fleets join Clean Van Commitment

12 September 2018

Sixteen of the UK’s biggest van fleet operators have signed up to a government-led initiative to increase the use of electric delivery vehicles.

Ahead of the UK hosting the world’s first zero emissions vehicles summit this week, the companies announced their intentions to invest an initial £40 million over the next two years as part of the Clean Van Commitment to increase the use of electric vans.

The 16 businesses that are already signed up include Engie, Tesco, Anglian Water, Leeds City Council, Network Rail and Yorkshire Ambulance Service.

Jesse Norman MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Department for Transport, said: “The Government’s Road to Zero strategy outlines its intention to lead the world in the design and manufacturing of zero emission vehicles – delivering significant environmental, health and economic benefits.”

The Commitment includes two targets: the first, switching a proportion of the companies’ fleets to electric (2,400 vehicles) by 2020 and secondly, committing to deliver zero tailpipe emissions by 2028, with more than 18,000 new vans, if sufficient charging infrastructure and reasonably priced vehicles are available. The aim is to help bring down the price of new electric vans whilst stimulating the second-hand electric van market in four to six years.

The Clean Van Commitment targets the largest van fleet operators in the UK. To help more van fleets make the switch, the fleet operators recommend more charging points, tax changes that support electric vans, a greater choice of models and permissions to add charging infrastructure to depots.

Mercedes-Benz reveals new flagship Actros

12 September 2018

Mercedes-Benz Trucks has revealed a new flagship Actros tractor unit, which features a host of advanced driver assistance and safety features, ahead of the IAA Commerical Vehicle Show in Hannover, Germany.

Billed as the brand’s most connected truck ever, the Actros will feature a new Multimedia Cockpit, which connects the driver with digital services and assistance systems, and which features the capability to be further integrated with vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-hub communications. The system will allow fleet managers to monitor the Actros in real time without delay, and drivers to base digitally.

It will also come with several innovative new safety features including Active Drive Assist, which allows the driver to operate the truck semi-autonomously. In addition, the truck’s external mirrors will be superseded by optional rear-view cameras, called “MirrorCam”.

“The new MirrorCam replaces the large outside mirrors and helps to reduce wind resistance considerably due to a streamlined shape and smaller dimensions,” Mercedes-Benz Trucks said in a statement.

“The new, concave-shaped cab side deflectors also improve aerodynamics, as the optimised design of the roof spoiler does.”

Ford to launch production Transit Hybrid

12 September 2018

Market-leading van manufacturer, Ford, will reveal the production version of its plug-in hybrid Transit Custom at the IAA Show in Hannover next week. In a first for the segment, Ford will also debut a new 48-volt mild-hybrid (mHEV) power train.

The Transit Custom PHEV has a hybrid system with a zero-emission range of up to 31 miles, and features a 1.0‑litre EcoBoost petrol engine as a range extender. The EcoBoost engine charges the on-board batteries when longer trips are required between charging stops, giving a suggested total range of more than 300 miles.

To be revealed in final production form in Hannover, the PHEV has a compact liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery pack located under the load floor, preserving the full cargo volume offered by the standard van. The vehicle features the all-new interior design from the latest Transit Custom, including dedicated information displays for the PHEV variant.

The 48-volt mHEV technology will be used on manual transmission vehicles to improve fuel efficiency, particularly in stop-start urban driving. The mHEV system captures energy on deceleration in a 48-volt lithium-ion battery, and uses the stored energy to help drive the engine and electrical ancillaries.

“Hannover will mark the arrival of an exciting new family of Transit commercial vehicles that are ‘born connected’,” said Hans Schep, General Manager, Commercial Vehicles, Ford of Europe. “Advanced connectivity, and our game-changing electrified vehicles, will create extensive new opportunities to create value for our customers.”

Light commercial vehicle market grows 5.0% in August

05 September 2018

  • New light commercial vehicle registrations increase 5.0% in August, as 16,394 vans and pick-ups join British roads.
  • Uplift in demand for popular large vans (14.6%) and pickups (21.4%) offsets declines for medium (-29.7%) and smaller (-9.3%) models.
  • Year-to-date market down -2.2% compared to same period in 2017, as monthly registrations continue to fluctuate.



The British light commercial vehicle (LCV) market grew last month according to figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). Just over 16,000 new LCVs were registered in the traditionally small month of August, representing a 5.0% increase in demand.

Pickups experienced the largest rise in the month up 21.4.%, while demand for large vans saw a 14.6% increase to take over two-thirds (67.2%) of all van registrations. Meanwhile, it was a different picture for small and medium sized vans which fell -9.3% and -29.7% respectively.

Year-to-date registrations are down -2.2%, with 220,399 new LCVs joining British roads so far this year, as fluctuating registrations caused by variations in fleet buying cycles and business confidence continue to affect the market.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said,

August is typically one of the quietest months for new LCV registrations, so the increase in demand for these high-tech, ultra-low and zero-emission vehicles is especially welcome news. While year-to-date figures show the market remains at a reasonably high level, weak business confidence and uncertainty means fluctuations in demand will likely continue throughout year.

Royal Mail Electric fleet debuts

05 September 2018

The first batch of electric Royal Mail vans developed by Banbury-based Arrival Electric Vehicles have gone into service in London, along with a fleet of Peugeot Partner Electric vans that will go into service nationwide.

A total of nine Arrival vehicles will operate in and around London, operating at weights of up to 7.5 tonnes. The first fleet of trucks will distribute post from the central London depot.

Another batch of 100 electric vans for Royal Mail has also been ordered from Peugeot, and will be operating in Belfast, Edinburgh, Essex and Kent, along with other depots across the UK as replacement cycles dictate.

Royal Mail was “delighted” to be collaborating with Arrival, according to Paul Gatti, Royal Mail Fleet’s managing director. “We will be putting them through their paces over the next several months to see how they cope with the mail collection demands from our larger sites,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Peugeot EVs are entering service at 18 different depots, replacing vans that have reached the end of their service life.

“Our research has shown that electric vans are a good operational fit with our business,” added Paul Gatti. “It also means we are on the front foot for future changes in emissions legislation.

“We are continuously looking at new and innovative ways to reduce our carbon footprint. Improving the efficiency of our fleet by introducing electric vans is just one example.”

“European postal providers, starting with DHL in Germany, have been taking this approach for a while now,” said Ananth Srinivasan, a mobility expert with research consultancy Frost & Sullivan.

He added that five countries – the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain – had the potential to convert significant proportions of their fleets to electric vehicles in the coming years. Royal Mail’s fleet comprises around 49,000 vehicles.