Senior management changes at DAF Trucks

22 March 2017

One of the best-known figures in the truck industry has announced his retirement, with plans to leave his post later this year.

DAF Trucks Managing Director, Ray Ashworth, has worked in the UK truck industry for 48 years, the last eight of which were in his current role at DAF.

Ray will be succeeded by Robin Easton, who leaves his post as Managing Director of PACCAR India, where the company has established a technical and parts supply centre in the city of Pune. PACCAR is DAF’s US-owned parent company, and builds Kenworth and Peterbilt trucks for its domestic market.

Ashworth retires with DAF Trucks continuing to lead the UK truck market, in his final full year in the post, 2016, Ashworth saw the brand take a record 30% market share in the 6.0-tonnes and above market.

New aerodynamic simulator will assist HGV efficiency

22 March 2017

A web-based system that simulates aerodynamic efficiency of HGVs is being developed with funding support from the Department for Transport (DfT).

TotalSim’s Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) package, known as ACT (Aerodynamic Configurator for Transport), is part-supported by the DfT’s Low Emissions Freight and Logistics Trial, which has awarded a grant of £392,240 towards the total £560,342 project costs.

ACT will enable fleet managers to select the most efficient configuration of truck and trailer for an operation. It will assess the shape of vehicles and trailers and their combinations for aerodynamic efficiency under a range of conditions.

TotalSim’s Managing Director, Rob Lewis, said, “Using CFD, we can simulate the aerodynamic efficiency of any vehicle – usually to help make racing cars go faster – but in this instance we are interested in increasing fuel efficiency to reduce HGV emissions.”

“Transport operators of all technical abilities can try out different configurations quickly and easily in order to deploy the most efficient cabs and trailers. This will dramatically reduce journey costs and greenhouse gas emissions alike.”

Combined with telematics data, ACT can also be used for route and weather-specific planning decisions.

TotalSim will partner with fuel-saving analytics firm Dynamon whilst trialling the system.

Dynamon’s CEO, Angus Webb, said, “TotalSim will identify the best aerodynamic shapes and Dynamon will use fleet telematics data to identify the potential fuel saving and ROI. This will both improve investment in aerodynamics by fleets and stimulate innovation from aerodynamics suppliers.”

Renault-Nissan plans new global LCV strategy

22 March 2017

The Renault-Nissan Alliance is creating a standalone light commercial vehicle business unit to expand its global presence in the rapidly growing segment.

The Alliance plans to use Renault’s van expertise and Nissan’s truck making background to launch a number of new vehicles for the two brands that will complement each other in the market, while maintaining their own brand identity, dealer networks and servicing agreements.

The unit will be headed up by Ashwani Gupta, who has been Vice President of Renault’s Light Commercial Vehicle Division since 2014.

“The combination of Renault, Nissan and the early collaboration with Mitsubishi Motors in a single Alliance LCV business unit will boost sales and deliver greater synergies,” the Renault-Nissan Alliance Chairman and CEO Carlos Ghosn said. “With this move, we plan to expand our market leadership by accelerating our performance in current and new, high-growth markets, based on each company’s core products and market knowledge, and driven by customer needs.”

The new approach will continue to maximize cross-development and cross-manufacturing and is expected to deliver further synergies in costs and technology. Renault and Nissan have established cross-production of vans and trucks over the last several years; for example, the Nissan NV300 van is built on the Renault Trafic platform; the Nissan NV400 van is built on the Renault Master platform; and the Renault Alaskan pickup is built on the Nissan Navara platform. The new Renault-Nissan LCV business will also handle Nissan’s body-on-frame SUVs, including the Nissan Armada and Nissan Patrol.

Feature: Why truck-specific satnavs are essential for HGV operators

22 March 2017

The plethora of satellite navigation units on the market, and the sophistication of the technology, is enough to make you think that pretty much any model will get you where you need to go.

That philosophy might work if you are driving a car, but the same doesn’t apply to HGVs. Your average navigation unit doesn’t take into account the likes of height, width or weight restrictions, and reports are increasing of vehicles getting into difficulty because drivers have followed the wrong type of satnav to the letter.

Recent incidents include a truck crashing into a low bridge in Birmingham in January, causing delays to rail services, while councillors in Hapton, Lancashire, voiced concerns in February about trucks repeatedly travelling on the village’s fragile narrow roads.

One bridge in Leicestershire was reportedly hit by HGVs 11 times in 12 months, while Network Rail claimed there were more than 1,700 incidences of trucks colliding with low railway bridges during 2015 and 2016, many of which were believed to be a result of drivers using the wrong type of satnav.

The issues have become so frequent that the Local Government Association (LGA), which represents more than 370 councils in England and Wales, has called for legislation to ban lorry drivers from using satellite navigation units designed for cars.

“It is common sense that all lorry drivers should use satnavs designed for trucks, but this is only going to become a reality when it is a mandatory requirement. We are talking about a very small extra cost to drivers,” says LGA spokesperson, Councillor Martin Tett.

“Lorry drivers who get wedged in narrow roads or under bridges not only endanger themselves, other road users and pedestrians, but also cause massive disruption. This has a significant impact on local economies, particularly in rural areas.

“Councils hear these concerns and are doing everything they can to help their residents, working with communities by organising lorry watch schemes. But they are trying to take action with one hand tied behind their back and urgently need tougher powers. If a community is being plagued by problems, councils should be able to respond to their concerns by issuing fines to act as a deterrent.”

According to Chrys Rampley, Infrastructure Manager at the Road Haulage Association, UK HGVs are more likely to be involved in height-related collisions, as European vehicles don’t tend to be as tall. “Height is probably more of an issue for UK vehicles than for foreign ones, because of the four-metre height restriction in lots of countries, so most vehicles that have come through Europe will only be four metres high. It’s our vehicles that are getting higher, which is causing the problems.”

She claims that few drivers are actually issued with satellite navigation units, which adds to the quandary, “The problem is that companies aren’t issuing them to drivers, and they buy them themselves. Some companies do provide them, but lot of drivers are having to buy them.”

“According to our surveys among our product owners, a large portion of commercial vehicle drivers – including coach drivers – are buying that product from their own pocket,” adds Monica Petry, Product Marketing Manager for large vehicle personal navigation devices at TomTom, “80% don’t get any allowance from their company, so there doesn’t seem to be much incentive to buy the right unit.”

Put simply, operators and drivers need to use truck-specific navigation units to avoid being misled by satnavs designed for smaller vehicles. “If you are going to buy one, buy one that’s fit for purpose,” says Rampley. “They are normally advertised as [lorry-specific] but they are that much more expensive.”

The fundamental difference between a conventional satellite navigation unit and one designed for lorries is that the latter accounts for the vehicles’ dimensions, among other elements, and plans the route accordingly, as Willem Janssen, Senior Product Manager for consumer drive business units at TomTom explains. “From a hardware perspective, there is not too much of a difference. [The lorry-specific satnav] has a loudspeaker and a big screen, but that’s about it.

“The main difference is how the software deals with the mapping; the map on our truck product is different from what we have on our car products, in the sense that it adds vehicle-specific restrictions, so every map has a file which contains additional information to help the routing engine define whether a route is good or bad for a truck.

“You also need to fill in your truck specifics – so how tall, wide and heavy it is and if you are carrying any hazardous goods. Based on those selections, the routing engine then looks at the normal map, but also at the specific truck restriction files, to come up with a route for your specific vehicle. That map, combined with the routing feature, is something you will not find in a normal car [satnav unit], and that is what a lorry driver needs to get a route that is suitable for his vehicle or the load he is carrying.”

Janssen stresses that drivers need to make sure they enter the dimensions correctly, make sure they update the settings if they swap vehicles and that they should rely on their common sense, rather than totally depend on a satellite navigation unit.

“The key thing is that you always provide the right vehicle dimensions and the right load. If you don’t set that correctly or you switch vehicles, you can get into trouble. Plan carefully, then use a proper device which has some features to create a route according to the vehicle you are actually driving. And always keep your eye on the road; there will always be situations where a human does a better job than a computer.”

The 2017 Commercial Vehicle Show will be attended by a number of satellite navigation specialists with units designed specifically for HGVs and larger vehicles, so it’s a good opportunity to shop around for the right satnav. It takes place at Birmingham’s NEC from April 25-27.

Trailers to draw the crowds at CV Show

22 March 2017

A number of the industry’s leading semi-trailer manufacturers will be pulling out all the stops to ensure visitors to this year’s CV Show are kept in tow.

Major trailer makers, including Cartwright, Chereau, Don-Bur, Ekeri, Gray & Adams, Lawrence David, Montracon, SDC, Tiger and Transdek will be on-site, with innovations designed to save hauliers money by maximising space and improving fuel economy.

The wide variety of trailers and innovative designs, all of which help freight operators improve their efficiency, are the perfect complement to the 2017 Show, which sees the return of three major truck manufacturers. The free-to-attend event, which takes place at the NEC, Birmingham, from 25-27 April, has already attracted over 450 exhibitors and has a 10% bigger footprint than in 2016.

CV Show Director, Rob Skelton, said, “To the general public, a trailer is just a trailer. But to hauliers and fleet managers, there are many innovations in their design that allow operators to reduce their costs and improve their environmental performance, which are increasingly important in the logistics industry. The CV Show is the perfect opportunity to see some of this innovation first hand.”

Milo Cheney, of trailer maker Lawrence David, added, “The CV Show is a great networking event and launch platform for all businesses involved in the commercial vehicle industry. This year offers a great opportunity for Lawrence David to launch our completely new vehicle, along with numerous exciting new features.”

Meanwhile, Cartwright will have its biggest ever stand at the Show. The company’s Managing Director, Mark Cartwright, said, “Following the success of our stand at the CV Show last year, we have taken a decision to invest in a larger stand this year, reflecting our expanded product range designed to meet the requirements of our client portfolio across all markets.”

Tiger Trailers will be using the Show to launch its new 52-pallet moving deck trailer, which will be making its public debut in Hall 5. Sales Director, Darren Holland, said, “There has been such strong interest in the product that we’ve built a demonstrator to take pride of place on our stand at the NEC, and which we’re making available for customers to trial nationwide.”

As well as the trailers themselves, CV Show 2017 will give visitors an insight into some of the key trailer-related safety and security systems on offer, as well as associated components such as tail-lifts, loader cranes and forklifts.

To register to attend the CV Show for free, go to www.cvshow.com.

Fiat Professional to launch new flagship pick-up

22 March 2017

Fiat is set to launch a new version of its recently introduced Fullback, following a year of record registrations in the pick-up market.

The Fullback Cross was revealed at the Geneva Motor Show held earlier this month, and is set to go on sale in the UK this summer.

As well as being sold through Fiat’s fleet and CV-oriented Professional network, the Fullback Cross will also be sold in the brand’s passenger car showrooms.

It features a range of interior and exterior styling upgrades, including a new grille with matt black details, a satin silver skid plate, black details and revised larger side steps. The load bay is finished in satin black and features a sports bar over the rear canopy. It also gets leather upholstery and an upgraded sat-nav and infotainment system with DAB.

Available as a double cab, the Fullback Cross comes with a 2.4-litre common rail turbodiesel engine and develops 180bhp (133 kW) and a maximum torque of 430Nm. There are also two transmissions available: six-speed manual or five-speed automatic with sequential mode and dashboard commands.

The Fullback is equipped with an electronic selector allowing drivers to engage the all-wheel drive system, with a choice of four modes. A central differential, supported by three electronically controlled clutch modes, manage torque transmission to the wheels in real time based on road conditions and speed.

Prices will be announced closer to the model’s launch.

Reactive warning signs reduce HGV bridge strikes

22 March 2017

New colour motorway-style matrix warning signs have helped reduce HGV bridge collisions by over a third since their launch last October.

In a six-month period from January to July 2016, before the new measures were introduced, there were 11 crashes at the Thurlow Park Bridge in Tulse Hill. Since the new signs – supplied by SWARCO Traffic – were introduced, supported by Network Rail and Transport for London (TfL), there have only been seven incidents, and only one in the last four months.

At one point the bridge was being hit on average almost twice a month, causing more than 218 hours of delays to Southern and Thameslink passengers between July 2015 and July 2016.

Mark Huband, Network Rail Route Asset Manager, said, “Every time a lorry hits this bridge it causes disruption to thousands of passengers and this reduction is a step in the right direction. With a railway network as busy and complex as ours, knock-on delays can spread very quickly.”

The signs work by detecting vehicles that are too high, prompting an electronic warning to be displayed. They are installed either side of the bridge, giving ample warning for oversized vehicles. The signs use energy-efficient LEDs to make them easier to see and to give early and clear information – particularly for non-English speaking drivers.

Khurram Khan Jadoom, Senior Traffic Engineer at TfL, said the signs are multi-purpose. “Not only do they meet the demands of TfL,” he said, “but the signs are highly reliable and feedback from the general public has been extremely positive. On top of this, the signs are variable so we are able to use them for alternative purposes to provide further traffic information to road users. This is a great benefit to us.” The signs are integrated with TfL’s London Streets and Traffic Control Centre for full monitoring and control.

Mark Hickmott, Head of Projects at SWARCO Traffic said, “This is a tangible example of how intelligent systems, intelligently installed, can have a dramatic impact in improving highways efficiency and keeping people moving whether on the road or on the railway.”

New LCV Manager for Renault Trucks

22 March 2017

Renault Trucks UK Ltd has appointed Grahame Neagus as its new Head of LCV, responsible for the truck maker’s light commercial vehicle operations in the UK and Ireland.

Grahame has over 30 years’ industry experience in the truck and van industry serving in OEM roles, as well as heading-up the Lex Autolease LCV Department. He joined Renault Trucks on 1 February 2017.

Grahame takes overall responsibility for the design and implementation of the Renault Trucks’ light commercial vehicle strategy from 2.8 to 4.5 tonnes – namely the Master panel van, chassis cab and associated conversions – with a brief to grow the company’s LCV market penetration through its established UK and Irish dealer networks.

He said, “There are some new and very exciting developments coming on stream for Renault Master in 2017 and 2018, so there is a real opportunity for us to educate the market on the class-leading product and service differentials we offer because of our truck, rather than car-based, heritage.”

“Now is the time to create clear blue water between us and the current market players; my focus is to add value and to communicate the compelling reasons for purchasing Renault Master through Renault Trucks.”

SMMT calls for faster take-up of latest low emission buses to help cut London’s NOx

15 March 2017

  • NOx emissions from buses could fall by 75% in London if operators update fleets with latest low emission diesel models.
  • Switch to Euro VI could reduce London’s total NOx emissions by 7.5%.
  • Industry calls for timely closure of legal loophole that allows older technology to be bought for UK fleets.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) is calling on bus operators to take faster action on updating their fleets, as new figures show replacing London’s buses with Euro VI vehicles could cut NOx emissions produced by buses in the capital by up to 75%.

New Euro VI diesel buses meet the latest strict EU emissions standards, dramatically reducing NOx production compared with the previous Euro V standard. The latest Euro VI buses have proved they work in real world road tests and if 7,500 of the oldest buses in London were to be replaced, this could prevent up to 4,500 tonnes of NOx from entering the capital’s air. This is in addition to advanced exhaust filtering technology, which captures 99% of soot particulates.

Buses are a vital mode of transport in London with 10,000 buses transporting 2.1 billion passengers every year. However, while London has one of the cleanest bus fleets in the world, the majority of vehicles do not currently meet the latest tough EU emission standards.1 With these higher emission buses travelling some 334 million kilometres a year (68% of the total distance travelled by all London buses),2 a move from older diesels to new Euro VI models would see a drastic improvement to air quality.

It has been a legal requirement for all new heavy duty commercial and passenger vehicles in Europe to meet tough Euro VI emissions standards since 2014, with vehicles also tested on the road to ensure they meet strict levels in the real world. However, a loophole in UK regulation permits operators to continue to buy Euro V models. Manufacturers have been calling for this loophole to close, to ensure that people across the UK benefit from air quality improvements as soon as possible. This is set to happen later this year.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said,

Manufacturers have invested heavily to develop world-leading low emission diesel buses, helping reduce emissions in the UK’s towns and cities. Despite this, London’s bus fleet still produces a tenth of all NOx in the capital, so switching to Euro VI will result in significant improvements to air quality. It is vital that we get as many of these cleaner diesels on to British roads as soon as possible.

TfL bus fleet audit, January 2017
TfL bus passenger usage data, 2015/6

VW e-load up! to make UK debut at CV Show

15 March 2017

One of the smallest electric vans ever created will be making its UK debut at this year’s CV Show, which takes place next month at the NEC, Birmingham.

The VW e-load up! is based on VW’s smallest passenger car, yet despite its diminutive proportions it has a load capacity of almost 1,000 litres and a 360kg payload, making it the ideal vehicle for urban deliveries in areas where both space and emissions are restricted.

Aimed at service technicians, food delivery companies and couriers, the e-load up! has a turning circle of just 9.8m (smaller than a London Taxi) and is only 3.6m long.

The front seats of the van are separated from the cargo area by a mesh partition, with loading through the tailgate and two rear side doors, derived from those of the passenger car.

Power comes from an AC electric motor developing (the equivalent of 82hp) and 210Nm of torque, with drive to the front wheels through a single speed gearbox. The van has a range of up to 99 miles on a single charge from its lithium-ion battery pack.

The e-load up! will be sharing stand space with a much bigger electric van – the VW eCrafter, which was first shown at the Hanover IAA Commercial Vehicle show last September.

The company has said it has no immediate plans to market the smaller van in the UK, but is interested to gauge public reaction to it at the CV Show as a potential future addition to its portfolio. The eCrafter, meanwhile, is set to appear in multiple markets across Europe.