Tevva sweetens up emission free transport

12 September 2017

A truck that uses a cake ingredient as one of its key power sources will go on trial in the UK next year.

Built by Chelmsford-based Tevva motors, the truck will feature an engine that runs on a form of glycerine, along with a range-extended battery pack.

Tevva’s CEO, Asher Bennett, a former Israeli submarine commander, has received over £2m in funding from the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership to develop the technology. He believes the glycerine range-extender vehicles will be the world’s first fully zero-emission trucks.

The latest innovation will join Tevva’s existing range-extending technology for electric trucks, which use a powertrain similar to that developed for the new London Taxi, where power is supplied to the wheels via electric motors and backed up by a diesel-powered engine that removes the barriers of limited range, seen as one of the key barriers to hauliers adopting fully electric technology.

The 7.5-tonne truck is capable of travelling from London to Carlisle without the need to recharge or refuel.

Delivery company UPS has successfully trialled one of the trucks in London and has placed an order for 15 more.

Tevva is also the company behind active geofencing, an online system that detects air quality in urban areas and can automatically switch a vehicle’s powertrain between diesel and electric power depending on particulate levels. The system is currently being trialled in Leeds.

Hydrogen-powered bin truck enters service

12 September 2017

A waste disposal truck powered by a hydrogen fuel cell is to go into service in Oxford.

The bin lorry, operated by waste management company Grundon, has an ULEMCo hydrogen-diesel dual-fuel conversion and is based on a DAF chassis.

ULEMCo has previously retro-fitted a number of lorries and vans in the public sector, but this is the first private sector contract. The project also represents the first such conversion of a DAF vehicle, and signals the way towards use of hydrogen as a practical alternative to reduce emissions in a wide range of vehicle makes.

This project featured a new modular approach to conversion by ULEMCo. It deployed a 10kg hydrogen unit on the side of the lorry, and this approach will enable the company to reduce the costs of converting other vehicle types.

Grundon is an ideal customer for this technology as the company has a strategic commitment to carbon neutrality, and a practical exploration of the benefits that hydrogen – particularly when produced from waste processes – will give them within the circular economy.

“This DAF conversion represents several ‘firsts’ for hydrogen fuel, and moves ULEMCo onto the next stage of being able to convert large numbers of different vehicle types cost effectively”, said Amanda Lyne, CEO of ULEMCo.

“We are highly impressed by the potential of hydrogen dual-fuel to reduce our carbon footprint as well as reducing costs in the future”, said Grundon’s Group Logistics Manager, John Stephens. “The synergy of combining the use of hydrogen-fuelled vehicles with the potential production of hydrogen from waste treatment processes makes it especially compelling.”

Scania launches new construction range

12 September 2017

Scania is to introduce a new range of heavy duty trucks aimed at operators working in extreme environments, such as quarries, mines and construction sites.

The new XT line-up is part of Scania’s ‘Tailor Made for Applications’ business model, provide turnkey solutions for eight key construction industry applications: tipper, mixer, hook-lift, skip loader, concrete pump, mobile crane, flatbed with crane and heavy haulage.

The XT line up will be available across all of Scania’s cab variants, including the new P-Series. They get a new heavy duty bumper that extends 150mm from the front of the cab, along with raised ride height to give the trucks a greater approach and departure angle on tough terrain. The door mirrors are reinforced to make them less prone to accidental damage.

The bumper has a built-in tow hitch behind the number plate plinth, which is certified for 40 tonnes, enabling the vehicle to pull other vehicles and equipment as well as to be towed when needed, and giving it a special appeal to the recovery industry.

XT trucks include electronic braking systems, in combination with disc or drum brakes; a new 2×33 mm parabolic leaf spring suspension, flexible wheel arches and a vertical exhaust to protect it from underbody damage.

Feature: How commercial vehicles are leading the charge towards electric mobility

13 September 2017

Electric vehicles are big news at the moment, with an increased focus on reducing emissions in most of the world’s major cities.

But one thing the general public may not realise is that the CV sector is a true pioneer of the technology of tomorrow.

Indeed, plug-in vans, buses and trucks are making electric mobility an increasing reality.

The greater size, weight, running costs and the fact that they typically have longer working lives than cars, means that on a per-unit basis, zero-emissions CVs stand to make more of an environmental impact than electric cars. Industry analyst Frost & Sullivan reckons less than 5% of vehicles European roads are commercials, but they account for almost 20% of greenhouse gas emissions, so the potential savings are clear.

Vans are arguably the most established of electric CVs, not least because some companies, such as Gnewt, now operate urban delivery fleets comprised entirely of plug-in LCVs. There has been no shortage of other companies buying into electric vans this year, though; Royal Mail, UPS, North-East Lincolnshire council, defence specialist BAE Systems and home maintenance firm Fortem are but a few of the organisations that have either switched to or increased their plug-in van fleets in 2017.

There’s even more going on at the manufacturing end of things. Within the first three months of the year, the trio of French LCV manufacturers each launched new all-electric vans. Peugeot and Citroen released the Partner SE L2 and the Berlingo Electric L2 550 LX, each of which has 250mm more load length than the existing models, an additional 4m3 of cargo space and a 106-mile range.

Renault unveiled its largest electric van yet, the Master ZE, at the Brussels motor show in January. Due on sale in the coming weeks, it’s aimed primarily at last-mile distribution services, has a quoted range of 124 miles from the firm’s new battery pack. The manufacturer simultaneously revealed an updated Kangoo ZE, which, courtesy of lower weight, saw a 50% increase in range to 168 miles.

Ford announced plans for a 12-month trial of plug-in hybrid Transit Customs at the start of the year, which is due to kick-off imminently, and will see organisations such as British Gas, Addison Lee and the Metropolitan Police put the vehicles to work in Central London. The blue oval has also teamed up with DHL to produce electric delivery vehicles in Germany, while rival logistics behemoth UPS has turned its hand to developing the world’s first hydrogen-electric delivery truck, 17 of which it plans to deploy in Sacramento, California, in 2018, along with a separate series of electric trucks in London’s borough of Camden.

Electric buses are big news, too, particularly in London. Less than two months after the inauguration of Europe’s biggest electric bus fleet (routes 521 and 507 out of Waterloo), Transport for London operator Go-Ahead announced plans convert the 360 route, which runs across the south of the capital, to electric power, using vehicles supplied by EV specialist BYD and Alexander Dennis (ADL).

A further 36 BYD/ADL electric buses were given the go ahead in June, as part of a contract with operator London United; due to commence service in spring 2018, they will be based at the operator’s Shepherd’s Bush garage and run on routes C1 from Victoria to White City and route 70 from South Kensington to Chiswick. Another 23 BYD/ADL buses are destined for service on route 46 from Lancaster Gate to St Bartholomew’s Hospital from summer 2018, too.

Outside of the capital, Harrogate became the first UK town to adopt an electric bus fleet with opportunity charging (where the vehicle is charged at intervals during its route, not just at the depot) in February, using single-decker Volvo 7900E Electromobility buses, while the first electric double-decker outside of London, manufactured by Optare, went into trial service in York in August.

Further afield, the Swedish city of Värnamo will become the first in Northern Europe to have a fully electric bus fleet in autumn. In May, Eindhoven in the Netherlands saw its fleet of 43 electric VDL Citea single-deckers tot up a cumulative 1,000,000 kilometres since entering service in December 2016. Europe’s biggest single-operator fleet of electric buses (90 Volvo 7900 Electric Hybrids) is set to go into service in the neighbouring Belgian cities of Charleroi and Namur in October, while Spanish bus maker UNVI announced a partnership with BYD in April, to build open-top electric double-deckers for tourist routes.

The weight of HGVs and the distance they travel makes it less feasible to make the leap to electric. That hasn’t deterred the industry from look at visions of the future, though, when such technology could become commonplace.

Earlier this year, Mercedes-Benz unveiled the world’s first all-electric lorry. Known as the Urban eTruck, it has a gross vehicle weight of 25 tonnes and a claimed range of up to 200 miles depending on load and conditions. It has begun testing in Germany, and the manufacturer plans to expand the trial further afield.

In July, Fuso began production of the eCanter electric light delivery truck at its Tramagal plant in Portugal, while a separate production line opened at its facility in Japan to serve the Asian market a month earlier. It has a range of 100km and a load capacity of two to three tonnes, depending on the body.

Finally, on home turf, the UK’s first electric-only truck manufacturing facility opened at Banbury Cross, Oxfordshire this summer. Then known as Charge Auto, and since renamed Arrival, the firm plans to develop vehicles up to 26 tonnes, and in August, it announced that Royal Mail would begin trialling nine of its vehicles, ranging from 3.5 to 7.5 tonnes.

National Lorry Week gets underway

12 September 2017

This week sees the return of ‘National Lorry Week’, a campaign led by the Road Haulage Association (RHA) to raise awareness of the hard work that trucks and hauliers do for the UK economy.

The week got underway with a parliamentary reception at the House of Commons on Tuesday September 12, with an additional event called ‘She’s RHA’ at primary sponsor Auto Trader’s headquarters in Manchester, encouraging gender diversity in the logistics industry.

The key theme of this year’s event is ‘The Next Generation’. Statistics compiled by the RHA show that by 2022, the industry needs to recruit 1.2 million more people, including drivers, workshop technicians, warehouse operatives and management.

With trucks responsible for distributing 90% of the UK’s goods, the skills shortage is a real threat to the industry and the economy as a whole, says the RHA.

Members will be engaging with schoolchildren, students and members of the public at schools, colleges and in town centres encouraging people to ‘Love the Lorry’, with events running through until Sunday 17 September.

A full schedule of events for National Lorry Week can be found here.

DAF launches new multi-axle CF and XF trucks

12 September

DAF Trucks has introduced a new range of multi-axle variants of its new CF and XF ranges.

In line with the more conventional cabs, the new rigid trucks benefit from a fuel economy improvement of up to seven per cent, thanks to lightweight technology that has reduced the gross weight of the trucks’ chassis by 100kg, along with an electronically-assisted steering system that is 50kg lighter than in the outgoing model.

The weight savings mean that the new trucks have a higher payload than their predecessors, in addition to the improved economy.

One of the most important innovations within the New CF and New XF range is the new steered trailing axle for both tractors and rigids, which aids manoeuvrability.

The new trailing axle incorporates a newly developed Electric Hydraulic Steering (EHS) system which is 30kg lighter. Steering precision is improved because the EHS continuously calculates the optimal steering angle for the rear axle wheels on the basis of speed and wheelbase.

At speeds of over 40 km/h, the axle is locked in the straight ahead position and guarantees maximum vehicle stability. The new steered trailing axle can be fitted on 6×2 rigids and tractors as well as 8×2 rigids.

The EHS is complemented on 6×2 CF and XF trucks by a new air suspension that can be quickly lowered 90 mm and lifted 185 mm for fast and reliable loading and unloading of swap bodies.

DAF has also adapted the chassis to make it more body builder friendly. The new Body Attachment Modules (BAM) play an important role in the speedy fitting of a box body, a heavy crane, tipper or hook lift system.

The new models are available immediately.

Volvo training awards open for entries

12 September 2017

Registration has opened for Volvo Trucks’ acclaimed VISTA (Volvo International Service Training Awards), in which more than 18,000 Volvo Truck and Bus technicians from across the brand’s global dealer network compete to find the best in their field.

Even though VISTA is a competition, the main objectives are to encourage teamwork, build team spirit and pride, as well as encourage self-improvement and competence development. It is a way for service personnel to increase their knowledge and improve the quality of their work, which will lead to improved customer service and greater customer satisfaction, as well as attracting new skills to the industry by putting a global recognition programme in place.

“VISTA improves our skills and gives us the motivation to be the best crew in the world. And if our mechanics are the best in the world – they are motivated to do the best job for the customer,” said Claes Nilsson, President, Volvo Trucks.

VISTA 2017-18 is expected to attract over 18,000 service market personnel from the global dealer network, working together in around 4,500 teams.

The theme this year is ‘Performance is Everything’ – recognising that to work for Volvo Trucks and Volvo Buses, performance must be top class at all times. VISTA is also a way for Volvo Trucks to address the worldwide challenge of both recruiting and retaining workshop technicians and apprentices.

IRTE National Conference programme announced

12 September

To highlight the importance of compliance and sustainable transport, the IRTE (Institute of Road Transport Engineers) is holding its national IRTE Conference, which takes place at Chesford Grange, Kenilworth, Warwickshire on 28 September.

The event will feature a keynote speech from one of the major figures in sustainable transport, Dr Phil Greening, associate professor and director of The Centre for Sustainable Road Freight. Professor Greening will explain the engineering challenges facing operators in a freight industry that is subject to increasingly strict environmental regulations. Transport professionals attending the conference will learn how they can ensure they are making the right economic investments in new, greener equipment for their fleets.

A highlight of the conference will be a mock Public Inquiry, staged by transport law solicitors Backhouse Jones and the IRTE. Delegates will learn about the formal processes up to and including the court hearing and hear first-hand about the importance of compliance, including in terms of driver management, defect reporting and inspection and maintenance audits.

Other sessions include, Steve Carroll, head of transport at Cenex, and Brian Robinson, programme manager at the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership, debating the viability of gas trucks as a serious alternative to diesel following a massive ramp-up in biomethane and bioLPG (liquefied petroleum gas) refuelling capacity.

Delegates will also hear from chief engineer in the Engines division at Ricardo, Andrew Banks, on the technologies expected to be at the forefront of the push towards further reducing CO2 and NOx emissions following Euro 6 – including exhaust gas recirculation, down-speeding and low viscosity oils.

Representatives from FORS, Transport for London and the FTA will provide updates on the CLOCS and FORS schemes, and advice to operators on how they can remain compliant amidst recent calls for voluntary and even mandatory audits.

For more information and to register, go to: www.irte-conference.co.uk

UK new van market remains steady in August

05 September 2017

Demand for new vans remains stable in August, up 1.5% to 15,619 units.
Lighter vans weighing 2.0-2.5T see biggest increase, with registrations rising 39.9%.
Year-to-date registrations down -2.8%, and in line with market expectations.


The new light commercial vehicle (LCV) market remained steady in August, with 15,619 vans and pickups hitting British roads, according to figures released today by SMMT. Demand for new vans rose by a marginal 1.5%, representing the best August performance in 12 years.

A 39.9% uplift in smaller vans weighing 2.0-2.5T drove the growth, while the pickup segment also continued its upward trend, rising 8.0%. Demand for heavier vans, meanwhile, fell for the fifth consecutive month, with registrations for vehicles weighing 2.5-3.5T down -0.6%. Year-to-date figures painted a similar picture, with the market for pickups and smaller vans increasing, up 14.4% and 11.4% respectively, while heavier van registrations declined -4.0%.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said,

August is traditionally one of the quietest months of the year, ahead of September’s plate change, so the moderate increase in the new van market is welcome news. While year-to-date figures show demand easing, this is in line with market expectations and overall registration volumes remain at a very high level. This stabilising of the market is indicative of what we can expect for the remainder of the year.

Download the press release and data table.

DfT awards £11 million funding for low emission buses

06 September 2017

Bus operators and local authorities have been awarded a total of £11 million in funding from the Department for Transport (DfT) towards a new wave of low emission buses.

The schemes, in in Bristol, York, Brighton, Surrey, Denbighshire and Wiltshire, are to share the funding pot, which will contribute to 153 cleaner buses as part of the government’s Low Emission Bus Scheme.

These will join existing projects funded through the initiative in Birmingham, Nottingham, Sheffield and London, which were announced in July 2016.

The biggest grant under the scheme goes to South Gloucestershire Council, which was awarded £4.8 million for 110 gas buses for services around Bristol. First West of England has also begun a trial of a double-decker bio-methane bus in the city as of August 2017.

The other approved projects include £3.3 million for City of York council to use 24 electric buses on park-and-ride services in the city, on the back of a trial which began last month. Surrey County Council has been awarded £1.5 million for nine electric buses in Guildford, and Denbighshire Council has been awarded £500,000 towards four electric buses in the county.

The Big Lemon, a Brighton-based environmentally sustainable operator, is to receive £500,000 to support the roll-out of three electric buses to be used in the city, and Go South Coast will receive £500,000 for three electric buses to be used in Salisbury.

Transport Minister, Paul Maynard, said, “Low emission buses are an important part of our plans to improve air quality across the country. New greener buses will be more comfortable for passengers, they are cost efficient and are good for the environment.”

“I am pleased to announce this latest group of successful bidders, which should make a real difference to air quality in towns and cities across the country.”

The government is planning to announce a second round of the Low Emission Bus Scheme later this year.