Volvo begins production of first electric truck

19 April 2018

Volvo has confirmed that sales and series production of its first all-electric truck, the Volvo FL Electric, will begin next year. The first trucks from the range are now beginning operations in Gothenburg.

The truck is designed for urban distribution, refuse collection and other applications with a GVW of 16 tonnes. It is powered by a 185kW electric motor and up to six lithium-ion batteries, which can give a range of up to 300km (186 miles). Recharging can take 10 hours on a standard charger, with a fast charge completed in approximately 2 hours or less.

“We’re immensely proud to present the first in a range of fully electrically-powered Volvo trucks ready for regular traffic. With this model we are making it possible for cities that aim for sustainable urban development to benefit from the advantages of electrified truck transports,” says Claes Nilsson, President Volvo Trucks.

“In order to make the transition secure and smooth, we will offer holistic solutions based on each customer’s individual needs regarding driving cycles, load capacity, uptime, range and other parameters. Such a solution may encompass everything from route analysis and battery optimisation to servicing and financing. Volvo Trucks works closely with several suppliers of charging equipment. The aim as always is to offer customers high uptime and productivity,” says Jonas Odermalm, head of product strategy Volvo FL and Volvo FE at Volvo Trucks.

Manchester Mayor sets out green proposals

19 April 2018

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, has outlined a number of proposals as part of an ambition to make the city carbon neutral by 2040, including an emissions-free bus fleet and doubling the number of electric vehicle charging points.

Speaking ahead of the inaugural Green Summit in Manchester, Mayor Burnham set out the vision of the city reducing its emissions ahead of the UK target of 80-90 percent of 1990 levels by 2050, saying, “A carbon-neutral city-region needn’t be some far-off ambition, the reality is that we can’t afford to wait; climate change is happening now. A green future is there for the taking if we just take that first step to go for it. For Greater Manchester, today is that first big step. Greater Manchester has never been afraid to be a pioneer – and today’s Green Summit presents us with a fantastic opportunity to be bold in our ambitions and become a UK and European Leader. The sooner we start making these changes and take that leap, the sooner we can start to see the rewards – cheaper running costs for our transport fleets, a healthier population, and a thriving green economy on our doorstep. Greater Manchester is going to lead the way for others as we move towards a cleaner, greener future.”

Proposals discussed at the summit included moving to an emissions-free bus fleet and consider speeding up the process by using new bus powers available to Mayors; and establishing a new public-sector-led commercial model for the electric vehicle charging network in 2018 in order to double the current capacity.

Renault supplies new tag axles to forestry haulier

19 April 2018

Renault Trucks UK has supplied two new Range T520 tag axle tractors to Dumfriesshire-based forestry haulier WD & A Haley.

The trucks have already been put into service, tackling the challenge of pulling up to 29 tonnes of logs from the remote location of Beattock summit to the north of Lockerbie. The top-specification T520s are fitted with a 13-litre engine offering a maximum of 2550Nm of torque, Renault’s Optidriver automated gearbox and Alcoa Dura-Bright aluminium wheels. A five-year repair and maintenance contract was also supplied, and the T520s are pulling skeleton trailers with timber bolsters designed specifically for the logging industry.

WD & A Haley owner, Antony Haley commented, “Forestry work is tough, the landscape is awash with steep embankments and we needed something with plenty of grip and power. The T520s give us this by the ‘bucket-load’, coping skilfully with all types of terrain – they just keep going! The tag axle is good for tight corners too and, importantly, gives us the traction on the hills and on difficult land.”

The Range Ts are also equipped with a Bigfoot Tyre Deflation system which allows drivers to control the air pressure in each tyre from the driving seat, giving extra traction in challenging conditions and reducing damage to forestry roads.

Feature: All systems go for the 2018 Commercial Vehicle Show

19 April 2018

In just a few days the doors of the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) in Birmingham will open on the biggest and most important commercial vehicle event of the year, as the CV Show returns for 2018.

The exhibition space is full with the biggest names from across the commercial vehicle spectrum. From truck, van and trailer manufacturers, to fork lift trucks, insurers, tyre companies, telematics, training providers and fuels and lubricants suppliers, the CV Show is the premier destination and one-stop-shop for everyone involved in the CV world.

In 2017, the CV Show exceeded 20,000 visitors once again, and this year’s event retains the larger floorplan to accommodate the rising numbers of exhibitors. Visitors can view all the latest details including the floorplan, exhibitor and product locator listed under the ‘For Visitors’ tab at

Some of the biggest names in the world’s van and LCV industry will be among the major stars of this year’s show, including the UK’s LCV market leader Ford and the second-most prolific CV brand, Volkswagen. They will be joined by Citroën, Fiat Professional, Isuzu, Iveco, LDV, MAN, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Peugeot, Renault, SsangYong and Toyota.

While most of the manufacturers are remaining tight-lipped about new developments, there will be a number of new model launches at the three-day event. There will be a wealth of new products seen for the first time, as the show provides a shop window for many of the UK’s top converters and bodybuilders, who supply anything from lighting and racking systems through to bespoke vehicle bodies.

CV Show Director, Rob Skelton, said: “One of the great things about this show is that it clearly demonstrates the diversity and adaptability of the UK’s LCV sector. Not only do we have key manufacturers offering British customers some of the best vans and light trucks in the world, but we also have UK-based convertors and specialists who are able to transform those vehicles into bespoke products that are built for very specific purposes, in turn creating jobs and providing vital revenue to the UK economy.”

Following its hugely popular debut last year, the CV Show Innovation Hub is making a return to highlight the commercial vehicle sector’s leadership in new technology.

Hosted by leading road freight magazine, Motor Transport, the Innovation Hub will run continuous sessions each day with a line-up of leading inspirational speakers and industry experts. This free-to-attend forum is designed specifically for show visitors and their businesses to prepare for the years ahead.

Experts from the DVSA, TRL, Autogas, the World Economic Forum, Skills for Logistics and FreightShare Lab, are just some of the speakers lined up throughout the show.

Andy Salter, managing director of Motor Transport is looking forward to guiding the speakers and delegates through the activities: “There is so much innovation going on in the market, it makes the Innovation Hub a really exciting initiative,” explained Andy. “We’ve built a programme with some great speakers who will be talking on a range of topics: Truck platooning, autonomous vehicles, truck technology, alternative fuels, collaboration, blockchain. It’s going to be a great three days”.

The Workshop Zone in Hall 4 will be the shop window into a massive range of products covering everything needed to keep vehicles running at maximum efficiency; from Original Equipment (OE) components and replacement parts, to maintenance management systems, garage, workshop and bodyshop equipment.

For those transporting temperature-controlled goods, the Cool Zone in hall 3A is an essential visit. A huge range of refrigerated vehicles and bodywork, side by side with the latest fridge units, monitoring equipment and other products specific to cold chain operations will be on display.

Among the advanced technologies appearing at the show will be the latest in driver safety and assistance systems, cloud-based vehicle management software, and innovative production techniques that reduce waste, improve quality and increase efficiency.

CV Show Director, Rob Skelton, said: “The theme of technology is at the forefront of the commercial vehicle industry, and the show is a great platform to show that. That’s supported by the Innovation Hub, which we introduced to the show last year. We have a lot planned for it this year; a seminar theatre where we address emerging technologies that are happening in the industry, which is through expert speakers and audience participation. It’s a new element to the show and it worked well last year; we think it’s going to be even more popular at the 2018 show. It’s another reason for attending as a visitor because you can see all the exhibitors, but you might actually learn something that prepares your business for the future. To get the most from the event and all the latest information we encourage visitors to register now for a free entry pass, ensuring they receive important updates in the run-up to the event.”

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “This year’s event is set to reflect the huge amount of innovation taking place in the road transport industry, all geared to help operators get the most out of their fleets and deliver the safest, most efficient and value for money services. From the latest advanced low emission vehicles and driver assistance systems to aftermarket products and logistics software solutions, the cutting-edge tech on display will re-affirm the CV Show’s place at the heart of our industry.”

Shell to send ‘flat-pack’ truck to India

19 April 2018

Shell has announced it will send a pre-production prototype of the OX flat-pack truck to India, showcasing the vehicle’s ability to bring low-cost all-terrain mobility to rural communities in developing countries.

The ‘OX to India’ mission is a joint venture between Shell and Gordon Murray Design (GMD), working in collaboration with the Global Vehicle Trust, with funding from Shell for an outreach programme. A re-engineered version of the vehicle will be completed by GMD for shipment to India in late 2018.

The OX is configured to carry a payload of 1,900kg and seat up to 13 people, and was designed to be lightweight and durable as well as cheap to maintain. It can be supplied fully-assembled or flat-packed for easy transportation and self-assembly, and the OX to India vehicle will run exclusively on Shell fluids including Shell Rimula, a high-performance diesel engine oil designed for demanding conditions.

“Shell is eager to play a role alongside others in developing and promoting mobility solutions in developing regions. The OX to India demonstration will see the concept validated and discussed on the ground in a real world setting. We know limited mobility in hard-to-reach communities in developing economies can restrict access to basic services, and can limit the effectiveness of efforts to improve the quality of life. The OX has the potential to broaden access to transport possibilities and all the resulting benefits that come with this,” said Huibert Vigeveno, Executive Vice President, Shell Global Commercial.

Howard Tenens takes on Tiger Trailer double deckers

19 April 2018

Third-party logistics provider Howard Tenens has taken delivery of three double-deck longer semi-trailers from Tiger Trailers.

The 15.6m step frame double deck trailers were developed by Tiger Trailers in conjunction with Howard Tenens and client Toolstation to meet the specific needs of the tool and accessory supplier. The bespoke design includes a three-quarter length hydraulic moving deck and a fixed deck over the step frame designed specifically to house plastic piping and other abnormal loads. The long semi-trailers can accommodate 87 cages, with 38 on each deck and an additional 11 on the neck of the trailer.

Richard Philpotts, National Fleet and Compliance Manager at Howard Tenens, says: “Two years ago we commissioned a standard double deck trailer from Tiger to trial in Toolstation’s fleet. The improvements in efficiency were notable, but since then the company has gone from strength to strength and the additional capacity of the LSTs became increasingly appealing. We knew the spec had to be perfect to get the full benefit of the 15.6m length, and following a detailed design consultation, Tiger worked relentlessly to find the perfect double deck solution. These new trailers are proving really versatile – combining the ability to carry a diverse payload, with an increased number of cages.”

Pentalver takes on new Mercedes-Benz fleet

19 April 2018

Container specialists Pentalver have invested in a new fleet of 26 Mercedes-Benz tractor units.

The Actros 2545 models are all fitted with GigaSpace cabs and Mercedes-Benz’s Active Brake Assist 4 technology, and have already begun working from the Port of Southampton.

The Active Brake Assist 4 system uses multi-mode radar to detect moving and stationary objects, sounding an audible warning if it senses a potential collision. Replacing a previous fleet of Actros in service since 2013, the new vehicles were chosen for their high level of safety features, a decision driven by new owners, after being acquired by US-based Genesee & Wyoming Inc. in 2017.

Shaun Allen, Pentalver’s Chief Operating Officer, explained, “We had high safety standards previously, but the new owner has raised the bar by another substantial notch. Safety is a cornerstone of the Genesee & Wyoming business and its culture now informs every decision we take at Pentalver.”

Inspected and serviced by Marshall Truck & Van in Southampton, Pentalver already has Silver accreditation by the Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme but will be going for Gold.

Tyre switch brings cost savings for Ashcourt Group

19 April 2018

Ashcourt Group, the Hull-based transport and haulage operator, has developed a tyre-management strategy with Continental Tyres and local dealer Adams Tyres, that has reduced running costs by an estimated 20 percent.

The Group operates a fleet of 79 vehicles including heavy-duty tipper wagons, hook loaders, tankers, concrete mixers, skip loaders and low loaders for specialist heavy haulage moves. All vehicles have been fitted with Continental Tyres’ Construction range, aside from Conti HSC1 tyres on the steer axle, a decision taken by Transport Manager Ian Donkin. “On our on/off road fleet, we know we are going to be operating on a wide range of surfaces, from the quite rough to the really extreme. The maximum impact of these conditions always falls on the drive axles, so we anticipate the greatest wear and potential for punctures on those, even with Conti tyres in place. For that reason, I decided to go with the ContiRe retread products.”

A major part of the success of the Ashcourt Group tyre management strategy has been Adams Tyres, the local Continental dealer. “I have known Jonathan Adams for many years,” said Ian Donkin, “and he and his team deliver a first-class service. In addition to our normal daily drivers’ checks on tyres, the Adams team come in every Saturday afternoon when the fleet is back in the yard and run a full check for uneven wear, damage and any other problems. This is a key element of the safety aspect of our tyre selection. We need to be fully compliant to ensure we meet our O Licence demands, but we also recognise our broader social responsibilities to our staff and the wider public. Good tyres in good condition are a vital part of that.”

Volumetric mixers to be brought in line with HGV regulations

12 April 2018

The government has made a further announcement to clarify the regulation of volumetric concrete mixers, which will fall in line with other HGVs beginning in September 2018.

The existing legislation means that volumetric operators and drivers require no Operator Licence, no application of drivers’ hours or working time rules. According to the Mineral Products Association (MPA), four-axle volumetrics have been loaded in excess of 40 tonnes compared to the legal limit of 32 tonnes for HGVs.

Under the new legislation volumetric operators will require Operator licences, drivers will have to abide by EU drivers’ hours and working time rules and volumetric concrete mixers will be subject to HGV testing requirements. Existing volumetrics will be able to operate under a temporary regime until March 2028 at the latest.

MPA Executive Director Jerry McLaughlin commented “It is very positive that Transport Minister Jesse Norman MP and officials are now taking action which will bring the regulation of volumetric concrete mixers in line with other HGVs. The Minister’s decisions are a victory for road safety and common sense”

Volvo Trucks first LNG vehicles reach UK

12 April 2018

Volvo Trucks has begun shipping its new LNG-powered vehicle to the UK, using Calor’s facility at Donington Park for its first refuel.

The Volvo FH LNG uses a gas-powered engine based on existing diesel technology, and while running on LNG the 460hp unit can deliver 20 percent less CO2 than the equivalent diesel FH truck.

The Donington Park refuelling station is one of seven operated by Calor in the UK, and is conveniently accessed by the public and businesses alike from the M1 motorway.

Martin Tomlinson, Head of Product Demonstration – UK & Ireland at Volvo Group Trucks, explained, “The development of our new FH LNG truck is the result of our commitment to transportation that is sustainable in the long term, through energy-efficient, competitive and future-proof solutions with a low climate and environmental impact.

“Ensuring that the necessary infrastructure is in place to support the uptake of LNG is absolutely critical, which is why Calor’s investment in its LNG refuelling network across the UK is so important.”

Mark Gilks, Transport Specialist at Calor, added, “The benefits of LNG for HGVs are clear. With leading truck manufacturers predicting that natural gas-powered vehicles could account for 20 per cent of HGVs sold by the early 2020s, the future opportunities for LNG are really exciting.

“For long-haul HGVs, LNG is a low carbon, competitively-priced fuel solution with good availability. Our publicly accessible LNG refuelling network is the largest in the UK. As well as Donington, we operate stations in Lockerbie, Castleford in West Yorkshire, Lymm in Warrington, Grantham, Wolverhampton and Bristol. With plans to expand this network further already underway, we are committed to helping the industry towards a more sustainable future.