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.

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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.”

IVECO lands major Paris biogas bus deal

09 October 2019

More than 400 Iveco Urbanway Natural Power buses will enter service in the inner and outer suburbs of the Paris metropolitan area from 2020.

The biogas-powered models will increase the number of environmentally-friendly buses operating in the region and play an active role in the renewal plan of diesel bus fleets.

The fuel, derived from recycled organic waste, offers environmental benefits. According to Iveco, the level of fine particle emissions is close to zero and NOx emissions are reduced by more than a third.

A total of 409 of the buses have been ordered in a deal announced jointly by IVECO BUS, CATP (French Public Transport Central Purchasing Office) and Ile-de-France Mobilités at the opening of the National Public Transport Exhibition, in Nantes.

It is the first time that such an order has been placed via a central purchasing office, without going through transport operators. This new procedure is aimed at standardising the equipment used in the Ile-de-France region, to ensure that passengers enjoy buses of equal quality.

FEATURE: Five minutes with Thomas Hemmerich, MAN Truck and Bus UK Managing Director

10 October 2019

Earlier this month Traton announced that its MAN, Scania and Volkswagen brands would invest a total of more than one billion euros in e-mobility by 2025. For MAN this is part of an ongoing project to develop eTrucks. In September 2016, MAN first presented the new concept eTruck, a TGS semitrailer tractor with electric drive, at the IAA Show. In 2017 MAN and the Council for Sustainable Logistics (CNL) signed a development partnership. This agreement gave the starting signal for the introduction of MAN eTrucks in medium and heavy distribution transport, with a permissible gross train weight from 18 to 32 tonnes. We talk to Thomas Hemmerich about the project and how he sees the future for electric trucks.

How did this all start?
We were approached by the Council for Sustainable Logistics, an association of haulage operators in Austria, who wanted to talk about CO2 reduction and their desire to act. We immediately decided that it would be a fantastic opportunity for the MAN brand to help shape the future: as market leader in Austria where we also have a production footprint, we viewed it as an obligation to be a part of this project.

What has been the result?
Nine MAN eTrucks have been in operation for one year specialising in urban distribution deliveries within harsh city centre environments. As you can understand Austrian winters are quite tough and everyone involved was curious about what was going to happen. The eTrucks ran like Swiss clocks and there were no major issues at all.

How important are eTrucks to the commercial vehicle landscape and what’s been the reaction from the industry?
There’s been a lot of talk around electric trucks and that has been powered by the European Union. In 2020 there will be certain CO2 limits for vans and in 2025 there will be revised limits for trucks. In order to support this it is crucial, especially in urban areas, to have significantly fewer emissions and significantly less noise. It’s a prerequisite that we need to go down this route. In the next couple of years, for the long-haul business, I personally can’t see an alternative to the highly efficient Euro 6D diesel technology, but we will have to see what the future brings. Most importantly will be the investment in the electric charging infrastructure, which without major political support will undoubtedly slow down customer acceptance. Once this is standardised throughout Europe this will help ease customers’ transition to electro mobility.

What’s the range for these eTrucks?

Between 100-150 miles: it is a spread because some of those trucks have fridge units. If there is no auxiliary power needed we have a range of 150 miles, but with a fridge for example, it’s down to roughly 100 miles. However, the experience after one year has shown that this range for the distribution in urban environments and city centres is perfectly fine.

There is a desire to get longer ranges but the big question surrounds payload and range. This is the crucial question for the long-haul business and how it can get this balance right. Scania launched a prototype trolley truck with an overhead line in order to find answers for long-haul applications but for the next five to 10 years it will be highly efficient diesel for long haul, mainly because of the range issue.

What’s next?

Because both demand and customer interest is high in 2020 we will start a small series production and deliver a second batch of MAN eTrucks to customers.

Will electric trucks look much different from conventionally powered trucks?
In theory, because there is no engine, gearbox or exhaust treatment, you can be much more flexible with the design. Under the current design the batteries are where the engine would be, so the cab is not significantly lower. That may change because there’s not much in the way of mechanical components so in essence you can consider completely different designs where you can get a lower cab for better visibility.

Any aesthetic changes?

The aim is to maximise the volume of the payload so aesthetics are not so important. At IAA 2018 and the 2019 UK CV Show we showcased a concept vehicle which demonstrated how the future could look, this created a huge amount of interest and has led to many interesting conversations with customers.

Hyundai investment accelerates autonomous driving development

09 October 2019

Hyundai CRADLE, the Korean manufacturer’s corporate venturing and open innovation business, has announced its investment is a US-based intelligent technology company in a move that will accelerate the development of autonomous driving system.

Netradyne, which specialises in fleet safety management software, has already captured and analysed over one million unique miles of the 2.7 million total miles of paved roads in the United States. This data includes numerous passes over the same roads to provide deeper insights into how driving and road different conditions may change throughout the year.

The company uses artificial intelligence (AI) vision-based dashcam devices to monitor safety performance of fleet vehicles. Netradyne’s system may also crowdsource road and driving behavior metadata.

The new agreement will see Hyundai and Netradyne collaborate to utilize the road and driving behavior data collected by Netradyne to support HD mapping and map updates for Hyundai’s development of future Level 3 + Advanced Driver Assistance Systems and Autonomous Driving features.

Hong Kong operator again turns to Alexander Dennis

09 October 2019

Hong Kong’s largest bus operator has placed a major order with Alexander Dennis for its Enviro500 three-axle double deckers.

The Kowloon Motor Bus Company (1933) Limited (KMB) has ordered 180 of the models, which are scheduled to be delivered in the first half of 2020.

KMB has ordered more than 2,200 Enviro500 buses from Alexander Dennis since the current generation model was launched in 2012.

The latest order includes 76 short-wheelbase Enviro500 with a length of 11.3 metres as well as 104 longer vehicles that will be 12.8 metres long. Offering 80 and 98 seats respectively, they will be among the first buses for Hong Kong to be fitted with three-point belts at all seats.

The new Enviro500 for KMB will be powered by low emission Euro 6 engines. Solar panels on the roof will support the energy requirements of the powerful air conditioning system as well as other auxiliary loads.

Paul Davies, Managing Director Asia Pacific for Alexander Dennis, comments: “We are delighted that to deliver its world class passenger service, KMB continues to place its confidence in Alexander Dennis vehicles and support with this latest order for 180 double deck buses. Designed and built with our unrivalled expertise in double deck buses, our Enviro500 will excel in challenging topography and climate on some of the most arduous duty cycles in the world.”

Yodel expands delivery range abroad

09 October 2019

Yodel, the independent UK parcel carrier, has partnered with specialist freight forwarder DG International to launch a streamlined global outbound service to UK retailers.

The new Yodel International service has been developed to provide a fast and efficient home delivery solution to over 200 countries and territories for parcels up to 30kg.

The move follows steady growth in cross border sales in recent years, which Yodel attributes in part to improved consumer confidence and an increase in reliable internet connections.

Duncan Lee, Yodel’s director of international business development, commented, “Global internet penetration is increasing and our new International service has been designed to enable retailers to open their online stores up to emerging markets that they possibly hadn’t considered before, as well as those already established.”

James Appleby, managing director of DG International, added, “We are delighted to work in partnership with Yodel. With the spread of internet technology, the opportunities for retailers to enter new territories such as Israel and Saudi Arabia and offer customers a truly end to end service are really exciting. Cross-border distribution capability is a crucial component for UK e-commerce businesses, with consumers around the world expecting the same level of service as those based locally.”

Fencing company upgrades fleet with MAN

09 October 2019

A leading UK manufacturer, supplier and installer of temporary fencing, site hoardings, barriers and traffic management systems, has taken delivery of a new fleet of MAN commercial vehicles.

Liverpool-based Blok ‘N’ Mesh ordered 26 new 7.5 and 18-tonne vehicles, comprising six MAN TGL 8.190 4×2 Flatbeds and 20 MAN TGM 18.250 4×2 Flatbeds.

The 18-tonne TGM’s all feature chassis mounted Hiab X-HiDuo 158 Cranes.

All 26 vehicles are equipped with the latest MAN Fleet Management Telematics systems allowing Blok ‘N’ Mesh to monitor a range of functions, including detailed driver reports, vehicle track and trace and vehicle fitness checks.

Bodied by Brit-Tipp of Warrington, the entire fleet meets the FORS (Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme) Compliance Silver Standard.

Chris Maclean, Transport Logistics Director at Blok ‘N’ Mesh, said, “This fleet is entering our business at an exciting time and as we grow our national and international footprint they will work delivering a range of Blok ‘N’ Mesh products on to our customer’s sites.

“Early feedback, in terms of efficiency, support and driver comfort, is extremely positive.”

Geo-fencing tech makes Go-Ahead’s new buses greener

02 October 2019

The Go-Ahead Group is introducing a new generation of electric buses to Brighton and Hove, utilising geo-fencing technology enabling buses to switch into zero-emissions mode in the area’s Ultra-Low Emissions Zone.

The company will introduce 30 of the new buses to its fleet in the area as part of a £10 million investment in greener transport.

The buses are fully electric, driven by an electric motor at all times, but feature a small built-in Euro 6 diesel generator which can be used to recharge the battery.

The ability to use a generator outside of the ULEZ area means the buses can cover longer distances and manage steeper gradients than a traditional electric bus. It also eliminates the city’s need to invest in expensive charging infrastructure.

The unique geo-fencing system will automatically deactivate the generator and ensure the bus switches to zero emissions mode when entering the Ultra-Low Emission Zone.

Almost 98% of bus movements in Brighton pass through the zone.

Hyundai announces new hydrogen fuel cell truck

02 October 2019

Hyundai has revealed details of its next-generation Hyundai H2 XCIENT fuel cell electric truck.

The reveal came as the company and its partners launched a joint venture to build a green hydrogen ecosystem complete with refuelling infrastructure across Europe.

The move is part of Hyundai’s ambitions to establish a major presence in the fuel cell electric commercial vehicle market.

The Hyundai H2 XCIENT Fuel Cell truck has been developed according to European regulations.

It features a new 190 kW hydrogen fuel cell system with two 95 kW fuel cell stacks connected in parallel and delivers a single-fuelling travel range of around 400 km. It carries seven large hydrogen tanks with the storage capacity of almost 35kg of hydrogen.