HGV market falls in Q3 as new regulation hits registrations

15 November 2019

  • UK new heavy goods vehicle registrations decline -13.1% in Q3 as market rebalances following regulatory changes.
  • Demand for rigid and artic trucks fall, down -20.5% and -3.4% respectively.
  • Tractors remain most popular body type, although registrations fall -4.7%.
  • Year-to-date registrations up 18.8% with total 36,021 units registered.

The UK new heavy goods vehicle (HGV) market declined -13.1% in Q3 2019, according to figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). 8,557 heavy trucks were registered between July and September, a result of regulatory changes that saw operators pull purchases forward into the first half of the year.

Registrations of rigid trucks declined by a fifth (20.5%) in the third quarter, with a -28.5% decrease in the >6-16T segment and a -15.7% decline in the >16T segment.

Meanwhile, demand for artic vehicles also fell, by -3.4% to 4,100 units. Tractors remained the most popular vehicle, despite a -4.7% drop in demand, accounting for almost half of the market. All other body types experienced declines, with curtain sided trucks experiencing the biggest percentage fall, down -28.0%.

Despite the fall in the quarter, the new HGV market remains strong in the year to date, with registrations in the first nine months up 18.8% year-on-year to 36,021. Both rigid truck and articulated vehicle registrations show growth, up 16.2% and 22.4% respectively.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said,

Given the rush to register new trucks before the introduction of new regulations in June, the slowdown in quarter three was anticipated, and we expect to see the market to continue to rebalance in final part of the year.

To curtail further losses, however, and to get more of these high-tech low emission vehicles on our roads, we need the right conditions to give operators confidence to continue to invest in their fleets.

Notes to Editors

From January 2019 SMMT offers an enhanced MVRIS data service to its members. SMMT will continue to publish data on a quarterly basis, enabling us to better reflect the long-term trends in these low volume markets and offer clearer insight and analysis. To ensure the most accurate data is published, 2019 HGV figures compare SMMT MVRIS data with DVLA data for 2018.

FEATURE: Virtual reality helping to shape the commercial vehicles of tomorrow

20 November 2019

The commercial vehicle sector is privy to a lot of new technology and innovation, fundamentally affecting the way commercial vehicles are designed and developed. This week TNB caught up with Carsten Astheimer, Managing Director of British automotive design studio ASTHEIMER, to learn how virtual reality is being used to shape the trucks and vans of the future.

Visitors to Freight in the City earlier this month could hardly fail to miss the presence of exciting new EV truck brand Volta.

The company’s founder and CEO, Carl-Magnus Norden, spoke on the main stage which was heavily Volta-branded, but one thing stood out about the truck brand’s presence at the show… it had no truck on display.

That’s because its first vehicle – a model that has already generated much excitement and in the industry and publicity in the media – is still very much in development.

So, in the absence of a physical truck, delegates were invited to experience Volta and the innovative approach it’s taking in virtual reality (VR).

By donning a VR headset and holding connected controllers, they were given a driver’s-eye view from inside the revolutionary cockpit of a Volta truck, experiencing first-hand what it would be like to take the model for a ‘drive’.

The virtual reality technology on display at the show has been, and continues to be, crucial to the development of the new truck, and while the experts at Prodrive are working on the engineering and construction of a finished, working prototype for real-world testing, much of the work involved in bringing the project to life so far, has taken place in virtual reality at ASTHEIMER’s Warwick studio.

“VR offers us the opportunity to review the vehicle in real scale to fully understand the proportions, the ergonomics and packaging requirements of the vehicle,” explains Carsten, “but that’s just one part of the modern design process.”

One of Volta’s USPs is its reimagining of the conventional truck, which positions the driver low down in a central, single-seat cab and benefiting from the improved visibility this gives – an objective in-line with the principles behind the Direct Vision Standard – VR has been instrumental in developing the driver experience.

Carsten added, “Our design process starts by focusing on the user of the vehicle in a human-centric approach to design, understanding their needs and desires, their pain points, focusing on how we can make the product better, including aesthetics, ergonomics, features and functions. We analyse carefully the competition, the manufacturing process and technologies we can use to minimise part count and using the most sustainable materials.

“Once we have a clear scope or brief for the project we start the creative phase with 2D visuals, which express the values of the brand. We move quickly into 3D virtual models using various 3D modelling software which we review daily in Virtual Reality.”

Having trialled the vehicle in virtual reality, it’s then time to move to a more physical, real-world form. Here too, technology, including the likes of 3D printing plays a massive part.

Carsten continued, “Once a direction has been chosen we move into a physical 3D mock-up, using milled parts, to accurately assess the ergonomics, sight lines and overall proportions, and we will review this physical model with VR, to get a photorealistic image of the vehicle for final validation.

“From here we can move directly into the prototyping phase, making one-off parts with various rapid prototyping techniques, 3D printing, milling and one-off moulding.

“This process cuts out the lengthy traditional clay modelling phases in quarter scale and one-to-one scale. It’s achievable thanks to these new technologies and to the experience of our designers and modellers.”

But with so much technology already involved in vehicle design, how does Carsten see the process developing moving forward?

“The future of technology will continue to streamline the process with interactive VR and AR hardware and software,” added Carsten. “Designers of the future will design directly in virtual 3D, and will be able to interact with engineers, software developers, in real time around the world. This could further reduce design cycle times and give the designer more freedom to create, but we must always remember that these technologies are only tools and do not substitute good experienced designers.”

As this process of streamlining design and prototype development becomes more sophisticated, rapid and seamless, it cannot fail to benefit the industry as a whole.

Hyundai completes truck platooning trial

20 November 2019

Hyundai has successfully completed its first truck platooning trial.

The trial on South Korea’s Yeoju Smart Highway – a 7km testbed for the development of autonomous driving technology – involved two Xcient trucks and trailers.

Yeoju Smart Highway is constantly populated by vehicles and is designed to replicate real-world conditions.

During its trial, Hyundai successfully demonstrated not only platooning, cut-in/out by other vehicles, simultaneous emergency braking, and V2V (Vehicle to Vehicle) communication tech. The speed limit was set at 60km/h to ensure safety.

Jihan Ryu, head of Hyundai Motor’s Commercial Vehicle Electronics Control Engineering Group, said, “We are confident that our industry-leading autonomous driving technology in commercial vehicles showcased in this platooning truck demonstration will lead into a revolutionary paradigm shift in the freight and logistics industry.

“We will strive to create constructive synergy by sharing our knowhow and experiences of developing autonomous driving technology between commercial vehicle and passenger vehicle sectors to expedite level-5 autonomous driving technology.”

Ryder supplies new DAF fleet to Elis

20 November 2019

Ryder, the commercial vehicle rental, contract hire and maintenance specialist, is supplying 162 new DAF vehicles to international textile, hygiene and facilities services specialist Elis.

Replacing a fleet of outgoing models, the new trucks will for the most part carry out laundry delivery operations across 38 Elis sites nationwide.

The new batch of rigid trucks includes latest specification 18t DAF CF230s, 15t DAF LF230s, 12t DAF LF180s and 7.5t DAF LF150s.

Ryder was selected for the new contract following a detailed benchmarking exercise and consultation on Elis’ projected fleet and commercial requirements. The vehicles are being supplied on a full contract hire basis with full maintenance, including tail-lift.

Shaun Stephenson, Ryder Director of Engineering, said, “Our long-standing relationship and operational experience with Elis enables us to understand in detail their commercial transport requirements. Elis’ vehicles operate in an extremely demanding environment and our Account Management team and Engineers have worked closely with Elis, and managed the supply chain, including the bodybuilders and specialist equipment suppliers, to ensure that we provide the right vehicles and specialised adaptations, service backup, and commercial terms to fully meet their operational demands.

“We look forward to continuing to support Elis’ transportation needs and the further growth of their business.”

The new vehicles are being phased into the Elis fleet with the final vehicles being supplied in 2020.

Awards celebrate van excellence

20 November 2019

The Freight Transport Association’s annual Van Excellence Awards have once again recognised the nation’s best van operators and drivers.

Presented at a ceremony in Birmingham, the awards celebrate the businesses and individuals who have made a significant contribution to the industry and are setting a high standard for others to follow.

Kevin Green, Director of Marketing and Communications at FTA, which administers the Van Excellence scheme, said, “As the vans market continues to grow rapidly – there are now more than 4.3 million of them on Britain’s roads – it is important we recognise the van drivers and operators consistently leading the way in excellence.

“Vans play a vital and varied role in the UK economy, from a means to deliver a consumer’s online shopping to transporting a tradesman’s tools. And the role of van drivers and operators is equally diverse: community consideration, employee welfare and use of technology all form part of their day-to-day responsibilities. Yet too often their contribution to society is undervalued; these awards are an opportunity to finally change that.

“All the winners and highly commended entrants have proven they truly are the best of the best in their respective fields; I would like to extend my congratulations to them all.”

The full list of winners is as follows:

Van Excellence Champion of the Year

Winner: Rachel Bullen, Fleet Operations Manager, Cadent Gas

Putting Drivers First, sponsored by Brigade Electronics

Winner: Auto Electrical Services (AES)
Highly commended: McGinley Support Services

Using Technology for Good, sponsored by Hertz

Winner: Cadent Gas
Highly commended: Auto Electrical Services (AES)

Keeping your Show on the Road, sponsored by The AA

Winner: Murphy Plant Limited
Highly Commended: Reflex Vehicle Hire

Making a Difference, sponsored by Lex Autolease

Winner: Reflex Vehicle Hire

Helping the Community, sponsored by Quartix

Winner: McGinley Support Services
Highly Commended: Reflex Vehicle Hire

Winning at Wellbeing, sponsored by Bott

Winner: Auto Electrical Services (AES)

Hero of the Year, sponsored by Mercedes-Benz Vans

Winner: Kevin Marriott, Sainsburys Supermarkets Ltd
Highly Commended: Andrew Robbins, BT Fleet

Bus makers join forces to accelerate electrification

20 November 2019

Two major players in the bus market have signed a commercial agreement that will see the integration and expansion of their electric bus ranges.

Italian manufacturer Rampini and Portuguese counterpart CaetanoBus reached the agreement as part of a commercial repositioning strategy.

Currently, the companies rebadge each others’ models for sale in their own markets. By extending this arrangement they hope to be ‘in a better position to support cities in the transition to cleaner mobility solutions’.

Fabio Magnoni, General Manager of Rampini, said, “This will allow Rampini to provide an increasingly wide range of innovative and sustainable solutions in response to the growing environmental awareness that meets the goals of the decarbonisation, decentralisation and digitalisation enshrined in the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. Electric mobility plays a crucial role in the transport landscape of the new millennium.”

Jorge V. Pinto, CEO of CaetanoBus, added, “We are confident that this will also increase competitiveness of electric vehicles in the European market, accelerating the change to zero emissions mobility. This collaboration is a further proof of how we can cooperate and work together to affect meaningful change for the benefit of the general public.”

BYD celebrates huge EV deals

20 November 2019

Chinese manufacturer BYD has been celebrating two of the biggest ever electric bus deals.

The first deal will see the company supply 379 pure electric buses to TransMilenio SA – the mass transit authority in Bogotá, Columbia.

The new fleet will be in operation from September 2020 and will, it is claimed, be the largest single fleet of electric buses in South America.

In a separate deal, the Los Angeles Department of Transportation has ordered 130 of BYD’s battery-electric K7M buses – the largest single order of battery-electric buses to date in the United States.

The order fits perfectly with the City of Los Angeles’ “Green New Deal,” a set of sustainability goals that includes converting the entire LADOT fleet to zero-emission buses by 2030. The City of Los Angeles has set a bold goal of converting every city vehicle to zero-emission technology by 2050.

It is estimated the 130 buses will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 8,225 metric tons per year and by 98,700 metric tons over the buses’ 12-year life, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 81% compared to LADOT’s compressed natural gas buses.

Nearly £500m awarded to help improve construction freight movement in congested urban areas

13 November 2019

Innovate UK has awarded a major contract for the development of a new Freight Traffic Control (FTC) platform to help manage construction freight movements and deliveries in congested urban areas.

The £485,000 contract was awarded to North East-based Grid Smarter Cities which will work with partners Croydon Council and EB Charging to develop and pilot an ‘alpha’ product in a live construction development in Croydon borough from March 2020.

The project will explore the potential of vehicle telematics, 3D mapping and Electric Vehicles on the future of construction logistic operations.

The end goal will be to develop a solution, building on Grid Smarter Cities’ award-winning ‘Kerb’ system, that will improve ease of movement for commercial operators when heading into and around the construction site, whilst reducing congestion and the environmental impact of HGVs.

Neil Herron, CEO and Founder of Grid Smarter Cities, said, “The Kerb FTC Project represents a great opportunity to showcase how practical innovation can deliver real impacts and we are excited to be working with the Croydon Council who are a trailblazing local authority intent on leading the way.

“Improving air quality is a key issue for society to address, and we are intent on being able to deliver technology that offers simple, easy to adopt process improvements to assist in construction freight logistics and the wider transport sectors.”

Councillor Stuart King, cabinet lead for environment and transport at Croydon Council, said, “This is an innovative project that will help us to monitor, manage and regulate HGV journeys across Croydon. This will help us try and make sure deliveries arrive not only in a timely manner but even more importantly that the journeys are as safe and green as possible.”

Karla Jakeman, Innovation Lead for Connected Transport & Communications at Innovate UK, added, “This project is a great example of how an SME can work with local authorities to solve real life issues around freight. This can provide a blueprint which can transferred to other local authorities around the UK. The potential spinoffs from this project are particularly exciting.”

Volvo Trucks begins EV sales

13 November 2019

Sales of Volvo Trucks’ new electric FL and FE models have started in selected markets across Europe.

Designed to meet increasing demand for sustainable transport solutions in city environments, the new trucks will initially be sold in Sweden, Norway, Germany, Switzerland, France and the Netherlands.

But plans are also in place to roll-out into the UK and Ireland at a later date, still to be confirmed.

Jonas Odermalm, VP Product Line Electromobility at Volvo Trucks, said, “Global urbanisation requires urban logistics and truck transport with zero emissions and less noise with increasing urgency.

“With the Volvo FL Electric and Volvo FE Electric we are able to meet both the strong environmental demands as well as the high commercial requirements of our customers.”

The Volvo FL Electric and Volvo FE Electric were developed in close collaboration with selected customers operating in Gothenburg, Sweden.

According to the brand, the feedback from drivers has been overwhelmingly positive.

Production of the series is planned for March 2020.

FEATURE: Five minutes with David Thackray, Sales and Marketing Director, Tevva

13 November 2019

British e-truck and EV technology pioneer Tevva has launched an innovative vehicle hire programme designed to help those fleets ready to take the next step towards electrification. Known as ELECTRIFY, the scheme will see Tevva deploy up to 50 12-tonne trucks across the UK and Europe over the next two years. Businesses would then be able to rent electric trucks for three to six months. This will give fleets all the real-world data they need to inform future purchases. TNB caught up with the company’s Sales and Marketing Director, David Thackray, to find out what the company hopes to achieve.

Tell us the background to ELECTRIFY. How did it come about?

We knew that as we progressed through 2019 into 2020, we were going to have a relatively mature technology platform but a challenge in terms of how quickly we could get scaled up.

We expect to produce in the order of 100-150 vehicles next year, but at least 1,000 in 2021 and double that in 2022 and double again in 2023.

But all that takes time – time to build capacity, time to recruit, time to enable your inbound supply chain etc.

So we knew there was going to be a time delay in terms of how long it would take to get to real scale and we wanted to be able to ensure that when that scale was ready to deploy, we had a customer base that was ready to order in quantity.

What are the other benefits to the programme?

Well, for our part it enables us to connect with a much larger volume of customers than we might otherwise do with the product and quantity that we have available.

At the same time though, it enables those customers to get a deeper understanding of what they can use, how they can use it, where they can use it and actually, what detailed specs they’re going to end up wanting when it comes to significant procurement.

What response have you had to ELECTRIFY?

Amazing! Even better than we could have hoped.

Of all the people I’ve spoken to, and I’m talking to fleet directors and logistics managers and so forth, the response has been 100% in favour.

We recognize that as the emergent technology, we need to demonstrate and prove in the real world how that technology can be practically applied in everyday operations and the response I get from the big fleets is that they’re red hot keen.

We initially looked to deploy between 8 and 10 vehicles in the UK but we’re now looking at what we can do to deploy at least 15 because we’re significantly oversubscribed.

By helping fleets get to grips with electrification, is there an extent to which you are doing your competitors’ jobs for them?

Effectively, Tevva is taking a lead, and I’m very comfortable with that.

I think realistically, we expect that by 2024 we’ll be producing about 6,000 vehicles a year and that’s quite a significant contribution, but if you consider that’s going to be at least Europe-wide, it represents only a small proportion of the total market and therefore I’m not concerned if we pave the way for others.

By the mid-2020s I expect the demand for electric HGVs will be significantly greater than the supply.

What do you see as the timeframe for wholesale electrification?

I personally believe that 2030 will quickly start to come into view as the date people talk about and if you’re looking at 2030, you’re looking at procurement of vehicles in 2023 that will be in service in 2030, and in actual fact you’ll be going to tender for those vehicles as early as 2022.

So, we are going to be into a tipping point some time very, very soon. And by way of evidence several cities in EU that we are talking to are targeting zero emission zones as early as 2025.

As soon as it’s clear that the product is there, I think the cities, regions and even the countries will deem that the time is right to legislate. They will take that view based on an understanding that it can be done now, and therefore they will press the button and say, ‘you need to get on with it and do it by this date’. Initiatives like ELECTRIFY can only facilitate and accelerate that process.

For all of the above reasons, I expect that companies involved in the manufacture of electric trucks and electric truck technologies will probably find that they are managing a waiting list rather than looking for a home for their production.

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