Fuel cell panel van unveiled by DHL Express and StreetScooter at German event

05 June 2019

DHL Express and electric vehicle maker StreetScooter have announced their collaboration on a new electric delivery vehicle, the ‘H2 Panel Van’.

Unveiled at the Green Tech Festival in Berlin, it is the first 4.25-tonne electric vehicle with an added fuel cell, which will provide additional power and enable a range of up to 300 miles before refuelling.

The van has a cargo capacity of more than 10 cubic metres, which DHL says amounts to approximately 100 parcels.

With a maximum payload of more than 800kg, the H2 Panel Van achieves a maximum permissible weight of 4.25 tonnes. The van has a maximum speed of around 75mph and the built-in battery has a capacity of 40 kWh.

The van also has a fuel cell with 26 kW and a hydrogen tank with a tank volume of six kilograms, which enables the 300-mile range.

The H2 Panel Van is based on the StreetScooter WORK XL delivery vehicle used by DHL Parcel. The H2 Panel Van has been produced in collaboration with Ford. The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) as part of its National Innovation Programme Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology (NIP II).

Markus Reckling, CEO DHL Express Germany, said, “With the H2 Panel Van, DHL Express becomes the first express provider to use a larger number of electric vehicles with fuel cells for last-mile logistics. This underscores our aspiration to be not only the fastest and most reliable provider on the market, but also the most climate friendly.”

Fabian Schmitt, Chief Technical Officer at StreetScooter GmbH, added, “We firmly believe that fuel cells will play an increasing role in electric-powered transport, since they can give battery electric vehicles the kind of range that is so important for so many customers.”

EVM announces its new Mercedes-Benz Sprinter-based conversion

05 June 2019

Minibus converter EVM has added a new model called Trend into its range of vehicles.

The Trend is based on the new Mercedes-Benz Sprinter range and aims to be a lightweight option for minibus sector operators.

It starts at eight seats and goes up to 16 seats. One of the first examples produced, pictured, is a 143bhp four-cylinder OM651 2.1-litre Euro 6-engined 414CDI with a seven-speed automatic gearbox.

Dark black privacy glass is fitted to the saloon and rear windows, while the interior is kept cool with Mercedes-Benz in-dash and roof-mounted saloon air-conditioning. Heating is also provided by an OEM unit through floor vents with a booster pump.

Front entry is via the OEM door with lowered three-step entry, but a powered plug door is an option. The exterior is completed by EVM side skirts, which, along with the bumpers are colour coded.

The interior has luggage racks, show curtains, 10 USB ports and 16 seats trimmed in half cloth, half virtual leather. Fill virtual leather seats are an option.

The EVM Trend’s unladen weight is 2,750kg, with a gross vehicle weight of 4,100kg and it comes in black, silver or white.

Yodel invests in green tech to increase efficiency and reduce carbon footprint

05 June 2019

Delivery company Yodel is investing £15.2m on green technologies designed to reduce the environmental impact of its road-based operations.

The investment by the parcel carrier includes new vehicles and trailers as well as technology to improve efficiency and safety.

It has taken delivery of an all-electric 7.5 tonne light-duty truck, the first in its fleet. The Mitsubishi FUSO eCanter will initially be based at Yodel’s customer delivery depot in Hayes and used across London.

Silent and emissions-free, the vehicle has a load capacity of up to four and a half tonnes and is powered by six high voltage batteries.

Yodel, one of the largest delivery companies in the UK, and CollectPlus, the UK’s largest independent store-based parcel delivery and returns service, have a new electric lorry. The electric vehicle will be the first in the Yodel and CollectPlus fleet.

The carrier has also invested in Microlise telematics and fleet management technology for all its tractor units and trailers – a total of more than 1,300 assets.

The software monitors factors such as speed, location, and road traffic levels. It reports back to Yodel, allowing the fleet team to view the network in real-time and adapt to dynamic conditions.

Microlise’s Android-based DriveTab tablet devices act as the main interface for driver communication and navigation. Journeys can be planned and monitored by the business control tower and instructions sent to the driver, while driving style can be evaluated and feedback provided to optimise driver performance.

Yodel says it has already seen a 7% improvement in fuel efficiency since the introduction of the technology.

As part of its ongoing commitment to ensure the safety of its drivers and other road users, Yodel has also fitted every tractor unit with a Microlise panic button, enabling drivers to alert the business control tower of an emergency.

The carrier is also trialling dashboard camera systems for its tractor units, to aid incident investigation.

Andrew Peeler, CEO of Yodel, said, “This large-scale investment in our fleet is designed to improve efficiency and minimise the environmental impact of deliveries. I’m delighted that we’ve introduced electric to our fleet this spring, and we have plans to expand our use of both pedal and electric power this year.

“In addition, we have invested in technology to calculate the most efficient routes and evaluate our drivers’ driving style to further reduce our carbon footprint.”

Stagecoach to order more than £80m worth of new ‘green’ buses

05 June 2019

Bus company Stagecoach says a total of 351 ‘cleaner, greener’ buses and coaches are expected to go into service this year.

They will be introduced on Stagecoach’s regional networks in England, Scotland and Wales, as well as its megabus.com routes in the UK.

More than 300 of the vehicles will be built by Falkirk-based Alexander Dennis (ADL) and its subsidiary Plaxton.

The Perth-based transport giant said ‘virtually all’ of the vehicles met the UK government’s specifications for low carbon emission buses, with a mixture of electric vehicle technology and the latest Euro 6 emissions standard engines.

The planned orders include 48 electric buses which are being part-funded by the UK Government’s Green Bus Fund and – once orders are finalised – will go into service in Manchester and South Wales.

Around three quarters of the new vehicles will be fitted with audio visual display systems which provide next-stop information.

Each of the new vehicles will also be fitted with CCTV, and USB charging points, while most will also have WiFi installed, giving customers free internet access during their journeys.

The new vehicles are expected to go into service this year.

The latest investment includes 131 low-floor double-decker vehicles to go into service across the UK, as well as around 95 single-deck vehicles and 28 midi-buses.

Also included are a fleet of 12 new Alexander Dennis Limited Enviro400 XLB double-decker vehicles for the Cambridge Guided Busway, delivering more capacity than ever before, carrying 100 passengers. There are also 22 coaches for the Group’s UK Bus, Scottish Citylink and megabus.com operations.

Stagecoach chief executive Martin Griffiths said, “This is a huge investment by the private sector in providing better mobility and better air quality in local communities.

“It follows other significant investment that we’ve made in smart ticketing, improved information for customers and digital technology.”

UK CV production falls in April as planned shutdowns affect output

30 May 2019

  • UK commercial vehicle manufacturing declines -70.9% in April, with 2,162 units produced.
  • Output for home market falls -27.1%, while exports decline -89.9%.
  • Year-to-date records positive performance, up 10.3% on the same period last year.

UK commercial vehicle production declined by -70.9% last month, according to figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). Just 2,162 vans, trucks, buses and coaches left production lines as planned shutdowns to prepare for model changeovers resulted in the substantial drop in output.

Production for both home and overseas markets experienced significant declines in the month, falling -27.1% and -89.9% respectively. The proportion of exported CVs fell to 24.3%, the lowest level on record.

Year-to-date volumes remain ahead, up 10.3% compared with 2018, driven by a rise in demand from the domestic market. However, exports continue to drive output, making up nearly 60% of production in the first four months.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said,

While April’s decline is significant, production shutdowns make it an exceptional month, and the cyclical nature of the sector means caution is always advised when making monthly comparisons. With overall production still driven by exports – the majority to the EU – for this vital sector to thrive, we need to restore confidence and stability, and this means securing a free and frictionless trade deal with our biggest customer.

Ford and Cox Automotive drive plug-in hybrid van length of UK for charity

29 May 2019

Ford and Cox Automotive joined forces to drive a plug-in hybrid electric van (PHEV) from John O’Groats to Land’s End to raise money for Mind, the UK’s leading mental health charity.

The partnership used a prototype of Ford’s new Transit Custom plug-in hybrid (PHEV) van and it was the first time a plug-in hybrid van has completed the entire length of the UK.

James Davis from Cox Automotive teamed up with Ford’s Stephen Wright on the six-day fundraiser that started on Sunday, 26 May and arrived at Land’s End on Friday 31 May.

The van, one of 20 pre-production prototypes currently in fleet evaluation, had its entire journey tracked and analysed.

To give clients and team members the chance to pore over Ford’s innovative new PHEV technology, the route took in five Manheim CV auction centres, as well as NextGear Capital’s Chester head offices.

The Ford Transit Custom PHEV also stopped off at ALD Automotive’s head offices in Bristol to celebrate the two organisations’ Ford Lease partnership.

Co-driver James Davis, director of customer insight and strategy at Cox Automotive, said, “Ford and Cox Automotive have enjoyed a long-standing global partnership. From an initial idea I’m so pleased to have developed this event with our friends at Ford. As well as raising awareness and experiencing this fantastic PHEV technology first hand, we’ll be raising money for Mind. I’ve suffered from mental health issues in my life, and in our male-dominated industry we really need to be able to talk and share.”

The Ford Transit Custom PHEV visited Manheim’s auction centres, at Shotts then moved on to Haydock, Shepshed and Bruntingthorpe and Gloucester before its journey end at Land’s End.

Dave Petts, of Take it to the Market Leader Urban Electrified Van (UEV) Programme at Ford, said, “This is a good test of our London Trials prototype vehicle and I’m looking forward to seeing the data generated from the run. The Transit Custom PHEV range extender gives zero emissions for city ULEZ and CAZ zones and the operational flexibility to be able to do this sort of run across the country without any range anxiety.”

If you want to donate to Mind visit the JustGiving page at: https://lnkd.in/eXZP3dH.

New managing director for Arriva UK Bus

29 May 2019

Paul O’Neil has been appointed as the new Managing Director for Arriva UK Bus.

Paul joins Arriva from Rolls-Royce, where he worked for 31 years having joined as an undergraduate trainee engineer in 1987.

He has a degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the University of Glasgow and an Msc in Aerospace Design, Manufacture and Management from the University of Bristol, and replaces Kevin O’Connor, who left the business in September 2018.

Paul has also worked as Chief Operating Officer (COO) for the Civil, Small & Medium Engines (CSME) business and more recently as the Executive Vice President for Engine Assembly and Test within Civil Aerospace.

Paul also served as the Chairman of the Management Board of Rolls-Royce Deutschland and a non-executive Director of N3 Engine Overhaul Services GmbH & Co. KG in Germany and of Singapore Aero Engine Services Pte Limited in Singapore.

Prior to his role in Germany, he was responsible for the Seletar campus in Singapore.

On his appointment, Paul O’Neil, UK Bus Managing Director said, “I’m delighted to be part of the journey that Arriva is on and look forward to working with colleagues to deliver the passenger-focused journeys our customers have come to expect.”

Manfred Rudhart, CEO, Arriva said, “Paul brings a great deal of international experience to Arriva from his time working in Asia and the rest of Europe.

“Transport is changing and it’s crucial we understand the needs of our customers and use that knowledge to deliver the services they want and need.”

Feature: Future innovation in commercial vehicle powertrain electrification

30 May 2019

Low, and now ultra-low, emission zones are becoming common place in Europe, with many major cities implementing measures to help tackle air quality. While new diesel and petrol vehicles do not face penalties, electrification will have a huge role to play, and the technology is now readily available in the passenger and light commercial vehicle markets. This is only the tip of the iceberg.

Global demand for road freight continues to grow and 98% are still powered by diesel. However, British driveline engineering specialist, Drive System Design (DSD), believe they have developed a new approach to the design of electrified powertrains that aims to accelerate their adoption in the commercial vehicle market.

“Concerns over high initial costs and vehicle range anxiety are the greatest hurdles to adoption of electric vehicle technology,” said Mike Savage, DSD chief engineer. “For example, a suitable battery pack to provide a 200km+ range for a medium duty truck would currently cost around £45,000 and weigh 1.25 tonnes.

“Optimising the cost and range of a complete powertrain, rather than focusing on individual elements, will enable the development of vehicles that are fine-tuned for nuanced characteristics of different markets,” he continued. “For example, average duty cycle speeds in Europe are far lower than the US, but considerably higher than demanding conditions in India. By matching the powertrain requirements with each market, significant cost savings could be possible without compromising the required operating range.”

DSD has developed optimisation techniques, processes and tools to quantify the impact of various subsystems on the overall powertrain performance using a systems approach. This provides a glimpse of the powertrain’s subsystem relationships and enables analysis of the most influential design considerations. As part of a recent project, the company simulated over 4000 different powertrain permutations to optimise the configuration of a 13-tonne commercial vehicle.

“Using the vehicle’s dynamic requirements and expected operating conditions, hypothetical targets provide a basis from which to calculate necessary power and torque, and vehicle range is determined by calculating the energy consumption during the drive cycle,” explained Savage. “Representative duty cycle and load cases are crucial for true cost optimisation of the powertrain: in this case, inclusion of the effect of gradient changes during a specific drive cycle resulted in a 15% peak power increase requirement.”

Savage suggests that an added benefit of a systems approach is that unexpected or counter-intuitive solutions are often uncovered. The company’s 13-tonne project is a compelling example: “We found that changing to a more expensive, more efficient motor permitted a significant reduction in battery pack size while maintaining desired range,” he said. “The more efficient motor drew less energy from the battery pack, which allowed the use of a reduced capacity unit. Introducing a multi-speed transmission can have a similar result, which can lead to motor downsizing. In each example, the benefit is a lower total cost of the powertrain alongside a weight reduction, which enables a greater payload. Ultimately, this leads to greater fleet operator profitability.”

USA postal service to embark on autonomous delivery truck trial

29 May 2019

The United States Postal Service (USPS) has announced plans to test autonomous mail trucks.

The two-week test will be done in partnership with a company called TuSimple that specialises in self-driving trucks.

It will involve a series of self-driving Navistar trucks that will be driving for 22 hours each, which includes overnight driving.

The trucks will be kitted with TuSimple’s self-driving technology that incorporates cameras and sensors to provide the data for the trial.

TuSimple will be shipping the mail for USPS as part of this test on five round trips totalling 1000 miles between distribution centres located in Phoenix, Arizona and Dallas, Texas. A safety driver will be behind the wheel during the test who will be joined by an engineer to monitor the trial and ensure it is carried out safely.

TuSimple’s founder and president, Dr. Xiaodi Hou, said, “It is exciting to think that before long, many people will ride in a robo-taxi, and that their mail and packages may be carried in a self-driving truck. Performing for the USPS on this pilot in this particular commercial corridor gives us specific-use cases to help us validate our system, and expedite the technological development and commercialisation progress.”

Five new biomethane compressed natural gas refuelling stations on the horizon

29 May 2019

CNG Fuels is set to open five new biomethane compressed natural gas (Bio-CNG) refuelling stations.

The new refuelling stations will serve major truck routes following a 300% demand for the company’s fuel from HGV operators switching from diesel.

The new stations will be able to refuel up to 3,000 HGVs a day, a near 500% increase on capacity at the company’s existing stations at Leyland, Lancashire and Crewe, Cheshire, which can refuel more than 600 vehicles daily.

The fuel is renewable, and the gas is sourced from food waste. CNG Fuels says it cuts vehicle greenhouse gas emissions by up to 85% and is 35%-40% cheaper than diesel.

Construction work on a station in Warrington, at Omega South on the M62, has begun. It is expected to be the largest public access gas refuelling station in Europe. It is expected to be able to refuel up to 800 HGVs a day and serve 12 vehicles simultaneously.

CNG Fuels has also started work at Erdington, close to the M6 in Birmingham. The station will be able to refuel more than 600 HGVs a day.

Both stations are expected to open in autumn, as well as another at the Red Lion Truckstop off the M1 at Northampton, which will be able to refuel more than 350 HGVs a day.

CNG Fuels is also planning to start construction on two more public access stations in the autumn at Larkhall in Scotland and at Knowsley, near Liverpool. It plans to add a further eight in 2020, making renewable and sustainable biomethane fuel available throughout the UK, from Scotland to the south-west.