British Steel places £1.4m DAF order

29 January 2019

British Steel is investing £1.4 million in a new fleet of vehicles to support its distribution network, which are built at Leyland Trucks’ plant in the UK.

The vehicles – 11 tractor units and 7 rigid vehicles – are for the company’s metal centres to supply steel products and services to businesses in the building and construction sectors.

Richard Farnsworth, British Steel’s Managing Director, Construction, said: “This is a significant investment in our future which will enable us to provide an even better service to our customers throughout the UK.

“Our regional metal centres provide customers with a quick and convenient way of buying a wide range of steel products and a first-class fleet is central to our strategy of becoming the supplier of choice to this country’s construction industry.

“The vehicles, coupled with our extensive stock range, will enable us to meet customer needs with next-day delivery in the immediate area while customers can also still make their own collections.”

The trucks, which will be delivered in Spring 2019, are being supplied to British Steel through Birmingham-based DAF dealership Thomas Group and will serve customers across the South East, Midlands and Yorkshire and Humber regions.

Malcolm Robbins, British Steel Construction’s Logistics Manager Distribution UK, said: “We’re committed to improving our service to current and new customers across the network, and this investment will play a significant role in helping us achieve this.

“We recently visited Leyland Trucks in Lancashire to see one of our liveried DAF vehicles on the production line and it’s exciting to know the new fleet will soon be delivering our steel products across the country.”

Phil Moon, Marketing Manager, DAF Trucks Ltd, said: “DAF Trucks is honoured to be supplying vehicles to British Steel to work in their operation. To have some of the team from British Steel visit Leyland Trucks to see the new vehicles in production was great for both parties.”

Renault announces new Pro+ Master conversions

29 January 2019

Renault has announced two new conversions in its Pro+ van range, which will be offered directly through the company’s van dealerships.

Both of the conversions are based on the Master large van and consist of an aluminium-bodied tipper and a Luton Box Van.

The Aluminium Tipper is based on the Master Chassis Cab and joins similar steel-bodied tippers in the range. The conversion is carried out by VFS – an approved Renault convertor – and offers a larger payload than a steel-bodied tipper as the load bed is 150kg lighter. It is available as a single or double cab, with a secure tool and storage box available as an option.

The Luton Box Van also offers an increased payload over previous models, and is converted by Truckcraft, another approved Renault convertor. It is available in both front or rear-wheel-drive layouts and has an optional powered tail-lift.

Both conversions are offered with the option of Renault’s Pro+ ‘Business Trim’, which adds a variety of safety equipment, including ABS with Electronic Brake Distribution and Electronic Stability Control, along with comfort features such as height and lumbar adjustment in the driver’s seat, an armrest, electric windows and cup holders, along with a Bluetooth-compatible audio system.

New UK Managing Director for BYD

29 January 2019

Electric bus manufacturer BYD UK has appointed former UK Country Manager Frank Thorpe as its UK Managing Director.

The Chinese bus maker describes the UK as its “flagship market in Europe.”

Mr Thorpe joined BYD in August 2016 and he has a long pedigree in the bus industry. “I am honoured to receive this promotion and I am confident that BYD can win future sales success,” he said.

“We have made considerable progress but the road ahead has plenty of challenges – not least from a host of new competitors and the difficulty in obtaining funding support from the relevant authorities. But we have strengths to build on and we are optimistic about the future.”

In partnership with Alexander Dennis (ADL), BYD has already secured orders for over 200 battery-electric buses in the British market, with strong growth expected over the next few years.

Later this year, BYD-ADL will deliver the first Enviro400EV zero-emission double-deckers, a batch of 37, to London operator Metroline.

BYD Europe MD Isbrand Ho, said: “BYD UK will continue to grow under Frank’s leadership. The secret to our ongoing success is not just the sale of electric buses, but the provision of the comprehensive service and support required to operate them effectively.”

McPherson takes delivery of first LNG Volvos

29 January 2019

Scottish logistics company McPherson of Aberlour has become the first operator in the UK to take delivery of new Volvo FM tractor units powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG).

The operator, which specialises in the transportation of bulk spirits, has added two of the 6×2 LNG FMs to its fleet of 220 vehicles. The trucks will be used to deliver distillery by-products to customers across Scotland’s central belt.

The FM Sleeper Cabs are equipped Volvo’s G13C engine and 12-speed I-Shift automated transmission, with full aerodynamic kits.

“The drivers love the new FM LNGs and many more of our driving team are keen to try the trucks,” said Martin Brown, McPherson Ltd Managing Director.

“We are double-shifting the new FM LNG trucks seven days a week,” he added.“At present the two are transporting distillery by-products, but they are both equipped to full ADR specification for bulk spirit movements. Our company ethos is to constantly push the technology boundaries to offer McPherson customers the very latest sustainable logistics solutions. The FM LNG vehicles fit that aim.”

All new Vauxhall Vivaro chooses CV Show for world debut

24 January 2019

Following the reveal of the passenger variant last week, Vauxhall has now unveiled the van version of the new British-built Vivaro, which it has also confirmed will make its world debut at the CV Show on April 30.

The launch marks the return of Vauxhall to the show, which it last attended in 2015.

The new van will be produced at the company’s factory in Luton, Bedfordshire, from this summer, safeguarding manufacturing at the plant until at least 2025.

Vauxhall has confirmed that the new Vivaro will be offered in two lengths: the 4.95m “Medium” and the 5.30m “Large”, and that it will be built on parent company PSA Group’s EMP2 platform, which currently underpins the Citroen Dispatch and Peugeot Expert.

Investment in the new vehicle will increase the plant’s production capacity to 100,000 units per year.

“As a British brand since 1903 and the UK’s largest commercial vehicle manufacturer, we’re delighted to reveal the all-new Luton-built Vivaro,” said Derek Wilson, Vauxhall’s LCV Director. “Practical, comfortable, economical and packed with all latest driver assistance and connectivity technology, the all-new new Vivaro is the vehicle that sits at the heart of our commercial vehicle range.”

Vauxhall has also said it will offer a fully electric version of the van in 2020.

UK Power Networks leads wireless charging trial

24 January 2019

UK Power Networks is leading a new pilot scheme aimed at demonstrating the commercial viability of wireless EV chargers.

UKPN is working with delivery company UPS, along with High Speed 1 and the Warwick Manufacturing Group, on the project that will see wireless charging technology deployed in three live locations in London and Tamworth.

The project is funded by the Office for Low Emission Vehicles and Innovate UK and will run for the first three months of this year.

UPS delivery vans will be charged at the company’s depot in Tamworth while they are being loaded with parcels, while electric taxis will receive charge wirelessly when waiting for passengers outside St Pancras International railway station in central London.

UK Power Networks’ fleet of electric vans will also take part in the trial.

UK Power Networks Services’ director, Ian Smyth, is excited by what the study could mean for the growth of electric vehicles. He said: “Wireless charging has the potential to deliver lower cost electric vehicle fleets, safer unobtrusive infrastructure and provides an important solution where constraints on physical space mean wired charging is not practical”.

Ford and Volkswagen confirm LCV alliance

24 January 2019

Two of the world’s biggest vehicle manufacturers have confirmed that they are to collaborate on a new generation of light commercial vehicles and technology developments.

Ford and Volkswagen are to work together on multiple LCV projects, with the first new models due in 2022.

The alliance isn’t a merger, in that both companies remain fully independent, but it means they will share costs and joint technology around vans, pick-ups, electric vehicles, self-driving technology and ‘new transport services’, the details of which are unknown.

Leading the alliance will be ford Chief Executive Jim Hackettt and Volkswagen’s CEO Herbert Diess, with a committee of senior executives from both companies.

Under the plans, Ford will design and build 4×4 pick-ups and larger Transit-sized vans for European customers, while Volkswagen will develop a smaller van, similar in size to the current VW Caddy and Ford Transit Connect.

“Over time, this alliance will help both companies create value and meet the needs of our customers and society,” said Ford Chief Executive, Jim Hackett.

Separately, Volkswagen announced it would invest US $800m into a new electric vehicle production facility in Chattanooga, Tennessee, which will also be a strategic part of the new alliance’s plans.

Five minutes with: Glenn Saint, Chief of Commercial Vehicles, Arrival Ltd

24 January 2019

As Chief of Commercial Vehicles for Arrival, Glenn Saint is ideally placed to understand the latest technology developments in the CV Sector. He’s also the new Chairman of SMMT’s Commercial Vehicle Committee.

Transport New Brief caught up with Glenn to talk about what’s happening in the CV Sector right now.

Where are the biggest opportunities for the CV Sector?

Consumer habits are changing. Rather than drive into city centres to do our shopping, many of us are now going for the click and deliver option instead. Home deliveries are getting much better as a result, largely due to software algorithms that predict what people will want and when they will want it. It’s getting more accurate all the time and that makes click and deliver even more popular.

The CV Sector has the opportunity to reinvent itself and move away from the perception of dirty vans and lorries taking goods into cities, into a clean and efficient delivery system that brings you what you want, when you want it.

Business is changing and smart companies will adapt with it. If there’s a business opportunity, then someone will fill it.

What about the challenges?

Requirements are rapidly changing and we have to be able to predict what will come next. Our technology is scalable, but the infrastructure needs to be there to keep up.

But the biggest challenge at the moment is economic. With Brexit, nobody knows what will happen. We work in an industry that has proven itself to be rapidly able to adapt and react to change and I believe we will do so comfortably. But the big challenge right now is not knowing what the immediate future looks like, which is stopping us from adapting. Uncertainty is the issue, not the outcome. It prevents us from making decisions.

Where does Arrival see itself in the medium term?

We’re a technology firm first and foremost, so while we have our own model range and a scalable production facility, with the capacity to produce thousands of vehicles, we will also provide components and technology to other manufacturers. Innovation in manufacturing has the potential to provide technology across the whole automotive sector, as well as the infrastructure around it.

How important is the UK to the global EV landscape?

It’s hugely important. That’s why Arrival is based here. We have the ability to innovate, and the government offers some good support in the form of Innovate UK and Research and Development tax credits.

Also, the UK is in a position where it can no longer rely on service industries, so it needs to get back into manufacturing and innovating, which is what we do. If the UK wants a global presence as a technology leader, then it needs to invent and innovate. It’s home to some of the best inventors, innovators and engineers in the world, and that’s great news for our global presence.

How far do you think heavy haulage is away from EV technology?

Electric vehicles are eminently scalable and the technology is moving rapidly, but the physics of energy dictate that there needs to be a significant change in infrastructure to make that possible.

Where the infrastructure is growing quickly is in the field of short distance, return-to-base deliveries, which represent a lot of the world’s van usage. That’s where electric vehicles can make an immediate and practical difference, improving air quality and not inconveniencing operators or customers.

The key to market change is cost. Things will really start to shift when we’re able to make electric delivery vehicles as price competitive as their diesel alternatives and it won’t be until the technology evolves to the point of ‘why wouldn’t you buy?’ that we’ll see a wholesale shift. But the market is continually expanding and evolving rapidly.

How do you see the CV sector evolving in the coming years?

The CV landscape is constantly changing and reacting to customer requirements. New technology is being developed across all transport sectors and is getting better and more accessible. Within that, EVs play a large part and are an expanding area of the market.

As business changes the CV industry will adapt, and that applies to vans, trucks and buses. Technology is the single biggest part of that shift.

IVECO Brand President resigns

24 January 2019

IVECO’s Brand President, Pierre Lahutte, has stepped down from his role with the Italian commercial vehicle manufacturer to return to his native France.

Lahutte assumed the role in 2014 and has worked for IVECO’s parent company, CNH Industrial, for 21 years, having previously held roles within its New Holland Agricultural and Heuliez Bus divisions.

Lahutte said: “This has been a wonderful adventure, which allowed me to meet and work with passionate and enduring people.”

Gerrit Marx, the recently appointed president of CNH Industrial’s Commercial and Speciality Vehicles segment, will assume Lahutte’s responsibilities until a replacement is announced.

Nissan reveals ‘workshop on wheels’ concept van

24 January 2019

Nissan has pulled the wraps off a concept vehicle that uses portable energy from scrap electric vehicles to power the user’s tools and equipment.

Unveiled at the Brussels Motor Show in Belgium, the NV300 concept-van’s cargo area has been kitted out as a mobile workshop for a woodwork professional. The van’s content has been developed and created in a collaboration between Nissan and Studio Hardie, a British design house.

The portable battery pack is called Nissan Energy ROAM – an all-in-one, weatherproof power pack that provides emission-free and silent power while on the go. With a storage capacity of 700Wh and maximum power output of 1kW, the battery pack works as a portable energy source for mobile professionals.

Nissan Energy ROAM is made from batteries recovered from Nissan LEAF electric vehicles that have come to the end of their lives and can be recharged using a solar panel accessory – as mounted on the roof of the NV300 Concept-van.

Francesco Giacalone, LCV Planning and Marketing Director, Nissan Europe said: “With the NV300 Concept-van, Nissan is really thinking about the future of the commercial vehicle as an authentic partner for business customers. It’s practical and versatile as well as innovative and self-sufficient with the addition of Nissan Energy ROAM. We believe it has enormous potential in the LCV sector and is a key differentiator for Nissan commercial vehicles.”