Government unveils plan to open up bus data

08 January 2020

A pioneering project to collate and share bus location data across England will soon see passengers able to plan their journeys with to-the-minute accuracy.

Announced by Buses Minister Baroness Vere, the project will see the standardisation and publication of information by all operators, enabling bus users to plan routes, estimate journey times and understand costs in advance.

The project will also see operators provide real-time bus location data so passengers can travel with confidence.

A project timetable set out by Baroness Vere suggests information on routes and timetables will be available from early 2020, followed by location and fares data by 2021.

Developers will be able to add the information into existing apps or develop new products to improve connectivity for communities and encourage more people turn to public transport.

Buses Minister, Baroness Vere, said, “By harnessing the transforming power of data and technology we could be on the threshold of a golden age for buses. Sharing data on routes, bus locations and fares will give passengers even more confidence to ride.”

Electric DAFs clock up real-world miles

08 January 2020

The first operators to add DAF’s CF Electric to their fleets have now clocked up a combined mileage of more than 150,000 kilometers – enough to travel around the earth four times.

A total of six fully-electric trucks have been in operation for around a year with DAF customers including Jumbo, Simon Loos and Tinie Manders Transport in the Netherlands and Rhenus Group in Germany.

This limited trial has allowed DAF and its customers to gather real-world operational data and the brand says it has now reached a point where it can put the model on wider sale.

“We have now reached the point where we can start to sell the CF Electric in limited numbers,” said Richard Zink, member of the Board of Management and responsible for Marketing & Sales.

“Think of a few dozen units on an annual basis. In order to guarantee excellent quality, we start up production in a controlled way. Simultaneously, we can thoroughly build up our service network, step-by-step. The CF Electric tractor unit is now available for customers in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany’s North Rhine-Westphalia. Depending on the local battery charging infrastructure and after-sales possibilities, sales in other parts of Europe will be considered.”

According to DAF, the trial has helped customers to determine the business case of an electric truck and experience how it performs in the real world. It says that while customers were initially using only a limited part of their CF Electric’s 100 kilometres of range, some transport operators now drive around 250 kilometres a day with the vehicle.

“It is a matter of planning your trips cleverly,” said Richard Zink. “The ability to quickly charge the batteries – with the right equipment fully charged in just over 30 minutes – means that additional kilometres are available quickly if required.

Haulier embarks on digital transformation

08 January 2020

Specialist haulier Chris Wright Ltd has turned to Teletrac Navman as it takes its first steps into digital fleet management.

The company, which is best known for transporting specialist loads – everything from heavy duty excavators and bulldozers, to helicopters and train carriages – now has Teletrac Navman’s hardware installed across its entire 70-strong fleet.

As a result, the fleet is now centrally managed via Teletrac Navman’s DIRECTOR platform, which is an advanced fleet tracking system that provides fleet managers access to real time data in one easy-to-use interface.

With the requirement on Chris Wright Ltd. to have their loads on site at very specific times, DIRECTOR will enable its fleet manager to give real time location updates to drivers and customers alike.

Scott Ashdown, Fleet Manager at Chris Wright Ltd., said, “This has been a big commitment for the business to adopt new technology to create operational efficiencies. We’re looking forward to exploring other areas of our digital transformation with Teletrac Navman as our fleet management processes develop.”

SMMT accepting applications for delegation to Indiana, USA for the Work Truck Show 2020

08 January 2020

The SMMT will be taking a delegation to the Work Truck Show in Indianapolis from the 3 – 6 March 2020.

Celebrating its 20th Anniversary, the show is North America’s largest commercial vehicle event, providing an inside look at the newest industry products including, vehicle components, equipment, and the latest trucks all under one roof.

SMMT have partnered with a consultancy firm to provide attendees with B2B introductions and there will also be a market briefing prior to the show involving DIT USA.

Part of the objective of this mission is to understand the market and the event itself, with the aim to have a UK pavilion at the next edition of the show in 2021.

For more information on pricings, logistics and how to apply please visit https://www.smmt.co.uk/member-services/international/events/work-truck-show/

New eSprinter enters production

18 December 2019

eSprinter, Dusseldorf plant, 2019

The electric version of the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter has entered production.

The milestone moment was marked by a ceremony on the production line at the van’s production plant in Dusseldorf for employees and invited guests.

More than 4.6 million vans have been produced at the plant since it was opened in 1962. Since 2018, production of the new Sprinter has also taken place there, with over 200,000 units having already left the assembly line.

The new eSprinter is intended to cover the broadest possible range of use in urban mobility. Initially it will be offered as a panel van with high roof and a permissible gross weight of 3,500 kilogrammes.

Its production follows a huge investment in the plant – the biggest van production facility operated worldwide by parent group Daimler AG – and the training of thousands of staff in EV technologies.

Marcus Breitschwerdt, Head of Mercedes-Benz Vans, said, “We are continuing to stay on track: the start of production of our eSprinter marks a further milestone on our way to electrification. In the coming years, electric drives will come to prevail more and more and become a mighty pillar in our product portfolio, which above all will govern the urban, commercial sector.”

Scania buses will help modernise public transport in Côte d’Ivoire

18 December 2019

Scania has signed a deal to deliver 450 buses to Côte d’Ivoire.

The buses will enter service in the African nation’s economic capital, Abidjan, as part of a major initiative to upgrade public transport.

The order, which was placed by the Ivorian Ministry of Transport, comprises 400 low-entry 13-metre and 50 18-metre articulated buses, bodybuilt by Marcopolo. The articulated buses will be powered by compressed gas.

It is estimated that the population of Greater Abidjan will increase to 7.7 million by 2030. By expanding public transport services through BRT, the aim is that two-thirds of the residents in 2030 will have access to the city centre within an hour.

“With this agreement, Scania further strengthens its position in West Africa as a provider of sustainable solutions for urban mobility,” said Anna Carmo e Silva, Head of Buses and Coaches at Scania.

“Over the past few years, Scania has successfully participated in improving urban mobility in Ghana and Nigeria. Based on that experience, we now look forward to a long-term partnership in providing better public transport services also in Abidjan.”

Feature: Safeguarding Britain’s tradesmen from potential losses

18 December 2019

Van security is high on the agenda and has always been a top priority for manufacturers and operators. Keeping them secure is more important than ever given how vital the commercial vehicle is central to our economy.

We spoke to Andy Woodward, Sales and Marketing Director of Van Guard Accessories – a company that makes LCV security products – on ways to help keep vans secure.

What can LCV drivers do to prevent theft?

“Whereas previously vehicle owners and drivers were largely limited to a small range of dealer-fitted security options, today the average tradesperson can buy and fit a range of high security accessories themselves as aftermarket products. Not only has the cost of security options come down, but the options available to combat thefts have risen.

“As a side benefit, many of our products, in particular, are made from lightweight aluminum, which means that they are well placed to help drivers keep the weight of their vans to a minimum, helping to keep vehicle efficiency and security at a maximum at the same time.”

What changes have you seen during your time in the industry?

“As with most businesses the internet has had a major influence on the buying patterns of our core customers, namely tradespeople. Eight years ago, UK motor dealers were fitting aftermarket accessories after the vehicle had been delivered. The internet has changed all that and the average tradesperson knows he can fit accessories like van roof bars himself, and so shops around online to get the best price.

“Unfortunately, we have seen a growth in van break-ins and the theft of tools, and that is a real problem for those affected. As a result we have utilised our 40+ years of experience in British manufacturing and history in van security to launch our own range of van locks and security plates that can be fitted to all vehicles, adding an instant and effective barrier to entry for thieves, even if a vehicle’s electric security systems have been compromised.

“We are pleased to say that alongside the modernisation and evolution of our security systems over time, these original products are still going strong today. When it comes to securing your van, tools and livelihood, it really pays to start with the basics and work upwards from there.”

How has Van Guard adapted and evolved?

“Back in the early 90s, Van Guard was formed as an offshoot of a highly regarded aerospace engineering business in 1976. Because we were highly regarded for our engineering, we were approached by a local utility company who were experiencing vehicle break-ins. This resulted in the development of aftermarket rear window grilles and blanks that provided a visual deterrent against break-ins. Hence the name Van Guard.

“The success of the window grilles in deterring would-be thieves persuaded Van Guard to explore the van security market further by developing aftermarket Bulkheads, Tool Stores and Pipe Carriers, all of which were in response to the needs of customers who were experiencing losses in these areas.”

Project gives second life to Volvo Bus batteries

18 December 2019

Volvo Buses has entered a new partnership that will see batteries from its electric vehicles given a second life.

The deal with and Stena Recycling’s subsidiary BatteryLoop will use former bus batteries for energy storage and as an energy source in a new residential development in Gothenburg, Sweden.

The project marks a step for the brand towards a circular economy in electromobility.

Håkan Agnevall, President Volvo Buses, said, “Volvo Buses is a pioneer in electromobility, driven by the aim of creating clean, quiet and efficient public transport.

“Reuse of the batteries from our buses gives them a second life, allowing us to use resources in a better way while at the same time reducing our climate impact.

“Electromobility creates new circular business systems and it is rewarding to work with Stena Property and Stena Recycling to develop this new business.”

MAN opens new dealership

18 December 2019

MAN Truck and Bus UK has opened a new state-of-the-art dealership in Gateshead.

The new facility, which occupies a prominent 3.3 acre site on the Team Valley Trading Estate, has been built as part of a £20 million investment in the brand’s UK dealer network.

Purpose-built from the ground up and situated just a stone’s throw from the A1, the new site will be open 24-hours a day Monday to Friday and for extensive hours at weekends.

Incorporating a 12-bay workshop, the facility will help MAN meet its uptime commitment and will therefore hold a £350,000 stock of parts, accessible to technicians round the clock.

Looking forward and to address the needs of both future vehicles and customer requirements, the new facility also boasts four double vehicle Electric Vehicle charging points. MAN Gateshead is the first MAN eMobility workshop.

Bibby makes tasty addition to Mars Wrigley fleet

18 December 2019

Bibby Distribution has secured a new long-term partnership with confectioner Mars Wrigley after making a multi-million pound investment in 12 of the most advanced ISO-tanks ever used in the UK for bulk liquid chocolate transport.

The tankers, which are fitted with a live tracking and monitoring system, provide continuous updates to Bibby Distribution’s food and ingredients team, who can remotely monitor and adjust the temperature of the load and manage stirring schedules as required – the first time such capability has been implemented in the UK food manufacturing industry.

The technology minimises the chance of any drop in agreed set point and ensures the chocolate delivered for Mars Wrigley arrives in optimal condition.

The new ISO-tanks also provide an 18 per cent increase in payload, allowing Bibby Distribution to reduce the number of journeys required – shrinking the supply chain’s carbon footprint.

Rob Sharpe, Mars Wrigley’s UK Factory Logistics Manager, says: “We work with partners who share our focus on sustainability and Bibby Distribution’s investment in this equipment proves they’re committed to helping us reduce our environmental impact.

“As well as cutting food miles, Bibby Distribution gives us complete supply chain traceability and upholds our very high food quality standards.”