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.”

TfL recognises Alexander Dennis for work on London’s Bus Safety Standard

18 December 2019

Transport for London has recognised Alexander Dennis with an award for its work in support of the capital’s new Bus Safety Standard.

The Award for Collaboration, given as part of TfL’s 2019 Supplier Awards, was made in recognition of the bus manufacturer’s work with the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) on an evidence-based project that led to the creation of the new standard.

Alexander Dennis shared insights on its existing and ongoing research into safety features, made vehicles available for the testing of features and undertook significant development work on emerging technologies.

Following the definition and publication of the Bus Safety Standard, Alexander Dennis was one of the first manufacturers to make new safety features available to bus operators, and in August 2019 became the first manufacturer to deliver complete batches of vehicles built to the standard’s first implementation stage.

Bus Safety Standard features already implemented by Alexander Dennis include Camera Monitor Systems to replace exterior mirrors with external cameras and cab-mounted screens, Intelligent Speed Assistance technology which prevents drivers from exceeding the speed limit, an Acoustic Vehicle Alerting System to make buses more audibly conspicuous, pedal confusion warning lights, and a higher grade of non-slip flooring to give passengers a surer footing inside the vehicle.

Colin Robertson, Chief Executive of Alexander Dennis, said, “Alexander Dennis strongly believes in partnership working and we are delighted this has been recognised with the Award for Collaboration for our support of the development and introduction of TfL’s Bus Safety Standard. We are proud to be at the forefront of making buses even safer for passengers, drivers and other road users, and look forward to leveraging further advances in design and technology to continue this journey.”

New survey for HGV operators

18 December 2019

The Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership is appealing for HGV operators across the UK to take part in a new survey.

The survey is being conducted by the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership (LowCVP) as part of its work on a new Ultra-Low Emissions Truck (ULET) standard.

It seeks to establish what proportion of a truck’s work is typically carried out on city, urban, regional and motorway routes, how that varies by size and weight of vehicle, and typical daily/weekly mileages and fuel consumption.

More information on the survey can be found here.

To take part in the survey, click here.

The deadline for submissions is January 15th 2020

Rally-inspired Transit Custom gets off the mark

11 December 2019

The Wales-based converter behind some of the sportiest versions of the Ford Transit Custom has launched its latest model.

MS-RT’s latest offering – the R185 limited edition – draws on styling and technology pioneered by Ford’s works rally team.

In all, 40 examples of the QVM-approved model will be produced at the firm’s factory in Pontypool.

MS-RT Founding Director, Edward Davies, said: “The MS-RT Transit Custom has already been a huge success and we’ve developed the R185 in response to customer demand for something even more bespoke.

“The limited-edition model is sure to sell out very quickly and become an icon among fans of the MS-RT brand.”

IVECO and Nikola unveil first truck collaboration

11 December 2019

The first images of the eagerly-anticipated Nikola TRE have been released.

The truck is the first vehicle to result from the joint venture between CNH Industrial, parent company of IVECO, and Nikola, the US-based electric powertrain specialist.

The vehicle is based on the IVECO S-WAY heavy-duty truck launched last July and integrates Nikola’s advanced electric technology and new-generation proprietary infotainment system.

The vehicle’s striking looks are the result of a collaboration between Nikola and Italdesign.

Gerrit Marx, President Commercial and Specialty Vehicles at CNH Industrial, said, “The IVECO S-WAY is a stand-out product, which embodies IVECO’s concept of customer-centricity and has already gained momentum in the markets with well-deserved success. It marks the beginning of a new journey towards zero-emissions trucking, providing the platform for us to introduce disruptive features that will change the transport industry.”

The vehicle displayed at the event is a maquette of the Nikola TRE 4×2 tractor for regional missions, with a range of up to 400 km and dynamic performance equal or better than a diesel equivalent model. The vehicle will feature a modular battery system with a total capacity of up to 720 kWh, which can be tailored to match customer requirements. The electric driveline will deliver 480 kW Continuous Power Output with 1,800 Nm Peak Torque.

The Nikola TRE will also be available in 2- and 3-axle rigid versions, with GVW ranging from 18 to 26 tonnes for urban distribution and municipality missions.

It is expected that the first units will be delivered to customers in 2021.

FEATURE: Growing demand for bus electrification draws major investment

11 December 2019

The drive towards greater electrification of the world’s public transport seems to gather pace by the day.

Barely a week goes by without another town, city or municipality somewhere in the world renewing their fleet to electric or alternatively fuelled buses.

And it’s with this booming worldwide market in mind that UK-based electrification company, Equipmake, this week opened a new, purpose-built factory in Snetterton, Norfolk.

The new state-of-the-art 1,500 sq ft facility will design and manufacture the company’s fully-integrated electric bus chassis and help it cope with a surge in international demand.

Equipmake Electric bus factory, Snetterton business Park, Norfolk.
Liz Truss with Managing Director Ian Foley.

The company has seen its order bank grow over the past two years, with more interest from overseas and changing buying patterns industry-wide, seeing it outgrow its former premises in nearby Hethel and increase its team from 15 to 52.

Equipmake’s innovative chassis allows any bus coachbuilder to become a full electric bus manufacturer virtually overnight.

It’s this adaptability that saw the EBus Chassis development programme attract £7.5 million of funding from the Advanced Propulsion Centre. Involving multiple partners lead by Equipmake, the grant funding is designed to take the bus to production.

Equipmake has already entered the final testing phase of its single decker EBus platform, with UK-based performance and durability development set to finish at the end of the year.

In-service trials will then begin in Q1 2020 by Brazilian commercial vehicle manufacturer, Agrale, who will launch the electric bus first in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 2021. Thanks to efficient management of its onboard heating and cooling system, the bus – a 12m single deck model capable of carrying 70 passengers – will have enough electric range for one day’s running without the need for charging. To charge the vehicle, the operator simply needs access to a standard three-phase supply, which will fully charge it in around five hours. Equipmake will begin double decker chassis trials later this year.

Speaking after the opening, Managing Director of Equipmake, Ian Foley said, “I am proud to open this facility and very grateful for the funding we have received from the UK Government through the Advanced Propulsion Centre. It has supported us in the design and development of a highly innovative and in-demand product, showing that a relatively small company from Norfolk can become a global technology leader.”

Despite only being at an early stage in the process, the signs are good for Equipmake moving forward, highlighted by Ian Foley, “There is huge demand for clean, affordable electric buses with a worldwide market of around 300,000 vehicles per annum, and that is only growing as cities strive to improve urban air quality.

“Manufacture of the powertrain will scale dramatically over the next few years and our target is 700 EBus chassis for South America alone in the first year of production. That is why our new bespoke facility here in Snetterton is so important – it is crucial to fulfilling requirements from international customers for both single and double decker applications.”

Opening the new facility, Liz Truss, Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade, said, “I am delighted to open Equipmake’s new electric bus factory today. It’s fantastic to see world-leading technology produced here in Norfolk and the fact that these buses are being exported globally further underlines the depth of talent that exists along the A11 technology corridor.

“Equipmake is a shining example of an innovative engineering company. We are committed to increasing R&D tax credits to support ventures like this. I wish Equipmake every success for the future.”

ACEA calls for radical policy reforms

11 December 2019

The European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) has said the transition to carbon-neutral and zero emission freight transport cannot happen without radical policy changes by the European Union and the governments of all member states.

Speaking on the occasion of the COP25 UN climate conference, the organisation’s Commercial Vehicle Board – made up of the CEOs of Europe’s truck makers – said a fresh approach was crucial to achieving emissions and clean air targets.

“When we look at the total fleet of transport operators today, it is clear that the market will need to be completely turned around in an extremely short timeframe,” said Gerrit Marx, Chairman of ACEA’s Commercial Vehicle Board and President of CNH Industrial Commercial Vehicles and Speciality.

Among the policies called for by the group is the rapid roll-out of dedicated charging and refuelling infrastructure for trucks and putting in place meaningful incentives to make these vehicles a commercially-viable and competitive choice for transport operators, thereby fostering fleet renewal.

Bike-friendly buses enter service

11 December 2019

Borders Buses has taken delivery of new buses designed to encourage greater use of bicycles.

The 10 Enviro200 single deckers, built by Alexander Dennis, each incorporates two on-board bike racks and a top-end specification that includes wood effect flooring, leather seats, USB charging points, audio and visual passenger information systems, mobile phone holders and stop buttons at every seat, plus free Wi-Fi.

The bike buses, as they are now referred to by passengers, have been introduced following a pilot scheme undertaken on the busy Peebles to Edinburgh route earlier this year. Its aim was to determine the demand for a greener transport solution focused on reducing car journeys, traffic congestion and encouraging active travel.

The pilot scheme was so successful that Borders Buses has moved quickly to introduce the 10 new, hi-spec Enviro200s on three key routes, the X95 Carlisle to Edinburgh via Hawick and Galashiels, the X62 Galashiels to Edinburgh via Peebles and the 253 Berwick to Edinburgh service via Dunbar and Haddington.

In addition, a further 10 Enviro200s will be introduced by the end of February next year, all forming part of the multi-million drive by Borders Buses to establish Scotland’s first wide-spread network of bike friendly bus routes. Each of the 20 new ADL single deck buses is fitted with two bicycle racks and has seating for 38 passengers. They are powered by Cummins six-cylinder, low emission engines with stop-start capability and have Voith automatic transmissions.

Colin Craig, Managing Director of parent company West Coast Motors, said: “The areas we cover include some of the most popular destinations in the UK for cyclists and our trials on the X62 Galashiels-Peebles-Edinburgh route have proved conclusively that pedal power and horsepower do work together.

“We very much see bus as part of the active travel solution and this initiative introduces a fantastic new dimension to sustainable greener travel. We recognise cyclists are prepared to ditch their cars for our bike-and-bus combination, all of which is great news in terms of reducing traffic congestion and vehicle emissions, enhancing the environment and encouraging people to jump on a bike and get active.”

Daimler begins 3D printing of parts

11 December 2019

Daimler Buses is taking an innovative approach to spare parts…producing them directly from a 3D printer.

The new system, which will see top quality parts manufactured and customised to meet customer requirements, will mean parts are available more quickly.

Using 3D printing, Daimler’s bus division can quickly, flexibly, economically and environmentally responsibly react to urgent customer requirements, and in particular in the case of rarely ordered components or special customer requests.

This includes covers and handles, and even extends as far as a diverse range of individual brackets.

Today, complex, non-safety-relevant 3D printed components, which until now comprised several individual components such as plastic caps for metal fixtures and hinges, are already being used in interiors of Daimler models.

However, the brand’s Centre of Competence for 3D Printing is examining the feasibility of more than 300,000 parts from across its range for possible 3D printing.