New £19m London fuel-cell fleet

GreenFleet magazine reports that the first of eight hydrogen fuel cell buses went to work in London on 18 December.  The buses have been developed by ISE, Wrightbus and Ballard and run on the RV1 service between Aldwych and Tower Hill.  It will make this Britain’s first zero-emissions bus route.  The project will cost £19million over four years, jointly funded by TfL, the Department of Energy and Climate Change and the European Union via the Clean Hydrogen in Cities project.
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Christmas quiz queries

Some of the answers to questions provoked some lively debate.  The answer to Nr 19 is Alan Alda, not Alder; my apologies to the gentleman.  The Doldrums, in question 35 are in the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans, not just the Indian.  It is a band of light and unpredictable winds around the equator.  I got that wrong too.  But the Tour de France was the subject of most concern.  I gave Lance Armstrong as having won the race a record six times, which is what his website said.  Many cyclists insist he won seven times.  Then the Tour de France website told me that Fabian Cancellara won the 2010 event.  But it didn’t tell me that a drug abuse query raises continued questions over his victory.  So I may have inadvertently misled you; more apologies to all concerned.
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And finally

New Scientist’s Feedback page says reader Robert Milne got an unusual e-mail from about courses and events on the topic of “Sustainability”. One of these, at the UK’s Centre for Alternative Technology, is a “Compost toilet taster day”.
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The market is recovering

“There is absolutely no question that the market is recovering.”  So said Ray Ashworth, UK managing director for Daf Trucks, at a recent press function.  “The low point was last March, but since then we’ve seen the market grow from half its former size.”  He says rental and contract hire businesses are behind much of the recent demand and the surge in registrations, mostly for tractor units.  Used truck prices are also rising on the back of shortage of stock.  Importantly, Ashworth is confident that these are all “precursors of a stable market.”
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First Scania R 730 goes to work

Wright Self Drive of Welshpool just got the first 730 hp Scania V8 tractor unit.  This makes the Welsh transport firm the first operator to take a Scania R 730, recently launched as the world’s most powerful truck.  The truck in question is a tag-axle 6×2 tractor with Scania Opticruise gearbox, Scania Driver Support and ‘Griffin’ standard sleeper cab.  It will do sub-contract work, pulling fridge, low loader and forestry trailers both in the UK and on the continent.  The firm runs five other Scanias and 20 vans and light trucks.  West Pennine Trucks did the deal and its Oswestry depot will do the maintenance.
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A+ rating for Paccar

Speaking to press recently, Ray Ashworth, UK boss for Daf Trucks confirmed that parent company Paccar now has an A+ rating from Standard and Poor.  This is the highest score for any truck maker.  The firm reported a $2.7bn turnover from January to September this year and recently announced an extra cash dividend of $0.30 a share.  “Paccar has emerged from the recession in good financial position and is significantly increasing investment in new products and global markets.”
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ADL extends hybrid range

Alexander Dennis Limited says it will extend its “hugely successful” hybrid-electric bus range with a range of 19 tonne, 12m hybrid single-deckers.  The first, recently shown in Madrid and designed for Continental markets uses the same BAE Systems hybrid technology that ADL uses successfully in existing single and double-deckers.  The firm has developed the first of the new single deck hybrids with Tata Hispano, which will have exclusive rights to market the product in Spain and Portugal.  Collectively, ADL hybrid buses have now covered 2.2m km, cut fuel use and CO2 emissions by 30% with availability and reliability figure of some 97%.
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More MX engines

Paccar says its new engine factory in Columbus, Mississippi is hiking MX engine production to cope with demand from Peterbilt and Kenworth customers.  Jim Cardillo, Paccar president says the firm is fitting the 12.9 litre engine, from the Daf XF105 range in over 20% of Kenworth and Peterbilt Class 8 trucks.  “This reflects customer recognition of the excellent power-to-weight ratio, fuel economy and reliability of the MX engine,” says Cardillo.  The engine delivers 90,000 km service intervals that can stretch to 150,000km with synthetic oil and a centrifugal oil filter.  It also meets Euro 5 and EEV emission standards.
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Teesport deal cuts 100,000 tea miles

Middlesborough-based PD Logistics has three new Cartwright Cheetah Fastback Trailers for a new, 10-year contract with tea and coffee merchant, Taylors of Harrogate.  The deal was based on a complete overhaul of Taylors’ distribution chain.  Previously most off its imports arrived via Felixstowe, with the rest coming through Tilbury.  Now all will go through Teesport.  The new distribution deal will cut 100,000 miles a year, with the Cheetahs running in Taylors’ Yorkshire Tea livery.
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Daf LF Hybrid in production

Daf started production of its LF based hybrid distribution truck on Thursday 9 December at its Leyland Trucks plant.  The vehicle uses a parallel diesel electric hybrid system; a diesel engine drives the truck directly or via an electric motor or a combination of both.  The system delivers fuel and emission savings of between 10 and 20%, depending on use.  The 12 tonne truck has a 4.5 litre Paccar 160 hp diesel that meets EEV emission standards.  This drives through an automatic Eaton six-speed gearbox with an electric motor between the clutch and gearbox; the unit can provide power or work as a generator, storing energy in lithium-ion batteries for use when accelerating.  The truck is only 300kg heavier than a standard model and offers a 7.5 tonne payload capacity.
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