Electric trucks are becoming a reality, in California, with electrified overhead power cables providing the power to trucks delivering to the ports. Diesel News’ US Correspondent, Steve Sturgess, reports.
There is little doubt this dawn of the age of autonomous trucks represents the paradigm shift which will take trucking much further in the 21st century. The developments in recent years have seen quantum shift after quantum shift in what automated systems can do. Read more
The latest from Diesel News this week includes a Linfox Appointment, VW/Navistar, Tesla, TMC, Hydrogen Trucks and a New Scania Team, plus 3D Printing and Strong Truck Sales.
Terry Quinnell has been appointed Linfox President – Retail after 40 years’ experience in the logistics industry. Quinnell began his career as a Linfox driver in 1978, and has managed some of Linfox’s largest customers as Vice President – Retail, plus spent nine years as General Manager – Woolworths. He recently led the development and implementation of Linfox’s new subcontractor management system FOXLink. Read more
From 2020, in London, the kind of trucks will be very different from those currently entering the city. Diesel News’ European Correspondent, Brian Weatherley, reports on the latest moves to boost direct driver vision in the nation’s capital.
What’s happening in London today could well happen in Sydney, Brisbane or Perth tomorrow. No? Don’t be so sure (in fact, it’s beginning to happen in Melbourne now).
In a bid to reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries arising from collisions between trucks and vulnerable road users or ‘VRUs’ (that’s primarily cyclists and pedestrians), Transport for London (TfL), the authority that regulates all surface transport in the city, has unveiled its very own Direct Vision Standard (DVS) for HGVs (heavy goods vehicles) working in the capital.
While it’s currently seen as a London initiative it could well gain traction in other British cities.
What TfL is proposing is to categorise the direct vision from a truck cab according to a zero to five star-rating system, with zero stars applied to those with the lowest direct vision and five the highest. For ‘Direct’ vision, simply read what drivers can see by looking through the windscreen and side windows of their cab, as opposed to indirect vision provided by mirrors, sensors or cameras.
Right now TfL is negotiating with the truck makers to agree on what the finished standard should look like, but whatever the outcome the DVS has to go through three separate consultation periods (the first ended in April) before it can become law. However, TfL’s end-game is that trucks with a ‘zero’ star rating will be banned from London’s streets from January 2020, while only those with three stars or more (classified as having a good/high rating under the planned standard) will be allowed on London’s roads by 2024.
If you’re wondering what trucks might fall within that zero-star category, in broad terms we’re talking about those ‘N3G’ construction trucks (e.g. tippers and mixers) with high-mounted cabs and high ground clearance.
Why them especially? Because N3G trucks, which spend a significant proportion of their time off-road, have been identified in accident research as having greater blind spots and being involved in more cyclist collisions in London than your average on-road model. Furthermore, tests have confirmed that the height of a cab, and consequently the height of its driving position, can significantly affect how much direct vision a driver has.
While taller cabs are great on a motorway, allowing you to see well ahead, when you’re driving in the city you need to be seated lower down if you want a good view of what’s happening around the front and nearside front corner of a truck, i.e. the classic accident blind-spot on a right-hand drive truck turning left.
In the news this week have been a Top Female Driver, Australian Truck Manufacturing, Penske Dealership Change and Autonomous Trucks and the need for supporting infrastructure.
Tasmanian Kerri Connors, of Caltas, was named winner of the 2017 Volvo Drivers’ Fuel Challenge on-road category in a competition which put Australia’s most fuel-efficient drivers head to head. The off-road title was claimed by Cameron Simpson of Simpson’s Fuel in Victoria. Over a two-day event at Mt Cotton in Queensland, the competition was whittled down from 17 drivers in the semi-final, to nine in the final. Read more
For livestock transporters, the subject of rollovers is particularly delicate. Much of the livestock transporting industry runs with trucks at 4.6 metres in overall height. This obviously creates a high centre of gravity in a load which can also move about on a vehicle. A recipe for disaster.
Safety issues are constantly being looked at in all transport, but different aspects of the issues are of interest to different sectors. The science behind rollovers is little understood in the trucking industry and Mike Robertson, Managing Director and Engineering Manager at Engistics, took on the subject for the livestock community to help bring the issues into a clearer light.
Sometimes truck makers seem to renew a model just for the sake of having something new to say, but sometimes they have something new to say without needing a major update. At Fuso it would seem the latter is the case, with many changes to the brand without much cosmetic change to the trucks on offer.
The world of the Japanese truck manufacturers in Australia is a very clear-cut one. Often the trucks are a commodity, it is difficult to differentiate between them, from the customers point of view. This sector of the market relies a lot less on the kind of emotional and traditional buying decisions we see occurring in the heavy-duty line-haul prime mover sector. Read more
This week, alternative power for trucks is on the agenda with Electric Power For Cummins, Fuel Cells and Hybrid Vans in Diesel News.
A Belgian hydrogen technology company has won a European Union grant to develop a new extended range fuel cell truck. The H2Share Project will see a 27-tonne electric, fuel cell-extended range, rigid truck going into service, with the chassis and body provided by Dutch manufacturer VDL.
The truck will be developed alongside its own mobile refuelling system, which is being coordinated by German technology firm Wystrach. The truck will be put on trial in six locations across Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and France. The aim is to demonstrate the long-term viability of hydrogen fuel cells for long distances, as well as urban applications, with a view to creating a technology roadmap for the rollout of a proper hydrogen fuel cell refuelling network for road transport in northern Europe.
For some workshops it’s all about straightforward servicing, for others, handling more repairs can strengthen the business. Diesel News has been talking to one such workshop in Adelaide.
South Australia is tough on trucks. They pull high masses at high average speeds for long trips, this makes plenty of work for repair shops. Engines, turbos, diffs and transmissions need to be replaced and if the truck does crash at high speed the body shop has a major task on its hands. Read more
We may like to indulge in nostalgia in the trucking world, but this is the modern world we are talking about. Sometimes it is difficult to separate the real facts from the myths and legends in this industry.
What we do know is thirty or forty years ago, there were a lot of rogues in the industry. The boundaries of possibilities were stretched to breaking point on a regular basis until it became normal practice.
In fact, anyone working in the trucking industry was putting their life on the line every night, out on the major highways. What was going on out there has been passed down to us in the stories told by those who lived it, or thought they did. Some of the stuff makes your hair stand on end and is unthinkable today.
However, look around the industry today and there are still plenty of rogues, but most of them are now reformed rogues, who have seen the light, got with the program and try to run a clean and safe operation. They have woken up to the modern world and realised the error of their ways from when they were young and wild.
This is not to say the wild rogue days are completely gone. There will always be folk who seem driven to break the rules, just for the sake of breaking them. However, for the reformed rogue it is simply a matter of doing their best to do the right thing.
The important factor in all of this is the passion which is carried over into the modern way of working. These people were passionate about their trucks and trucking. This meant they often didn’t see just how far outside of legal behaviour they were pushing themselves. They just wanted to get the job done as fast and as heavy as they could get away with.
The trucking industry is going to be fine as long as that passion doesn’t go away, but this is the modern world we’re talking about. Passion now needs to be about everyone coming home safe every day, about being the responsible citizen and positively effecting safety throughout a trucking operation.
Sometimes this modern stuff all seems to go too far and anyone with a longish memory can remember when they could get away with a bit of risky behaviour and it was all okay. Well, it’s not okay anymore. The risks are higher and the consequences much, much worse, both legally and physically.
Nostalgia is a wonderful thing and those stories from the old days are great, but when we imagine our modern selves in those situations it sends a shudder down the spine, or it should!