Do Electric Trucks Make Sense?

The question on the lips of many in the trucking industry is do electric trucks make sense? The answer, this year, is probably no, but what about next year? Or the year after that, the world of electric power is changing fast and we are at a tipping point, where they may start to make sense. Read more

Truck Platooning in Japan

Truck Platooning in Japan

A field trial of truck platooning in Japan shows how the new technology is spreading across the globe and sees a much more cooperative approach to the subject from the Japanese Government.


Truck Platooning in Japan



The trial took place this week on a highway in Tokyo’s West. It is part of a project to bring the platooning concept to the Asian industrial giant. Japan, like many developed countries, suffers from an acute driver shortage and concepts like platooning are seen as a way of overcoming this problem.


Interestingly the project involves all four of the Japanese truck manufacturers we are familiar with in Australia, Isuzu, Hino, Fuso and UD. A company called Toyota Tsusho is also involved representing a number of interested parties, including the Japanese Government.


The trucks used in the first tests include representatives of all of the truck brands involved. Running in a tight group on the highway the 6×2 rigid truck held a spacing of about 35 metres apart as they headed down the highway at 80 km/h. These test drives are scheduled between January 23 and February 1 on Shin-Tomei Expressway southwest of Tokyo and on Kita-Kano Expressway, north of the Japanese capital.


The Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) initiated the platooning test. It is part of the Japanese government’s Future Strategy 2017. This strategy aims to roll out innovations like the Internet of Things, big data and artificial intelligence across all industries. In the commercial vehicle sector, truck platooning is expected to contribute to the reduction of fuel consumption and to lower CO2-emissions. In addition, truck platooning will help with Japan’s dramatic driver shortage issue.


Japan is rated 11th in the world on the KPMG Autonomous Vehicles Readiness Index, well below the leading countries in the world, The Netherlands, Singapore, USA and Sweden. However, in the Index’s analysis of the readiness of the road infrastructure to handle autonomous vehicles and platooning, Japan is ranked just 3rd.


The issue for Japan is, in fact, consumer acceptance, which is very low, 16th in the world. Trials like those taking place in Tokyo are aimed at trying to allay public fears and mistrust of the new technology.


Hino Going Auto


Incidentally, Australia is ranked below Japan in the AVRI, at 14th. Although our consumer acceptance rating is much higher than Japan, France and South Korea, our road infrastructure is deemed well below the levels achieved in Europe. However, we are considered better prepared than New Zealand and Canada.


Overall, Singapore is reckoned to be number one in preparation of its policy and regulation, while the US is classified as the leader in technology and innovation, The Netherlands leads the infrastructure ladder and the highest consumer acceptance is in Singapore, a country which has lived with driverless trains for some time.


Langworthy Stepping Down, an Isuzu Concept and an Electric Truck with 350km Range

Langworthy Stepping Down, an Isuzu Concept and an Electric Truck with 350km Range

Keeping up with the world of trucks, the news this week is about Peter Langworthy Stepping Down, an Isuzu Concept and an Electric Truck with 350km Range.


Langworthy Stepping Down, an Isuzu Concept and an Electric Truck with 350km Range

At the Tokyo Motor Show, Fuso Trucks announced it will electrify its complete range of trucks and buses in upcoming years. The show saw the unveiling of the E-Fuso, an all-electric heavy-duty truck concept with a range of up to 350 m. Named E-Fuso Vision One, it is said to mark the top end of the electrification path of the company’s portfolio in the upcoming years.


Our E-Fuso Vision One is an outlook on a feasible all-electric heavy-duty truck,” said Marc Llistosella, President and CEO of Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus. “It underlines our commitment to electrify our complete product range. Fuso has been a pioneer in the electrification of trucks for many years.


“Just one month ago we launched our eCanter, the first serial-produced, all-electric light-duty truck. In the future, all our electrified vehicles will run under the name of E-Fuso, our new product brand dedicated exclusively to electric trucks and buses. With the eCanter, we have proven electric trucks are feasible for commercialisation. Today, our eCanter saves up to 1,000 Euros ($1,533) in running costs per 10,000km.


Dana Boss to Step Down


Peter Langworthy, Managing Director at Dana, has announced he will be stepping down from his role at the end of the year, after steering the company out of the choppy waters surrounding the decision by Ford to stop manufacturing cars in Australia.


Over the seven years Langworthy has been running the Dana operation in Australia, he has had to transform the company from one supplying components to the Ford plant in Campbellfield, Victoria, to a more targeted supplier of axles, differentials and other components to the truck manufacturing industry and other automotive applications. The transformation has seen the operation move from a number of older facilities to one large, purpose-built plant and HQ building in Keysborough in Melbourne’s east.

Langworthy Stepping Down, an Isuzu Concept and an Electric Truck with 350km Range 

Isuzu Concept On Show


Also appearing at the Tokyo Motor Show is a concept model of a truck designed based on a honeycomb from Isuzu. Design Concept FD-SI, is said by Isuzu to be focused on ‘swarm intelligence’, which is observed in insects.


Seeing the lateral side of the truck as a honeycomb, Isuzu came up with a structure that houses hexagonal boxes. By effectively using the luggage space, it becomes possible to improve pickup/delivery efficiency. The driver’s seat is located in the centre so that the driver can easily move in and outside the truck.


One commentator reporting from the show called the concept Isuzu’s honeycombed ‘toaster on wheels’.


Langworthy Stepping Down, an Isuzu Concept and an Electric Truck with 350km Range
Nic Topping, Product Development Manager, Isuzu Australia.

Meanwhile, back in Australia, Isuzu has announced Nic Topping will take on the role of Product Development Manager. He moves into his new role after serving as a Product Development Engineer at Ford Australia, and is said to be eager to sink his teeth into this ‘dynamic, hands-on role’ in the heavy vehicle sector.


“It’s going to be an excellent opportunity to make sure every aspect of an Isuzu truck, from the emissions coming out of the exhaust, to the appointments in the cabin, has been engineered for application-specific purposes and then tested rigorously in a local environment,” said Topping. “Isuzu wants to present the best possible product offering to the Australian truck buyer, and I’m excited to play a part in the team around me as we strive towards that goal.”

Isuzu In, Autonomous Safety, Vice Grips and Electric Vans

Isuzu In, Autonomous Safety, Vice Grips and Electric Vans

This week in Diesel News, Isuzu In, Autonomous Safety, Vice Grips and Electric Vans.

Isuzu In, Autonomous Safety, Vice Grips and Electric Vans

Truck manufacturer Isuzu has announced its support of multi-modal supply chain event MEGATRANS2018, joining the show as a Platinum Sponsor.


Isuzu, market leader in Australian truck sales for 28 consecutive years, joins key partners including the Victorian Government and the Port of Melbourne in supporting this inaugural trade show event, which takes over the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre 10-12 May 2018.


With a focus on connected vehicles and a technology-driven display in the works for MEGATRANS2018, Isuzu is aiming to set a new benchmark in the wider supply-chain industry.


“The discussion and hype surrounding autonomous, or driverless, vehicles and technologies continue to build both overseas and here in Australia,” said Phil Taylor, Director and COO of Isuzu. “Disruptive technologies appear to be becoming more prevalent with each new year, fundamentally changing the way the market will look at the road transport industry over the next few decades.


“There is one thing that I know for certain, whatever the technology, or the timeframe – Isuzu will ensure that Australian truck operators have access to the latest innovations in truck technology that are suitable for Australian operating conditions, driving better safety outcomes for all road users and improving air quality, productivity and the bottom line for the operator.”


Isuzu In, Autonomous Safety, Vice Grips and Electric Vans 

Vice Grips on Brakes


A man has been reported for acts to endanger life after the truck he was driving was found to have inoperable brakes, according to the South Australian Police.

Just before 6.00am, 9 October, police from the heavy-vehicle enforcement section allegedly detected a truck at Leawood Gardens travelling toward Adelaide on the South Eastern Freeway at 90km/h. Police stopped the truck to check its mass and found that the rear brakes had been clamped off with vice grips and the front brakes were inoperable.



Safe Autonomous Vehicles


Road trauma in Australia and New Zealand could be significantly reduced by the adoption of technologies that change the way drivers use vehicles, new research published by Austroads has found.


The ‘Safety Benefits of Cooperative ITS and Automated Driving’ report, completed by the Monash University Accident Research Centre (MUARC) and funded by Austroads, investigated the benefits of key Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems (C-ITS) and automated driving applications.


The report draws on an in-depth examination of data to understand whether real-world serious injury crashes in Australia and New Zealand could have been prevented if technologies such as forward collision warning, curve speed warning, intersection movement assist, right turn assist, lane keeping assist and auto emergency braking were fitted in all light passenger vehicles.

 Isuzu In, Autonomous Safety, Vice Grips and Electric Vans

Alternate Power for Vans


The Iveco Daily Blue Power range has been announced in Europe. The Daily Hi-Matic Natural Power is the first Compressed Natural Gas vehicle with an 8-speed automatic gearbox in a van. The Daily Euro 6 RDE Ready is the first van ready for 2020 Real Driving Emissions regulations, as verified by the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO). Daily Electric is a zero-emissions vehicle that enables a van to work in cities with the strictest traffic restrictions.


“In the face of the current push for decarbonisation and increasing access restrictions in cities, being sustainable is fast becoming an important competitive advantage for transport businesses,” said Pierre Lahutte, Iveco Brand Presidentat the launch. “Sustainability has always been a core value for Iveco, and we saw long ago that our path to sustainable urban transport is through advanced diesel technology and alternative tractions such as electric and natural gas in particular.”

Toll Appointment, Western Star Awards, 40 Years of Lowes, Isuzu on Display and a Telematics Milestone

Toll Appointment, Western Star Awards, 40 Years of Lowes, Isuzu on Display and a Telematics Milestone

A Toll Appointment, Western Star Awards, 40 Years of Lowes, Isuzu on Display and a Telematics Milestone in this week’s Diesel News.

New CFO for Toll

Toll Appointment, Western Star Awards, 40 Years of Lowes, Isuzu on Display and a Telematics Milestone

Toll Holdings is taking action on its promised executive reshuffle, appointing a new Chief Financial Officer to help it return to profitability on the back of its $1.43 billion loss.

Toll Holding has appointed former Treasury Wine Estates finances boss, Noel Meehan, as its new CFO, effective 20 September, The Australian has reported.

“Noel brings significant commercial acumen and leadership capabilities to Toll,” Toll’s Managing Director, Michael Byrne, told the newspaper.

“He will be pivotal in supporting our transformation program by providing a transparent, disciplined and highly focused approach to our financial reporting and building a high-performing global finance function.”


Western Star Anniversary Party

Toll Appointment, Western Star Awards, 40 Years of Lowes, Isuzu on Display and a Telematics Milestone


There was a great range of trucks on display at Penske Commercial Vehicles’ Western Star Trucks ‘Show n Shine’ event, held on 9 September.
The event celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Western Star Trucks brand, and featured a range of activities including appearances by Shell V-Power Racing drivers Fabian Coulthard and Scott McLaughlin, a Shell V-Power Racing car and MC Neil Crompton.
Held at the Mt Cotton Training Centre, the trucks on display were judged and over $50,000 worth of prizes were awarded across a range of categories, including KS Easter’s customised 200th truck which took out both the ‘Truck of the Show’ and the ‘Best Western Star under five years’ awards.
“It was a fantastic day seeing all the Western Star and White trucks on display looking their best!” said Kevin Dennis, Managing Director, Penske Commercial Vehicles.
“We know how passionate Western Star owners are, so it was a pleasure to host the Show n Shine and have such a great turnout of owners and drivers and their families and friends.
“In keeping with Penske’s customers first philosophy, our aim is to meet directly with customers through our events and through our dealers.”

Show and Shine award winners:

Truck of the Show
K S Easter
Western Star 4800FXB ‘200th’ truck

Best Western Star under five years (1–5 years)
K S Easter
Western Star 4800FXB ‘200th’ truck

Best Western Star under 10 years (5–10 years)
Corbet’s Group
Western Star 4900 truck

Best Western Star over 10 years (10 years and beyond)
North QLD Truck & Machinery Movements
Western Star 4800FXC ‘PhatCat’ truck

Best Western Star Fleet
K S Easter
Western Star 4800FXBs and 5800 trucks

Best Western Star Tipper
Vince Humphreys
Western Star 4800 truck

Best Heritage White Truck
TRN Haulage
White Road Commander




Four Decades of Lowes

Toll Appointment, Western Star Awards, 40 Years of Lowes, Isuzu on Display and a Telematics Milestone

Lowes Petroleum Service has celebrated 40 years in business by partnering with not-for-profit, MND and Me Foundation, to raise funds for people living with Motor Neurone Disease.

“As part of our celebrations we have partnered with the MND and Me Foundation to raise funds to care and to cure Motor Neurone Disease,” the company said.

“Two Australians each day are diagnosed and die from Motor Neurone Disease, with a further 14 people forever affected by the diagnosis. MND and Me focus on four key areas – care, research, awareness and community engagement.

“Lowes is proud to partner with MND and Me to support patients and families during their time of need, to care and to cure. Lowes has been serving regional communities for 40 years, together through the good times and the challenging times.”

Lowes was founded in Boggabilla, New South Wales, in 1977 and started business with one driver and a single truck, serving regional Australia.


Isuzu on Display at Henty Machinery Field Days


Isuzu will showcase its off-highway engines at the Henty Machinery Field Days festival in Henty, New South Wales, 19–21 September.

“We’re really excited to be headed back to Henty Field Days after last year’s experience, which was really positive,” said Rod Best, Isuzu Engines Sales Manager.

“In the agricultural sector, productivity, reliability and efficiency are really important. Isuzu staff will be there to showcase our off-highway engines and to demonstrate their applications and capacities.

“This year’s display will include a substantial selection of our range and we’ll have staff there to run through each engine, its usage, and to answer any queries,” he said.

According to Isuzu, a mix of engines – ranging between two, three, four and six-cylinder models – will be onsite for attendees to inspect, while experienced off-highway engine experts will be present to answer questions.



Major ANZ Milestone for Teletrac Navman

Toll Appointment, Western Star Awards, 40 Years of Lowes, Isuzu on Display and a Telematics Milestone

Telematics provider Teletrac Navman has reached the 100,000-asset milestone across its Australian and New Zealand customers.

It recently installed its GPS fleet tracking technology in the Safety MAN Road Safety Truck, an initiative led by the NZ Trucking Association.

“We work with thousands of companies across Aotearoa, from grassroots family businesses to large multinational operators in transport, construction and professional services, and we are thrilled to reach this milestone,” said Ian Daniel, Vice President and Managing Director Asia Pacific, Teletrac Navman.

“We track everything from powerful freight trucks to SPCA Auckland’s rescue vans, and nippy Domino’s Pizza delivery vehicles to tradies’ tool-laden utes. Our heritage is rooted in New Zealand and we proudly partner with our Kiwi customers to leverage technology to increase productivity and profitability of their businesses.”

The global fleet and asset management solutions provider’s beginnings trace back to Auckland in 1986, with vehicles in New Zealand and Australia representing around one fifth of the 550,000 vehicles and assets that Teletrac Navman tracks and manages worldwide.



Truck Sales Take Off, Isuzu Bullbars, Groeneveld Takeover and Penske Expansion

Truck Sales Take Off, Flynn Liquidation, Isuzu Bullbars and Penske Expansion

The news in the world of trucks this week includes Truck Sales Taking Off, Flynn Liquidation, Isuzu Bullbars, Groeneveld Takeover and a Penske Expansion.

Truck Sales Take Off, Isuzu Bullbars, Groeneveld Takeover and Penske Expansion

The latest sales figures released by the Truck Industry Council (TIC) suggest an optimistic trucking industry is starting to invest in more new trucks at the heavier end of the market. Although the light- and medium-duty markets have been relatively strong in recent years, the heavy-duty segment has been less dynamic.

The last few months have seen the mood change, with higher heavy-duty sales, especially, but not exclusively, of cab-overs. Kenworth had a good sales month at 212 new trucks registered, but four other brands sold over 100 trucks each, Volvo, Isuzu, Scania and Mack.

This means heavy-duty sales are well up on last year. The first half of 2016 saw 4,510 heavy-duty sales, whereas 2017’s first six months has seen 5,130 sales of heavy-duty trucks.

These aren’t massive rises, but do indicate a real increase in demand for the more expensive trucks on the market, suggesting improving conditions for operators using heavy trucks and a belief any upturn is likely to continue for some time.


Flynn Liquidation


Lismore-based company, Flynn Transport, has gone into voluntary liquidation, with all assets to be sold in efforts to settle debts to creditors.

Though it has been reported that the liquidation has been prompted by internal fraud, Morgan Lane, Partner of Worrells Solvency & Forensic Accountants which is handling the process, declined to comment on the matter.


Isuzu Bullbars


Truck Sales Take Off, Isuzu Bullbars, Groeneveld Takeover and Penske Expansion


Component maker for the automotive, truck and defence industries Abcor has announced a new five-year supplier contract with Isuzu to produce bull bars. The company says the deal represents the culmination of a long and involved development program with Isuzu in Japan and Australia to supply bull bars for Isuzu trucks for the Australian and New Zealand markets with potential to export to other Isuzu markets globally.


Penske to Perth


Truck Sales Take Off, Isuzu Bullbars, Groeneveld Takeover and Penske Expansion


Penske Truck Rental will commence operations in Perth effective on 1 August, expanding to five branches nationally. The new operation will co-locate with Penske Power Systems in the Hazelmere branch.

The new rental operation will offer a range of trucks for the Perth hire fleet including new 120‐tonne MAN TGX D38 prime movers, 45‐tonne MAN TGS 440 prime movers, and Western Star 2800 6×2 14‐pallet body trucks.


Groeneveld Takeover


Timken has reached an agreement with Henk Groeneveld for the acquisition of the Groeneveld Group. In over 45 years the Groeneveld Group has grown into a global player in the field of products and services for on- and off-road equipment. It is present in around 40 countries worldwide and has almost 600 employees and a manufacturing operation in Italy.

“I am proud that Groeneveld becomes part of Timken, a great company, which is in the benefit of all stakeholders, including employees, customers and suppliers,” said Henk Groeneveld, Non-Executive President, Groeneveld.

Wheelie Quick Isuzu

Wheelie Quick Isuzu

This is a wheelie quick Isuzu truck pulling off an incredible stunt back in a 1980s TV advert for the Japanese market. No wonder the Isuzu brand has been number one for so long here in Australia, no other truck can wheelie like this. Diesel News is still trying to figure out how they achieved this in the days before CGI and all of the other electronic magic.


For Hino, the eighties meant big hair:


Of course, for Fuso, the eighties was all about the sumo wrestler:

Baby Of The Bunch

Baby Of The Bunch

Diesel News got a chance at test driving N Series models released by Isuzu. The first cab off the rank is baby of the bunch, an NLR 45-150 fitted with a van body. Outward appearance is little changed over the previous N Series, with new badge work and larger turn signal repeaters on the doors being the most visible difference.

Baby Of The Bunch

For more than a decade the N Series cab has been a great example of functionality and space efficiency with its virtually oblong form. Yet despite the passage of time it remains modern and unpretentious which is why there’s no need for any major changes at this stage.

From the first moment of hopping into the cab a sensation of car-like ambience is powerfully evident, particularly after glancing at the new shifter. However, in my view there should be a few degrees more rake and longer telescopic adjustment of the steering column to cater for taller drivers. It might be a niggly thing but surely it wouldn’t be too hard, particularly given the stated importance of the Australian market to Isuzu Japan.

After firing it up and selecting D the car-like synergies keep coming as the NLR gently creeps forward thanks to the torque converter drive. Similarly, once underway the independent coil sprung front end soaks up the bumps extraordinarily well. Also impressive is the shift pattern of the AMT which seems to be a perfect match for the 3.0 litre diesel.

As with modern automatic cars, it progressively downshifts when slowing down. This combined with adequate exhaust brake retardation makes for sparing use of the service brakes and subsequent longer brake pad and disc life. Indeed, descending the Westgate bridge towards the city sees the loaded NLR holding steady at 70 km/h in 6th gear without any exhaust or service brake intervention. Cruising at 100 km/h in 6th sees the tacho needle resting on 2400 rpm.

Baby Of The Bunch

A number of roundabouts give rise to several tests of the kick-down function which proves invaluable for swift entry into small gaps in the traffic flow that would be foolish to attempt in a manual truck. With the pedal planted, acceleration is brisk and linear by Japanese light truck standards with upshifts occurring at 2400rpm in economy mode. Switching to power mode sees upshifts at 3200 rpm which really only waste fuel since peak torque of 375 Nm is delivered between 1600 and 2800 rpm.

Indeed, I’m not a fan of power mode in AMT-equipped trucks. Unlike petrol engines which produce more power at higher revs, modern diesels provide their best within the broad, flat band where maximum torque is produced. Far from improving performance, revving them harder simply makes more noise, uses more fuel and ultimately wears them out quicker.

Nearing the end of the test one final observation is noted after missing a turn and doing a quick ‘Ue’ in a narrow street. With precise rack and pinion steering and just 4.2 turns lock to lock, the NLR twirls around on a dime, negating the need for the customary three-point turn.

At the end of the day there’s no doubt about the improvements in driveability and performance due to the 3rd generation TC-AMT in the new N Series. Cleverly, Isuzu has effectively imbued a more car-like driving feel in its volume selling light truck, many examples of which are driven by car licence holders without truck driving experience. It’s this sort of canny perception of market needs and wants leading to progressive product improvement that’s kept Isuzu at the head of the pack for going on three decades.

An International Trucks Deal, Autonomous Trucks, Low Fuel Volvo and a New UD

An International Trucks Deal, Autonomous Trucks, Low Fuel Volvo and a New UD

The headlines this week include An International Trucks Deal, Autonomous Trucks, Low Fuel Volvo and a New UD, plus a top Isuzu dealer award, in Diesel News.


An International Trucks Deal, Autonomous Trucks, Low Fuel Volvo and a New UD


Volvo Trucks’ new concept is claimed to drastically boost productivity in long-haul operations. The Swedish truck maker reckon it cuts fuel consumption by more than 30 per cent. There is said to be a 40 per cent improvement in aerodynamic efficiency on the prime mover and trailer.


“We’ve modified the entire rig and optimised it for improved aerodynamics as much as possible,” said Åke Othzen, Chief Project Manager at Volvo Trucks. “For instance, we use cameras instead of rear-view mirrors. This cuts air resistance, so less energy is needed to propel the truck.”


The concept vehicle is also fitted with newly developed tyres with lower rolling resistance. The trailer weighs two tonnes less than the reference trailer, which translates into either lower fuel consumption or the possibility of higher payload.


An International Trucks Deal, Autonomous Trucks, Low Fuel Volvo and a New UD


Navistar International has announced the result of its strategic alliance with Volkswagen, which includes an equity investment in Navistar by Volkswagen and framework agreements for a procurement joint venture and strategic technology and supply collaboration.


Volkswagen has acquired approximately 16.2 million newly issued shares in Navistar, representing 16.6 per cent of the stock. As a result, Navistar receives $340 million to be used for general corporate purposes.


“This alliance with Volkswagen Truck & Bus marks a significant milestone in our company’s history, and we expect it will create multiple benefits for both companies in both the near and long term,” said Troy Clarke, Chairman, President and CEO, Navistar. “Now that the transaction has closed, we will move quickly to collaborate with an industry-leading, strategic partner to increase our global scale, strengthen our competitiveness.”



A company called Embark is testing an autonomous truck on the roads of Nevada in the US. It uses a combination of radars, cameras and LiDARs to see where it is. The system then uses Deep Neural Nets to work out what it doing and control the truck.


The system is claimed to be able to see through glare, fog and darkness on its own, and is said to have bee programmed with a set of rules to help safely navigate ‘most’ situations.


An International Trucks Deal, Autonomous Trucks, Low Fuel Volvo and a New UD
Isuzu Business Planning Manager and Company Secretary, Paul Evans, with Isuzu MD and CEO Hiroshi Nishizaka and DOTY winner Ian Deacon



The Isuzu Trucks National Dealer of the Year crown for 2016 was announced in Sydney at the 2017 Isuzu national dealer meeting. The award was presented to Ballarat Isuzu and Dealer Principal Ian Deacon.


Isuzu said this locally-owned dealership has consistently demonstrated excellence in selling and servicing new and used vehicles to the Ballarat region for more than 25 years. Deacon said there was no secret to Ballarat Isuzu’s success, “just a lot of hard work.”



In Japan, UD Trucks launched Croner, an all-new medium duty truck, specifically for its growth markets across Asia, Africa, Middle-East and South America.


“UD Trucks believes that more time spent on the road and less time in the workshop adds up to the success of our customers’ business,” said Jacques Michel, President, Volvo Group Trucks Asia & JVs Sales. “It is our aim for Croner to make every moment count, through maximising productivity and minimising downtime on every run our customers make.”


The truck is a 4×2 with a GVM of 10.4 or 11 tonnes, using the five litre GH5E engine, putting out 180 hp (136 kW), 210 hp (157 kW) or 240 hp (179 kW) and 750 Nm, 825 Nm or 900 Nm of torque. It comes with either an automated or manual six speed transmission and will be rated at either Euro 3 or Euro 4, depending upon which market it is in.

Light Duty Powering Ahead

N Series AMT is Much Improved

Since it first saw service in Isuzu trucks back in 2005, the The N Series AMT is much improved. For many, the first generation AMT left a bit to be desired in terms of shift quality and smoothness and this issue was addressed with the release of the 2nd generation unit in 2007. This was achieved largely through the use of a new linear solenoid arrangement and more efficient transmission to engine communication. By this stage the AMT had been made available in most models across the N Series range.

N Series AMT is Much Improved

Fast forward ten years and Isuzu has raised the bar again with the 3rd generation TC-AMT available across the N Series 4×2 range. According to Simon Humphries, the TC-AMT used in NLR and NNR models provides a torque multiplication factor of 1.55 times, providing improved response from a standing start and a smoother drive experience.

In essence, it combines the best features of both automatic and manual transmissions. The torque multiplication factor producing zippy acceleration from a standing start while also featuring a lock up function that provides direct coupling to the AMT for optimised fuel economy. Other technical changes that help in this respect include a reduction in the ratio gap between 2nd and 3rd and also 3rd and 4th gears.

N Series AMT is Much Improved

Given a large proportion of N Series models are GVM rated at 4,500kg enabling them to be driven by car licenced drivers, Isuzu’s engineers have been at pains to make the driving experience as car-like as possible. Hence there is now a kick down detent on the accelerator pedal. This feature has been developed specifically for the Australian market where roundabouts are a regular occurrence and the need to accelerate swiftly to enter the traffic flow is paramount.

“Roundabouts are not a common feature of the Japanese road landscape,” explained Simon Humphries,Isuzu Chief Engineer. “So once again we have developed this with Isuzu Motors for Australia. The end result is a predictable response when the accelerator is depressed beyond the detent.”

Continuing the car-like theme, TC-AMT also includes a new shift lever with a Park position that engages a parking pawl on the transmission that is capable of holding a fully laden truck when parked on a slope. As with cars, the P position needs to be engaged to start the engine although there is a button on the shifter that enables engine starting in other positions as may be necessary in an emergency.

“The TC-AMT with P position combined with the economical 3 litre 4JJ1 engine offers a driveline that delivers outstanding performance and is suited to our local conditions,” adds Humphries. “Isuzu Australia is the first market outside Japan to get the new 3rd generation TC-AMT, which is an indication of the high standing and importance Isuzu Motors Japan places on our market.”

Other enhancements to the N Series include the introduction of Isuzu Electronic Stability Control (IESC) and rear disc brakes to the popular NQR model. This completes the roll-out of IESC to the 4×2 N Series range, ensuring maximum safety for operators and other road users. IESC uses data from a variety of sensors fed to an electronic hydraulic control unit that in turn effects changes to engine torque and individual wheel brake applications when abnormal circumstances such as wheel slip and unwanted directional changes are detected. It corrects these by reducing power to the drive wheels and applying strategic braking force to the appropriate wheel(s).

Six new variants have expanded the N Series’ already prolific range, including the NNR 65-150 MWB in both manual and AMT guises. Powered by the 3 litre 4JJ1 engine, these models are rated at 6,500kg GVM. According to Humphries, this is the first time Isuzu has used the small displacement engine in a 6,500kg GVM truck. He says it shows Isuzu’s confidence in the performance and durability of the power plant as well as a general trend towards employing smaller capacity high output engines in higher GVM vehicles. Also new are the smaller NNR 55- and 45-150 units, with respective GVMs of 5.5 and 4.5 tonnes, which boast larger rear disc brakes than lesser rated variants.