Horses For Courses For Construction Trucks

Horses For Courses For Construction Trucks

 

It’s all about horses for courses for construction trucks according to Diesel News European Correspondent, Brian Weatherley. Following the arrival of Iveco’s latest X-Way construction range, he explains what’s behind the Northern Hemisphere’s increasingly segmented multi-wheeler market.

 

I’m all for demystifying things, but first let’s make one thing clear. European tippers and mixers can take a ‘battering’. It’s just that in recent years there’s been a growing segmentation within the multi-wheeler market reflecting the fact that not every six or eight-wheeler spends its life up to its diff-locks in muck and bullets.

 

If we’re talking about construction vehicles (typically your classic Pommie eight-legger) there are two distinct chassis classifications—‘N3’ and ‘N3G’—each with their own attributes. Put simply, the N3 chassis have a lower ground clearance and lower mounted cabs, usually due to the fitment of drop-beam front axles. They’re also required to have front under-run protection. Whilst not officially categorised for ‘off-road’ applications, on any working day you’ll still see plenty of N3 rigids toiling in the clag, though they’re more likely to be running on regular roads hauling asphalt, aggregates, animal feed or concrete. 

 

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Highway Hauling Iveco

The latest Eurocargo can also be regarded as a highway hauling Iveco, according to Diesel Correspondent Paul Matthei.

 

Highway Hauling Iveco

 

Due to access issues and tight loading docks, rigid trucks are often needed for deliveries in metropolitan areas. However, these same trucks – connected to a pig or dog trailer – could feasibly be used for linehaul work hauling high-cube, low-weight freight, thus maximising truck utilisation without compromising driver comfort and safety.

 

This is the conclusion I came to after testing the ML180 on a run along the Cunningham Highway between Brisbane and Warwick. In a nutshell, it felt equally at home cruising the highway as when negotiating suburban streets.

 

The test unit was grossing 13.7 tonnes, just over four tonnes shy of its 18 tonne gross vehicle mass (GVM) as I pulled out of Iveco’s Brisbane dealership and pointed the nose westward on the Ipswich motorway. It was immediately obvious with the relatively light payload that skip-shifting in the bottom box was the order of the day. With this in mind, it was easy to conclude that performance would be sufficient if a trailer were attached. Iveco doesn’t currently specify a gross combination mass rating for this vehicle, however, instead preferring to advise customers about towing applications on a case-by-case basis.

 

The whole duration of the drive I couldn’t stop being impressed by the buttery smooth, short-throw gearshift which made swapping cogs a real joy. Once up to highway speed, I found the ‘sweet spot’ of 95km/h at 1,800rpm optimum for cruising.

 

It was at this point, however, when overtaking a slower vehicle and looking to pull back into the left lane that I realised the worst of two gripes I have with this truck – the mirrors. For some reason, both main and spotter mirrors are convex, which makes it impossible to judge how far you are past the vehicle you’re overtaking. So unless you’re passing a courteous driver who gives you a flash of the high beams when you’re past, you have to go well beyond the vehicle before it seems safe to pull back in.

 

Highway Hauling Iveco

 

It’s also bad news when backing onto docks because the depth of field in the mirror is distorted by the convex lens, meaning you’re likely to hit the dock buffers harder than you should.

 

In short, the combination of flat main mirrors and convex spotters is essential to cover all bases, and having two convex mirrors each side is plain wrong. Hopefully, since it should be dead easy to change mirror lenses, Iveco will sort out this problem pronto.

 

While on the negatives, it was also disappointing to find no sun visor or roller shade on the driver’s side window. And the main sun visor doesn’t pivot around to the side either. Having deep side windows with no protection from the wicked Aussie summer sun is a good recipe for a hot-under-the-collar driver.

 

It’s been suggested that both the mirror and visor issues stem from the European origin of the vehicle but for me this just doesn’t cut it. Iveco has vast experience in this country and knows well the unique demands of our market. It’s a shame that such easily rectified issues have been allowed to slip through the cracks.

 

Highway Hauling Iveco

 

Anyhow, suitably pacified with dummy back in gob, it was easy to enjoy the many positive attributes of this truck, not least of which are the amazingly comfortable and quiet ride and outstanding all-round vision due to the aforementioned deep front and side glass. The Cunningham Highway is notoriously lumpy in certain sections and the Eurocargo, with its well-damped, four-point coil-over-shock cab suspension, simply soaked up the undulations with aplomb. Kudos also to the Isri chair, which worked in perfect synch with the cab suspension. In my estimation, the ride was at least the equal of a few different brands of European prime movers I’ve driven over this stretch recently.

 

Coming up the climb to Cunningham’s Gap, a couple of downchanges saw progress hold steady at 50km/h in sixth gear and 1,750rpm until a slower truck on the steepest section close to the summit forced a downchange to fifth. On the return journey, where there’s a lesser grade up to the Gap, I was quite surprised to see the Eurocargo charge up the ascent in top gear, topping the rise at 55km/h with the engine still pulling keenly at little more than 1,000rpm – yet another example of prime mover–like performance from this heavy rigid.

 

I was eager to see how the engine brake would perform on the steep decline east of the Gap and I certainly wasn’t disappointed. After selecting fifth, with the tacho needle rising to just shy of the redline at 2,500rpm, it held 50km/h all the way down – without so much as a touch on the foot brake. Impressive! Interestingly, it did this without making any undue noise, which could actually be the reason some believe engine brakes on small trucks are marginal at best.

 

On fuel consumption, according to the trip computer readout, over the previous 4,400km with a number of different drivers the truck had averaged 3.83km/l (26.1 l/100km or 10.8mpg).

 

Alighting from the truck after the five-hour journey, I felt as fresh as if I’d just driven down the road – testament to the fatigue-reducing qualities of a supremely quiet, comfortable and spacious driving environment. It’s a feeling I’ve not experienced before when driving trucks of this size.

 

Highway Hauling Iveco

 

At the end of the day, it adds up to a truck with the ability to multitask rather than be confined to a single role. With today’s transport industry demanding optimum efficiency and productivity from equipment, there’s the potential for Iveco to steal a march on its competitors with this truck. Whether this is realised or not could depend on the market’s ability to see the value-added attributes as tangible benefits to business that are worth paying a bit extra for. As always though, optimum after-sales support is paramount in providing customers with the peace of mind that their significant capital investment will consistently keep earning them money over its lifespan.

 

To sum up, during this test the new Eurocargo ML180 exceeded my expectations for a truck of this class. In this role it consistently left me feeling it was a man doing a boy’s job and therefore capable of greater things if utilised to its potential. In short, ‘the truck the city likes’ was equally at home in the country.

 

 

 

Iveco’s ‘Big Little’ Truck

Featuring a smooth Euro 6–compliant engine and the option of a high-roof cab, Iveco’s ‘Big Little’ Truck, the new Eurocargo ML180 ups the ante considerably over its predecessor. That’s the opinion of Paul Matthei after driving a loaded example from Brisbane to Warwick and back.

 

Iveco’s ‘Big Little’ Truck

 

Workplace health and safety (WHS) is a huge deal nowadays. And, as a person who has driven a variety of brands – both North American and European, throughout my 22-year driving career, I can vouch for the massive gains in driver comfort and safety that have been made over this period. With the Europeans typically leading the charge, trucks have evolved into increasingly sophisticated and safe pieces of machinery giving every responsible driver the utmost ability to do their job with the highest degree of professionalism – day in, day out.

 

There is a need for versatility and high utilisation in today’s truck and trailer combinations to cater for various applications. For example, due to access issues and tight loading docks, rigid trucks are often needed for deliveries in metropolitan areas. However, these same trucks – connected to a pig or dog trailer – could feasibly be used for line haul work hauling high-cube, low-weight freight, thus maximising truck utilisation without compromising driver comfort and safety.

 

This is the conclusion I came to after testing the ML180 on a run along the Cunningham Highway between Brisbane and Warwick. In a nutshell, it felt equally at home cruising the highway as when negotiating suburban streets.

 

With two wide steps and well-placed grab handles, entering the cab is easy and, settling into the top shelf Isri suspension seat with integrated seatbelt, I immediately sensed the ‘big truck’ feel. The impression was heightened (sorry!) considerably by the sense of space created by the cavernous high-roof cab – complete with sunroof – which, again, is quite unexpected in this type of vehicle. I must point out that the high-roof sleeper cab is an optional extra, but as a truckie who regularly spends long hours in the cab of a low-roof day-cab prime mover, I reckon it’d be worth every cent.

 

With bunk dimensions of 1,900 x 605 x 95mm, there’s a reasonable amount of space for sleeping, although it’s obviously more suited to those built for speed rather than comfort.

 

Iveco’s ‘Big Little’ Truck

 

The dash layout and semi-circular instrument cluster are very similar to those of the Stralis and PowerStar heavies in the Iveco range, adding further impetus to the large lorry theme. All vehicle information is easily accessed via a column-mounted wand – yet, moving the eyes to the left – what’s this? A ‘pudding stirrer’ sprouting from the dash – what a novelty! I hadn’t driven a manual truck in years and actually really enjoyed the experience; it was in fact a touch nostalgic.

 

As far as manual boxes go, this one’s a pearler. The shift action is pleasingly direct, nicely weighted and super smooth, with no slop in the lever at all. It’s a ZF nine-speed synchromesh with an H-over-H shift pattern and well-spaced ratios ranging from a 9.48:1 first to an overdrive 0.75:1. Curiously, at 8.97:1 the reverse ratio is substantially taller than first.

 

It runs a four-bag air-suspended Meritor MS13-165 rear axle rated at 11,500kg with a ratio of 4.1:1, offering 100km/h cruising at 1,900rpm. For those doing mainly metropolitan trips, running an Allison S3000 five-speed automatic coupled with a 4.3:1 diff ratio is available as an option. The 7,100kg-rated Iveco proprietary front axle features parabolic leaf springs and stabiliser bar. Huge 432 x 45mm ventilated discs with floating calipers on both axles take care of braking.

 

Iveco’s ‘Big Little’ Truck

 

As you would expect, there’s a raft of safety features, including anti-lock, anti-skid, stability control, hill hold, lane-departure warning and advanced emergency braking system. Tyres are 295/80R22.5 tubeless radials.

 

At the business end resides the sweet ‘Tector 7’ 6.7-litre six-cylinder mill turning out 280hp (206kW) at 2,500rpm in concert with torque of 1,000Nm (738 lb ft) at 1,250rpm. It uses selective catalytic reduction (SCR) to mitigate emissions to the miniscule levels demanded by Euro 6 regulations. The plastic AdBlue tank holds 30 litres, while beside it the oblong, polished-aluminium fuel tank has a capacity of 280 litres.

 

A Restyled Interior

A Restyled Interior

Climbing into the new Daily 70C, we can see a restyled interior of the seven tonnes GVM van from Iveco. The new dashboard has some blue inserts in the design. A digital radio is now fitted as standard on the Daily models. The new design also includes more storage, USB ports and chargers, all of the things a modern commercial vehicle cabin should include. The controls for the digital radio and the telephone, if it is connected through Bluetooth, are on the the steering wheel.

 

A Restyled Interior

 

The driver feels secure in this cabin and the modern-styling of the gear control takes little getting used to. Once the van is set-up in drive mode and the van hits the road, it’s simply a matter of hitting the stop or go pedals and the driveline will handle the rest. This gives this driver a chance to try and play with a few of the gadgets on board.

 

Hill hold works automatically, this model is using ABS 9, a lot of items which were optional extras in the past are now simply standard. The lane keeping system has worked its way down from top-end prime movers to this humble van and proved to work well on this model, neither too sensitive, nor not sensitive enough.

 

Another option which has become standard on some vans being imported from Europe is a system called trailer sway mitigation. It uses the stability system’s yaw sensor and the ABS sensors to detect any trailer sway when towing something behind the van. The Daily’s electronic system now includes a trailer connection module, it knows when a trailer is connected and will activate the trailer sway mitigation system if required.

 

Because the vehicle control system knows when it has a trailer attached and will monitor the lighting system on the trailer, using the diagnostics system and will warn the driver if the trailer has a light out. The van has a GVM of seven tonnes but a GCM of 10.5 tonnes, it is capable of pulling a 3.5 tonne trailer.

 

A Restyled Interior

 

Home Comforts

 

The commercial vehicle driver inEurope has come to expect a high level of comfort in their cabin. This daily is no exception to the rule. The steering wheel on the new models is covered in leather and has a soft a feel for the driver. The ergonomics inside the cabin is well thought-out and simple to use.

 

One of the changes which is happened in the driver’s seat in the last 20 years is the increased padding in and around the driver themselves. It has reached a point where, on this model of the Daily, the bolsters at the bottom on the seat have been lowered to make it easier to get in and out of the van. This has clearly been done following feedback from owners of the previous model, with drivers find entering and exiting the van was hindered by the seat’s shape.

 

The large rear view mirrors on the side of the van include a strip across the bottom which is a wide angle mirror. The larger top mirror can be adjusted using the controls on the door but the bottom reminds static. This means it is necessary to get the mirror in the correct position for viewing the lower wide angle section and then adjust the main mirror afterwards to suit the driver.

 

A Restyled Interior

 

Pros and Cons

 

It will interesting to see how the light duty truck buyer views this model, to see whether there is the kind of credibility in the marketplace, which Iveco can turn into increased sales. It certainly has all of the specifications required to live in a world now dominated by the likes of the Isuzu NPR.

 

There are plusses and minuses to any comparison. The low floor height would score well for the Daily, but it doesn’t have a body on which pallets can be loaded side-by-side. There are a number of comparisons to be made and the truck buyer is a conservative beast, suggesting the impact this van will have in this market segment is likely be relatively small.

 

Fuel consumption could be a factor in change, but driver comfort is unlikely to make many choose a Daily over a Japanese truck. Safety features will look attractive to the fleet buyers, but Japanese trucks are moving fast to keep up with the latest safety systems coming out of Europe.

 

However, it does have some distinct advantages in specific transport tasks it would make for a much more comfortable long distance drive. The smoothness of the ride and the creature comforts of the cabin would really come into play when spending long hours in the van.

 

Iveco are selling the vans from their truck sales locations, many of which are in heavy duty truck areas. However, it has been noticeable in the past couple of years, a number of shiny new Daily vans have been sitting on display in their forecourts pulling in the punters.

 

 

 

 

Increasing Local Truck Production in Dandenong

Increasing Local Truck Production in Dandenong

Iveco has announced it will be increasing local truck production in Dandenong. The company sold the Stralis ATi in Australia as, a fully imported model. However, from the first quarter of 2018 the Stralis ATi has begun local assembly, changing its model name to ‘AT’, as the ‘i’ signified its previous import status.

 

Increasing Local Truck Production in Dandenong

 

Selected components including mirrors, wheel angles, trailer connections, batteries, wheels and liquids are now all being sourced locally. The addition of a second Stralis model to the local manufacturing mix provides economies of scale, increased commonality of parts and a strong business case to further increase the scope of local manufacturing works.

 

The addition of the Stralis AT to the local production mix has also seen the Dandenong facility undergo investment in tooling and software to calibrate the AT’s adaptive cruise control and lane departure warning systems, and in doing so introduced new technology to the site that could also be used for other models in the future.

 

Local production of AT models should lead to reduced lead times from vehicle order to delivery, and the ability to customise to order by adding factory-fitted special options and local accessories.

 

Increasing Local Truck Production in Dandenong

 

Iveco’s local engineers are also involved in the installation of new Euro 6-rated Cursor engines for both the AT and AS-L variants. The team is continuing its real market testing on a selection of these engines. A number of vehicles have been clocking up validation, compliance and general testing kilometres in real-world fleet conditions prior to their introduction to the production line.

 

During the evaluation phase, the vehicles will cover a minimum of 300,000 km each, with performance data being downloaded and analysed on a weekly basis. The trucks’ fluids are also being sampled every 25,000 kilometres.

 

Increasing Local Truck Production in Dandenong

 

“IVECO is one of few truck brands that continue to manufacture here, this latest expansion in Australian-based production demonstrates the company’s commitment to having a strong local manufacturing presence,” said Darren Swenson, Iveco Australia Marketing Manager. “The addition of Stralis AT variants to the local production mix along with the validation of new power plants and other initiatives is great news for the local workforce and our third party parts suppliers but also for Australian truck buyers who can further reap the benefits that locally-manufactured vehicles provide.

 

“The expansion of local production not only reflects a strong belief from IVECO Australia that local manufacturing is sustainable, but the initiative is also strongly supported by IVECO’s parent company, CNH Industrial.”

 

Increasing Local Truck Production in Dandenong

 

The Stralis AT and AS-L ranges join several other of Iveco’s locally-manufactured models including the Acco, which has been built in Dandenong for over 40 years, and Delta and Metro bus chassis.

 

How Big Can A Van Get?

How Big Can A Van Get?

The line between a van and small truck has been blurring in recent years and Diesel News asks, how big can a van get? The light duty truck market in Australia has been traditionally owned by the three Japanese truck brands, Isuzu , Hino and Fuso. However, the European van brands have been developing larger and larger vans with higher and higher GVM for their domestic markets.

 

How Big Can A Van Get?

 

Looking at the numbers of light duty trucks sold in Australia, the van importers have seen their specifications entering a market segment where they believe they can compete directly with the Japanese. One of those van manufacturers which has been active in this area is Iveco with its Daily offering. Included in the release of the latest version of this van range, Iveco have introduced a 7 tonne GVM Model. The Iveco Daily van range has been renewed and included in the new model specifications is the 70C

 

Climbing into the new Daily 70C, we can see a restyled interior. The new dashboard has some blue inserts in the design. A digital radio is now fitted as standard on the Daily models. The new design also includes more storage, USB ports and chargers, all of the things a modern commercial vehicle cabin should include. The controls for the digital radio and the telephone, if it is connected through Bluetooth, are on the the steering wheel.

 

Driving Impression. 

 

One of the things a driver needs to remember about the 70C is the sheer size of it. It is the equivalent of a longish light duty truck. The vehicle is 7.5 metres long, with a 4.1 metre wheelbase. This is not to say it is too big, but sitting in the van cabin can be deceiving, it doesn’t feel like a big van and it’s a good idea to regularly check in the rear view mirror to remind oneself of its size.

 

How Big Can A Van Get?

 

The van driven on this test was just about fully loaded, but the Iveco FIC engine’s power, at 180 hp (132 kW) and with torque at 430 Nm (317 ft lb) has plenty in reserve to get moving and travelling easily with surrounding traffic. This engine is not working too hard. It uses both EGR and SCR to clean up exhaust gases and is compliant with the planned ADR 80/04 (Euro 6) rules. This means the van owner will also have to fill up the ad blue tank on the van regularly, not something many light duty drivers have to remember.

 

 

The model tested uses the excellent Hi-Matic auto gearbox. This ZF eight speed, double overdrive, torque converter, automatic transmission makes life easy for the driver and really does get the best out of this engine. The seamless nature of the shifts, even under load make this an option whose box it is a good idea to tick.

 

The contemporary design of the transmission control reminds us of the van’s Italian heritage, a culture where style is everything. The alternative is a more perfunctory six speed synchro manual, which will do the job well, but is nothing like as much fun.

 

How Big Can A Van Get?

 

At this kind of mass the van sits well down on the road. This has always been one of the strengths of Daily range, right back from its early days in the eighties, a well designed suspension. It functions well at the higher end of the mass scale, unlike some of its opposition.

On the other side of the equation, it would be interesting to see how this van performs with no load on and in a high cross wind. This body at 7.5×3 metres could well act like a large sail and be a bit skittery at high speeds. Unfortunately, there was no opportunity to check out this theory, as theory it is. Making a van this big means it has the capacity it has 19.6 m³ of interior space to be used, if needed. This makes it comparable with its opposition in terms of space, but with a lower centre of gravity.

 

 

 

Top of the Horsepower Tree

Top of the Horsepower Tree

Not that long ago most (if not all) of Europe’s truck makers were still vying to climb to the top of the horsepower tree, reckons Diesel News’ European Correspondent, Brian Weatherley. Today it’s another story altogether. I’d say the first truck maker to publicly take its foot off the power pedal was Mercedes.

 

Top of the Horsepower Tree

 

Back in 2011, at the launch of the original ‘new’ Actros, I asked Daimler’s vice president for truck engineering Georg Weiburg ‘Do you want to have the World’s Most Powerful Series Production Truck’? High torque, rather than high horsepower was, he said, the priority for Mercedes and 600hp was probably as high as most operators needed.

 

It was an insightful reply. Indeed, when Merc’s 15.6 litre OM473 LA in-line six (currently offered in Actros and Arocs) appeared in 2013 it had a 630hp top rating. Despite having the capacity to go higher, it’s stayed there, happily sitting above 580 and 520hp versions.

 

It’s been a similar story for MAN. Having once made Europe’s most powerful prime mover, a TGX with a whopping 680hp 16.2-litre V8, in 2014 the men from Munich dropped their vee-block in favour of the all-new D38 15.2-litre six-pot. While D38 comes with a top-rating of 640hp and 3,000Nm of torque, note this, it’s strictly-for heavy-haulage chassis applications up to 250-tonnes GCW.

 

For ‘regular’ haulage applications, D38 is rated at 520hp/2,500Nm and 560hp/2,700Nm. Having driven both at 40 tonnes at the launch, the 520hp D38 was more than enough for me, and why wouldn’t it be with 11.8hp/tonne on tap? At the time of its launch, MAN’s senior managers went out of their way to stress that with D38 they wanted maximum efficiency rather than record power. At the time that struck me as eminently sensible. It still does.

 

What about the others? Back in 1992 Renault briefly led the field when it offered a 520hp Mack V8 beneath its iconic flat-floored Magnum cab. Today, its latest T-range prime mover’s 13-litre ‘DTI 13’ in-line six delivers an identical 520hp, albeit with 2,550Nm of torque.

 

As for Iveco, its 12.8-litre Cursor 13 fitted in Stralis peaks at 570hp. And while Fiat Powertrain Technologies (the company which supplies Iveco with its engines) has a 15.9-litre Cursor 16 capable of being rated up to 875hp and 3,500Nm of torque, it’s only available for construction, power-generation and agricultural applications. In the latter category it’s already chalked-up its first ‘World’s Most Powerful…’ superlative, in the 625hp New Holland Agriculture CR10.90 combine harvester.

 

Top of the Horsepower Tree

 

Might we yet see a Cursor 16 powering a European heavy?  If you took the amount of money you’d need to engineer it into a Stralis or Trakker, then divided it by the number of vehicles you’d sell in Europe, you’d probably have to charge a heck of a lot for it just to recover the investment. Ah…but what about for Australia I hear you ask? I’ll come to that in a minute.

 

Flat Floor Thoughts

Flat Floor Thoughts

The long-awaited arrival of the right-hand-drive Renault ‘T High’ tractor in the UK has given Diesel News’ European Correspondent, Brian Weatherley, some flat floor thoughts – thinking about the benefits of flat-floor cab-overs to overnighters.

Flat Floor Thoughts

Frankly, I’m surprised more manufacturers don’t do it. ‘Do what?’ I hear you ask Down Under. Build more flat-floor cab-over models, that’s what. Given the fact that every night hundreds of thousands of European long-haul drivers are bedding down for the night in a truck (and I reckon 99.99 per cent of them will be doing it in a cab-over prime mover) you’d think that all of Europe’s truck makers would be keen to make their cabs as easy to move around in as possible.

 

And what better way to ensure effortless cross-cab access and boost the size of your bedroom than by removing the engine hump and replacing it with a perfectly flat cab floor? Yet so far, only three of the major players – Mercedes, Renault and Scania – actually offer one. DAF, Iveco, MAN and Volvo heavies have all still got the ‘hump’, albeit of modest height on their flagship models.

 

What’s got me writing about flat floors? The recent (and long-awaited) arrival in the UK of the right-hand-drive version of Renault’s towering ‘Range T High’ prime mover complete with a flat-floor cab. While it’s been around ever since the French manufacturer unveiled its Range T long-distance heavy-truck range back in 2013, up until now T Highs have only been available in left-hand drive. So if you were a UK haulier who wanted one, it had to be a left-hooker.

 

While a couple have gone to Pommie hauliers (primarily international operators running onto the continent where a left-hooker makes more sense), calls for a right-hand-drive T High have been slowly mounting, not least from Renault Trucks UK, who clearly sees its sales potential amongst those small fleets and owner-drivers looking for a prestige overnighter.

 

Of course, some of us in the press have been more than ready to add our own ten cents worth, usually along the lines of, “why should the continentals have all the pleasures of a T High flat-floor cab in left-hand drive and not us in right-hand drive?”

 

However, given that the UK and Ireland still insist on having the steering wheel on the other side of the cab, it’s not unusual for right-hand-drive chassis to be at the back of the production queue whenever a new model is launched, as the priority will inevitably be towards the volume left-hand-drive markets. And just as important, if you’re going to engineer a truck for right-hand drive you’d better be sure the cost of doing it will be more than covered by the number you’ll sell. But even so…

 

Fortunately the folks in Lyon have finally relented with the result that Renault Trucks UK recently proclaimed, “In response to the changing UK and Irish markets, and a clear demand from customers, we are delighted to announce the introduction of a newly engineered right-hand-drive Range T High, available from early 2018.” Better late than never I say.

Flat Floor Thoughts

Three Models to Choose From

 

British hauliers keen to get their hands on a T High right-hooker have three models to choose from, all based on the current Range T driveline consisting of the 13-litre ‘DTI 13’ in-line six- and 12-speed Optidriver two-pedal auto.

 

The first, the ‘International’, features fabric seats with a rotating passenger seat, standard bunk and steel wheels, and is available at 440hp and 480hp in a 6×2 configuration only, 6x2s being the industry-standard prime mover for six-axle, top-weight, 44-tonne GCM semi operations in Blighty. The International’s sensible power ratings will doubtless also appeal to those fleet buyers under pressure to retain drivers with a decent flagship cab, but who don’t want a stampede of horses underneath it.

 

Next comes the ‘Driver’, with 440hp, 480hp and 520hp 13-litre ratings, plus a little more comfort including full-leather seats, again with the rotating passenger chair, ‘performance’ lower and ‘ultimate’ upper bunks, a big fridge, compact dashboard, Alcoa alloy wheels, aluminium suzie support and additional catwalk.

 

Finally, there’s the top-of-the-range ‘Driver Lux’. Offered with either the 480hp or 520hp DTI 13, it boasts even more goodies including a tilting backrest on the bunk, big lockers, luxury curtains, laminated side windows and aluminium air tanks. But in all three cases they have that all-important flat floor.

2018 International Truck of the Year Announcement

2018 International Truck of the Year Announcement

In Europe, the 2018 International Truck of the Year Announcement has been made today. DAF’s new XF/CF truck range has been elected International Truck of the Year for 2018 by a jury of 23 commercial vehicle editors and senior journalists, representing 23 major trucking magazines from throughout Europe.

2018 International Truck of the Year Announcement
DAF pulled a surprise by unveiling its new XF and CF heavies at the recent UK Birmingham CV Show.

 

The prestigious award was handed over to Preston Feight, President of DAF Trucks, during the press day of the Solutrans Commercial Vehicle Show in Lyon, France.

 

With a winning score of 104 votes in a neck-to-neck competition, the new Dutch heavy-duty truck range fought off the strong challenge posed by Iveco’s Stralis NP long-haul 460hp natural-gas engine model, which was second, and Scania’s XT construction range, which finished in third place.

 

In accordance with the International Truck of the Year (ITOY) rules, the annual award is presented to the individual vehicle or model range introduced into the market in the previous 12 months which has made the greatest contribution to road transport efficiency, based on several important criteria including technological innovation, driver comfort, road safety, drivability, fuel economy, environmental ‘footprint’, and Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).

 

The new XF/CF innovative drivelines, based on optimised MX-11 and MX-13 in-line six engines, well integrated with the latest ZF Traxon 12-speed automated gearbox and new DAF rear-axles, deliver improved drivability, greater fuel efficiency and seamless gear-changing characteristics.

 

The Truck of the Year jury members appreciated the new XF/CF’s energy efficiency features, which include improved combustion, a reduction in internal engine friction losses, engine down-speeding, intelligent auxiliaries, driveline component integration, different gear-shifting strategies, enhanced predictive features running on a new electronic architecture as well as weight reductions in selected components such as the compact after treatment system.

2018 International Truck of the Year Announcement 

In particular, during a recent extended test drive in Belgium and the Netherlands, the ITOY jury members praised the advanced characteristics of the latest XF/CF drivelines, which allow for longer fuel-saving ‘Eco-roll’ periods, due to the increased integration of the engine and automated-gearbox equipped with the latest GPS-based Predictive Cruise Control function.

 

Summing-up the jury vote, International Truck of the Year Chairman Gianenrico Griffini commented: “With the introduction of XF/CF series DAF has delivered a heavy-duty truck range that sets a new standard in terms of driveline energy-efficiency and overall performance.”

 

Earlier this year Diesel’s European Correspondent, Brian Weatherley, reported on the new DAF release in Diesel Magazine:

 

“The one thing you won’t find the Dutch truck-maker doing is rushing to be first in the market with new technology or clever widgets. That’s just not their style. For DAF’s engineers at Eindhoven, the watchword is with evolution, not revolution and their latest CF and XF, said to deliver average fuel-savings of up to seven per cent, are a perfect case in point.

 

“DAF’s new heavies are all about steady, incremental changes rather than show-stopping leaps into the future. That aforementioned seven per cent average fuel gain comes from across-the-board improvements, not just on engines and gearboxes, but also aerodynamics, axles, emission control systems and power-train control software. Drivers get a look-in too with new interiors and dash layouts.  But if you’re a hard-pressed haulier desperate to improve your bottom-line (is there any other kind?) the important news is better fuel economy.”

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.”