Bigger 6x2 Choice

Bigger 6×2 Choice

 

 

Truck buyers at the lighter end of the heavy duty market now have a bigger 6×2 choice, with the soft introduction of the Western Star 2800SS. These trucks are up against still competition from the four Japanese brands, who all offer an array of choices at 6×2. None of them have a bonnet, though. This distinguishing feature has a lot of history in Australia and is attractive to many truck buyers.

 

Bigger 6x2 Choice

 

Strong growth for the Japanese manufacturers and their pragmatic-but-reliable trucks – followed by an increasing share for European trucks – has seen the traditional preference for a truly North American truck decline in some sectors of the market.

 

What Western Star has here is a truly North American truck with a decent pedigree and adapted to meet the needs of the trucking industry in Australia. This is a US truck through and through, and it comes from a brand that has a reputation for uncompromisingly sticking to the North American truck philosophy.

 

The 2800SS is a Western Star version of the Freightliner M2 Business Class, a truck sold in large numbers in the US. Built in the Freightliner plant at Mount Holly in North Carolina, the M2 Business Class sells in big numbers – around 50,000 each year. It is the staple 4×2 truck sold in the US medium-duty market by Freightliner, and sells as a 6×2 to a certain extent. Its main contender for sales is a similarly styled International, the Durastar, as well as the bonneted Hino from the US, the 600 Series.

 

Bigger 6x2 Choice

 

 

For the long haul

 

Cruise control? Yes, even dedicated urban runners need to spend some time on the open highway. In fact, this truck is not too shabby in this department. With an rpm level just under 1,700rpm at 100km/h, this 2800SS would be a comfortable drive on a long shift between cities at highway speed.

 

For those longer journeys, the drivers’s seat has a fold-down armrest to make life a little more comfortable. The hi-vis seatbelt is attached to the B pillar, but not noticeably uncomfortable. The way the cab has been designed, the long-distance driver will probably end up pushing the seat back a little and tilting the steering wheel down towards the lap, in a car-driving-like position, rather than the more upright heavy-truck position.

 

The feel on the road, especially around the city of Brisbane, where this test took place, is one of stiff suspension. If the single taper-leaf spring were a little longer, it might make for a less bumpy ride. At least the Freightliner rear air suspension keeps the freight happy.

 

This truck design first appeared on the streets of the US back in 2002. Looking at it today, it does not look at all dated. At the time, back in the 2000s, the M2 Business Class looked like a cutting-edge truck, much like the Cascadia that followed it.

 

Bigger 6x2 Choice

 

From the Driver’s Seat

 

Every other truck in this class in Australia is a cabover. This driver needs to remind himself this truck is a conventional with a bonnet, as the bonnet is not very noticeable from the drivers seat. The windscreen is large and low, but the bonnet design means it doesn’t obstruct the view to the front and side of the cabin.

 

This design does allow for a low and easy climb in and out, up and down the short staircase outside each door.

 

Looking at this truck, most of the constituent components are something we know and can feel comfortable with. This is not an exotic from left field, it is a new combination of familiar parts that make up the whole truck.

 

The most striking difference is the cabin itself. Cabovers are heading around our city streets in their thousands. There are nothing like that many small-bonneted trucks working in this sector. The duck-like cabin sticks out like a sore thumb.

 

At first appearance, the cabin looks like it will be small and cramped. Once inside, the driver realises this is a good use of available space, quite roomy for a small truck. Overall, the designers have created a good working environment. It is easy to use, with a simple auto gearbox, responsive steering and great visibility. The interior is quiet and the driving position comfortable.

 

What Western Star has here is a truck which will do the job. Its specifications are in and around the same area as most of the trucks in this segment. The big difference is this truck has a nose and a classic-US driveline.

 

Bigger 6x2 Choice

 

Renting the 2800

 

The Western Star 2800SS is concentrated mainly in the Penske Truck Rental fleet. In the US, the Penske Rental organisation owns thousands of the M2 Business Class in its medium-duty fleet. Incidentally, it also owns a large number of the bonneted Hino 600 models.

 

“I didn’t want to compete with light and medium truck rental companies who have yards full of white Japanese trucks,” says Adrian Beach, from Penske Truck Rental. “We were looking for something different to fit in with our heavier trucks. We wanted something capable of carrying plenty of weight in a 14.5-pallet body.

 

“The 2800 has got great feedback. Most of them are in long-term rental agreements for six months or more. We keep an eye on utilisation of the trucks and if it’s up over 75 per cent, we’ll slip another two or so into the fleet.”

 

There are more on the way as the fleet expands. The next batch of trucks is likely to have its adaptation done here to meet our Australian Design Rules in Australia and not in the US, as has been done in the past. The change will speed up the pipeline of trucks coming through from the US.

 

 

Bringing a Truck in Through the Back Door

Bringing a Truck in Through the Back Door

In a soft sell approach, by bringing a truck in through the back door, the Western Star 2800SS model’s entry into the Australian truck market through Penske’s-house rental fleet, is a softly, softly approach. The trucks may be on our streets with Penske blue stripes on the body, but they are available to the average truck buyer through Penske dealerships.

 

Bringing a Truck in Through the Back Door

 

The low-level entry of the new model is probably well advised. This model is sitting in the most competitive segment of the Australian truck market, one of the most competitive in the world. Up to 20 brands are fighting it out for market share here, and most of them have a model to compete as a 6×2 rigid distribution truck.

 

The 2800 is simple, no-nonsense, and does the job it’s designed to do. This is exactly what the US truck market desires from a medium-duty truck. We expect more from our trucks, and Western Star has specced this model up well above the kind of sparse cabin interior provided in the US.

 

The model used in the Diesel News test drive has a 315hp version of the ISB engine, the same engine sold on the US market today. It’s compliant with ADR 80/04, the emission rule slated to come into force in 2020 or later. It uses EGR and SCR, there is a 49-litre AdBlue tank alongside the 302-litre diesel tank.

 

Bringing a Truck in Through the Back Door

 

The cabin is set low to the ground, ideal for drivers that are in and out of the cab all day. Being a conventional layout, the cabin floor is at chassis height. Open the door, climb up a couple of easy-to-climb, set-back steps, and the driver is ensconced in the cabin. There is a large handle on the outside and the inside of the B pillar, pull up and drop into the driver’s seat. The A pillar lacks a handle, as the cabin was designed as a left-hand drive. There is one on the passenger side.

 

Firing up the 6.7-litre engine and selecting ‘drive’ is simple enough. Then off comes the maxibrake – not so familiar in this size of truck. Hit the accelerator, and go. This truck is simple to drive and wouldn’t be too daunting for someone with little knowledge of truck driving.

 

Bringing a Truck in Through the Back Door

 

The low driving position, combined with excellent visibility through the well designed, curved windscreen and large rear-view mirrors, makes for a good all-round picture. This is only improved by the dash-mounted monitor and an effective and clear reversing camera.

 

The six-speed Allison is plenty – the truck moves smoothly up though the gears, with minimal interruption of power. This kind of truck spends much of its life going from traffic light to traffic light. It’s simply a matter of hitting the go button, then the stop button, and so on.

 

This is a workhorse truck. There is no need for added sophistication. The driver is in and out of the cabin all of the time, and the working day, or night, normally ends with a return to depot.

 

Western Star has added some creature comforts to the interior. Between the seats for the driver and passenger is a useful module standing at a decent height. On top, it has an incongruous seat, with no seat belt. Lift this to reveal a well-sized storage bin.

 

There are also two sizeable drinks holders, plus another for odds and ends, mobiles, etc. Underneath, with front-facing access, is another large bin. In the middle of the dash, at knee height, are two more-substantial drinks holders.

 

Bringing a Truck in Through the Back Door

 

The dashboard itself is basic, but more than adequate. In the centre of the truck, the top two air vents are either side of a double DIN entertainment unit. Below this is a sparse formation of switches, for less regularly used items like the DPF and suspension dump, plus the only controls to open and close the electric windows. Closer to the steering wheel, we find the controller for the auto box.

 

Directly in front of the driver is a clear and concise dash array, with LCD information screen at the top, speedometer and tachometer below and oil and water gauges to the left. The right-hand side has fuel and AdBlue levels, and two air pressure gauges. It’s all well laid out and simple to read. To the right of the steering column, we find the cruise control and light switches. One steering column stalk handles the indicators and wipers.

 

 

 

 

 

Soft Sell Truck

Soft Sell Truck

After a big presentation in 2015, the Western Star 2800 seems to have become a soft sell truck. It had disappeared from the radar, before reappearing last year, in the Penske Truck Rental colours. Diesel News puts the conventional light heavy rigid through its paces.

 

Soft Sell Truck

 

By bringing the Western Star 2800SS model into the Australian truck market through its own in-house rental fleet, Penske Commercial Vehicles seems to be taking a softly, softly approach to introducing the new model. The trucks may be on our streets with Penske blue stripes on the body, but they are available to the average truck buyer through Penske dealerships.

 

The low-level entry of the new model is probably well advised. This model is sitting in the most competitive segment of the Australian truck market, one of the most competitive in the world. Up to 20 brands are fighting it out for market share here, and most of them have a model to compete as a 6×2 rigid distribution truck.

 

The most competitive are the four Japanese brands, who all offer an array of choices at 6×2. None of them have a bonnet, though. This distinguishing feature has a lot of history in Australia and is attractive to many truck buyers.

 

Strong growth for the Japanese manufacturers and their pragmatic-but-reliable trucks – followed by an increasing share for European trucks – has seen the traditional preference for a truly North American truck decline in some sectors of the market.

 

Soft Sell Truck

 

What Western Star has here is a truly North American truck with a decent pedigree and adapted to meet the needs of the trucking industry in Australia. This is a US truck through and through, and it comes from a brand that has a reputation for uncompromisingly sticking to the North American truck philosophy.

 

What Exactly Is It? 

 

The 2800SS is a Western Star version of the Freightliner M2 Business Class, a truck sold in large numbers in the US. Built in the Freightliner plant at Mount Holly in North Carolina, the M2 Business Class sells in big numbers – around 50,000 each year. It is the staple 4×2 truck sold in the US medium-duty market by Freightliner, and sells as a 6×2 to a certain extent. Its main contender for sales is a similarly styled International, the Durastar, as well as the bonneted Hino from the US, the 600 Series.

 

This 2800 is very much the same truck for the Australian market. The bonnet is different; it has been styled to suit a Western Star, with a more upright radiator grille and the large Star badge dead centre. It looks a bit beefier than its US sibling.

 

Soft Sell Truck

 

The standard truck brought into Australia is the 6×2, with a few 4x2s added into the mix. The lazy axle is not an aftermarket add-on, but fitted on the production line at Mount Holly.

 

In the majority of cases, the trucks have gone into the Penske Truck Rental Fleet, where they join the larger prime movers, MANs and Western Stars, all of which are sourced from Penske brands., They are, however, available for sale in Australia and have been sold to customers.

 

“Anyone can walk into a Western Star Trucks dealership and buy a 2800SS,” says Kevin Dennis, Managing Director of Penske Commercial Vehicles. “We have stock on the ground.”

 

Soft Sell Truck

 

It is fair to say this truck sits at the lighter end of the 6×2 segment. The Cummins ISB 6.7-litre engine puts out 280–350hp (206–239kW) at 2,300rpm and 705–976Nm (520–720 ft lb) of torque at a similar rpm level. This kind of power is a little below the levels offered by the Japanese opposition, but at an acceptable level for the kind of work it will be doing.

 

This power and torque drives through an Allison 3000 RDS Auto gearbox. The controller is the simple push-button one, preferred by those manufacturers building a no-nonsense truck.

The front and rear axles come from Detroit. This is pretty much standard across the Freightliner range in the US, but not seen so much here in Australia.

 

Eaton and Cummins Getting Closer

Eaton and Cummins Getting Closer

This video from the US shows us Eaton and Cummins getting closer as they offer a more integrated driveline to US truck buyers. This particular AMT has just gone on sale in the US and is not destined to appear here for some time.

 

The gearbox is part of a comprehensive program where Eaton and Cummins are working very closely together to come up with a fully integrated package. The engine and transmission communicate seamlessly with each other and with whichever truck they are fitted into.

 

Both Eaton and Cummins have seen a series of developments in the US truck market making it more and more obvious the future for many truck buyers is to look at buying trucks with a proprietary driveline.

 

Volvo, Mack, Freightliner and Western Star are all available as a truck with a chassis, engine and gearbox all supplied by the same company. For Daimler Trucks the elements are branded as Detroit but are clearly from the same entity, Some elements on the Mack driveline are branded Mack, but come from the same source as the Volvo elements.

 

The odd ones out are International and the Paccar brands, Kenworth and Peterbilt. Paccar and International do have their own engines but no history with gearboxes. They also sell a lot of their trucks with someone else’s engine, Cummins. Transmissions come from either Eaton or Allison, but predominantly Eaton.

 

To protect their position in the US market, the two component suppliers, Eaton and Cummins have started to work more and more closely together top create a kind of ‘proprietary’ driveline for Paccar and International.

 

International have become more and more reliant on Cummins as their own engine program has been in some disarray following its failed 15 litre engine program which got into regulatory strife a few years back. At the time, Cummins stepped into the breach and supplied the engines to enable the Chicago-based truck maker to continue in the heavy duty truck business.

 

Paccar are in the engine business, but have not been willing to invest the kind of vast funds needed to develop a 15 litre engine to go in their heavy duty offering. Instead, the company has worked closely with both Eaton and Cummins to get a virtual proprietary driveline.

 

Keeping Track of Tippers

Keeping Track of Tippers

In a busy operations office, it’s difficult keeping track of tippers. Tippers run grain from the farmer’s paddock into grain storage at harvest time, and haul grain out of storage facilities to the ports, or wherever it is bound, for the rest of the year.

Keeping Track of Tippers

“We started in trucks back in 1998,” says Peter Parslow, Castlemac Traders (CMT) Operations Manager and Freight Coordinator. “CMT was formed as the transport division of Agrigrain. They are a seed business and grain trader, so we needed trucks to cart our own seed. We had had some people cart some seed for us and it had got contaminated.

 

“We are in Trucksafe, the drivers have to do a daily check and we use a tracking system as well,” says Peter. “We’ve been in the scheme since 2001, we used to do a bit of Incitec work and they require Trucksafe accreditation. We were also doing a lot of organic grain and human consumption grain, so we are better off being squeaky clean.

 

“We have one person full time keeping up with compliance. We are on BFM (basic fatigue management) and don’t need to go to AFM (advanced fatigue management). We do run to Brisbane and Melbourne, but I’ve had three or four drivers pulled up when the Task Force is on, and they have asked our guys why they have BFM. They are not using all of their hours, as it is.

 

“The thing is, it is just handy. I run a policy that drivers are home Friday night, so they have a happy home life. If you have a happy wife, you have a happy driver. Very seldom do we have a driver caught away over a weekend. Most drivers start the week on Sunday.”

 

The company has a strict ‘one man, one truck’ policy, with each driver getting a new truck and keeping throughout its life before it is moved on after five or six years, just around the one-million-kilometres point.

 

“We’ve had three accidents and none of them have been the driver’s fault,” says Peter. “One of our long-term drivers cried for three days after a car came across the median strip and pushed another car up onto the truck.

 

“Our youngest driver is 49. These guys are all going to retire and I don’t know how to get younger drivers.

 

“I had a driver retire and then I had a young bloke come in,” says Peter. “He told me he had done this and that. He told me he used to do 7,000km a week, so I told him to hold on and said I was about to terminate the interview. He asked why and I told him no man can do 7,000km a week and do it legally. Needless to say, he didn’t get a job.”

 

Peter has also been involved in the Livestock, Bulk and Rural Carriers Association (LBRCA) in New South Wales since 2003 and now serves on its Grain Committee and its Executive Committee.

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.

 

 

The Trucks of Instagram

The Trucks of Instagram

More pictures of the trucks of Instagram, as all around Australia truckies are taking photos of the things they love, their trucks.

Here we have the Nice night scene of the 200th truck

Seeing the best of the country from the driver’s seat in a big truck

A mixed load on three trailers

A nice pair of ageing Macks

#mack

A post shared by Marshall Watego (@marshallwatego) on

Top Female Driver, Australian Truck Manufacturing, Penske Dealership Change and Autonomous Trucks

Top Female Driver, Australian Truck Manufacturing, Penske Dealership Change and Autonomous Trucks

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.

 

Top Female Driver, Australian Truck Manufacturing, Penske Dealership Change and Autonomous Trucks
2017 Volvo Drivers’ Fuel Challenge – on-road winner, Kerri Connors, of Caltas, Tasmania.

 

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.

Top Female Driver, Australian Truck Manufacturing, Penske Dealership Change and Autonomous Trucks
2017 Volvo Drivers’ Fuel Challenge – off-road winner, Cameron Simpson of Simpson’s Fuel, Victoria.

 

“Highlighting the huge impact every driver has on a company’s fuel consumption, out of the nine drivers in the final, Kerri completed the challenging on-road course using 7.8 per cent less fuel than least-efficient driver in this year’s final, and keeping in mind these are the best of the best,” said Mitch Peden, Volvo Vice President. “In a real-world scenario, that equates to massive savings for operators.”

 

This year Volvo identified the competitors using data from Dynafleet, instead of running a series of heats around the country, comparing the telematics scores to identify the nation’s best-performing drivers.

 

“All competitors had consistently demonstrated fuel-efficiency while driving fully-laden trucks on genuine commercial journeys,” said Mitch, “consistency like that over months is a lot harder to achieve than getting lucky on a single day.”

 

Building more trucks in Australia

Top Female Driver, Australian Truck Manufacturing, Penske Dealership Change and Autonomous Trucks

Iveco is to start building an additional Stralis model in its Dandenong facility in Melbourne. The truck is currently sold in Australia as a fully imported model, but from the fourth quarter of 2017 the Stralis ATi will be assembled at Dandenong, as the Stralis AT. Selected components including mirrors, wheel angles, trailer connections, batteries, wheels and liquids will be sourced locally.

 

The Stralis AT variants will include a 6×4 prime mover and 6×2 rigid in a variety of specification options, and will join existing Stralis AS-L, Powerstar, Acco and Delta and Metro bus chassis models, which are locally built and/or manufactured in Melbourne.

 

The new truck will see 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 introduces new technology to the site.

 

New Penske Dealer

 

Penske Commercial Vehicles has announced the appointment of Penske Power Systems as Brisbane dealer. Located in Wacol, Penske Power Systems will provide the services previously provided by Penske Commercial Vehicles’ Brisbane Truck Centre, as the exclusive retail sales, service and parts dealer in Brisbane, responsible for Western Star Trucks, MAN and Dennis Eagle.

 

“We have seen the successful transition of dealerships to Penske Power Systems across several locations over the last eight months,” said Kevin Dennis, Managing Director of Penske Commercial Vehicles. “The sixth location to be appointed as a sales dealership, Penske Power Systems in Wacol has a reputation for providing excellent service to its customer base.

 

“This transition will allow us to leverage the broad Penske Power Systems network and streamline operations, providing customers with the same outstanding service delivered by Penske Power Systems in Mackay, Townsville, Darwin, Cairns, Perth and Sydney.”

 

Autonomous Trucks need infrastructure

 

Kings Transport and Logistics CEO, Tony Mellick, expects that autonomous trucks will become the norm rather than the exception, particularly for single pickup and delivery runs.

 

“I think the application in long-distance movement of freight by autonomous trucks is sound,” said Mellick. “Having the ability to send out 200 tonnes of freight rather than 20-34 tonnes by platooning three or more trucks, is a cost-effective way of moving freight. It’s safer because it removes fatigue from the risk matrix and, given the constraints of the current labour market, would be a welcome solution for most long-distance service providers.”

 

Mellick says that while new vehicle technologies are certainly heading in the direction of connected autonomy, it is less clear how soon Australia will have the infrastructure to support driverless trucks on our highways.

 

“All this is reliant on investment by governments to build the infrastructure into the highways and roads to facilitate it,” said Mellick. “My understanding is that for autonomous trucks to be viable, there need to be sensors, monitors and technology embedded along the road to keep the truck from straying out of the lanes, for instance. Apart from Eastlink in Melbourne, I’m not aware of any infrastructure enabling the commercialisation of autonomous trucks in Australia.”

 

 

New Mack Launch, New Benz Unveiled, Diesel from the US and Show and Shine

New Mack Launch, New Benz Unveiled, Diesel from the US and Show and Shine

This week on Diesel News we have a New Mack Launch, a New Benz Unveiled, Diesel from the US and Show and Shine on the agenda.

 

This video is one of a series of teasers being released by Mack in the US in the lead up to the revealing of the new range on 13 September. Of course, Australian Mack trucks are a different range. However, new features added into the US range will likely start appearing in the Macks here in Australia in time.

 

New Mack Launch, New Benz Unveiled, Diesel from the US and Show and Shine

 

New Benz Unveiled

 

In Cape Town, South Africa, Mercedes-Benz Vans announced the new X-Class ute will launch in Europe in November 2017, with Australia and South Africa to follow early in 2018, as well as Argentina and Brazil at the beginning of 2019.

 

“The high level of interest and anticipation in the lead up to revealing the new X-Class has been a reflection of just how engrained dual-cab utes are in both the Australian and New Zealand culture,” said Diane Tarr, Managing Director Mercedes-Benz Vans Australia and New Zealand. “The fact is we love utes and we are showing a desire to incorporate this type of vehicle into our lives in more ways than we did in the past. Not just for work, but also increasingly for private use.”

 

Diesel from the US

 

Business press reports tell us BP is shipping diesel from the US to Australia. This is an unusual move for the oil company and likely to be a short-term solution to a supply shortage caused by refinery repairs in the usual supply refineries in Singapore, South Korea and Japan.

 

A tanker called Jupiter Express with 35,000 tonnes of diesel is due to unload in Botany Bay, according to shipping data.

 

Show and Shine

 

A Show and Shine event celebrating 50 years of Western Star Trucks is set for 9 September, to be held at the Mount Cotton Training Centre in Brisbane. Anyone wishing to enter needs to contact their local Western Star dealer before the registration deadline of 18 August.

Luxury Truck Checked Out

Luxury Truck Checked Out

On a recent test drive of the Western Star Roadstar, Diesel News got its luxury truck checked out. Those truckies parked up for the night around me at the truck stop, just east of Ararat in Victoria, were soon inside the cabin and pressing buttons trying to see what each would do. Just poking a head in through the driver’s door makes it clear this is not an ordinary sleeper cab.

Luxury Truck Checked Out

It is unlike anything you will have seen in an Australian truck interior. It’s much more like the interior of one of the many Winnebagos plying our highways full of grey nomads. This is not a surprise as one of the campervan designers had a hand in the design and build of this interior.

Standing in between the seats and looking rearwards, the first impression is one of space. There is no visible bunk. Behind the driver’s seat is a counter top, into which is set a sink with a double tap, with drawers and doors underneath. Above the counter and at the rear cab wall is an upright cupboard and wardrobe space.

Across the remainder of the rear wall is a comfortable-looking, leather-clad lounge. Behind the passenger seat is another cupboard with a fold-out desk which is accessible when seated on the lounge. This unit also includes the array of switches and controls needed to run the cabin.

The question which comes to mind at this point is, where is the bunk? The giveaway is the three steel rods fixed to the counter top and the ceiling. These are the guides down which the bed lowers itself from the ceiling.

Hit the button on the console and the bunk begins its downward journey. As it lowers, the wardrobe unit lowers into a space behind the cupboards on the driver’s side of the cabin. Eventually the electric lift motors bring the bunk down to the level where it is resting on the counter top.

Luxury Truck Checked Out

Now, simply slide out the small stepladder mounted behind the driver’s seat and climb up into the full-size bunk. There is plenty of space around the bed and nothing to bang your head on, if you wake up with a start in the middle of the night.

The creature comforts continue as we raise the bunk to the roof and investigate the appointments further. The tap in the sink supplies both drinking water and water to wash your hands with. The cupboard behind has a secure lock to ensure doors don’t fly out when the truck is in motion. In fact, all of the doors and drawers are secured in the same way.

Behind the cupboard is a narrow wardrobe with enough room to store a jacket and a few shirts and trousers. To the left are the controls to fire up the Ecowind air conditioning unit, strapped to the chassis.

Below the counter is where the real fun begins. Pull out the top drawer and there is the cup, glasses plates and cutlery needed to live in the cabin. Open the door below this reveals the microwave and at the bottom is the drawer fridge freezer, with plenty of room for the week’s supplies.

The ‘pièce de résistance’ here is the other door in this set of cupboards. Open it up and slide out a fully functioning coffee machine. Grab a coffee pod from the storage cupboard, make sure it has water on board and fire coffee maker up for a fresh brew before heading out on the road, pure luxury!

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