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. Read more

Better Bridge Assessment

Better Bridge Assessment

This new technology in the US, THMPER, is showing exactly what loads a bridge can take. For years, many in the trucking industry have disputed the bridge assessments done by the states in Australia, underestimating the truck masses the bridge can safely carry.

Not only are the tests showing a consistent pattern of unnecessary bridge weight limits, the testing is also quick and cheap. Another criticism levelled at the keepers of our road infrastructure is the time and cost of a state-sanctioned assessment.

We are constantly seeing real improvements in productivity stymied by bridge engineering, which, if these results in the US are anything to go by, are an outdated obstruction to progress.

This technology is available now, the road authorities have an opportunity to climb down from their obstinacy and at least look at this system. What’s the betting it will be okay for a couple of states, but out of the question for the rest?

 

Autonomous Trucks Now

Autonomous Trucks Now

We can keep our heads in the sand and tell ourselves they are decades away, but there are some real-world examples of the latest technology making this possible in quite a short time.

 

These examples are from Volvo, but you can be sure every major truck maker is pouring plenty of dollars into autonomous programs all over the world. In fact, the basic technology should be available to all of them, as the gizmos which make it possible – like the light-based radar – are being made by a wide spread of component suppliers.

 

So, these trucks are going to be a reality. The first areas to use them will be in confined areas like mine sites and industrial plants, but we can be sure the pace of technology development will not slow and enable the new trucks to interact with humans more and more over a short period of time.

 

 

Autonomous trucks delivering goods in the centre of Melbourne, no, or running a B-triple down the Bruce Highway, no. However, moving containers around the port and to nearby depots, quite possibly.

Classic Truck Restorations

This week, we’re looking at classic truck restorations and, more particularly, the trucks collected and restored by the Klos boys.

This episode goes back a bit in time, but that’s what truck restorations is all about. Not surprisingly, all of the models in this particular show are Kenworths. Read more

Truck Show Snapshots

Last week was Brisbane Truck Show, here are the Diesel News’ Truck Show Snapshots, if you couldn’t make to the event.There were unveilings by Scania, UD Trucks, Mercedes Benz, International and Hino. Crowds surged around the new Kenworth T610 and the old school limited edition T900 on the Paccar stand. Freightliner harked back over the 75 years since the founding of the company with a rare 1950 A64-800 ‘Bubblenose’ truck. Read more

Autonomous Trucks On Our Streets

Autonomous Trucks On Our Streets

When can we expect to see autonomous trucks on our streets? Right now apparently, this is a Volvo garbage truck actually working on a residential street in Sweden.

 

 

When Diesel News took a trip on public roads in this autonomous Freightliner, a couple of years ago, the moment when the driver pressed the button, let go of the wheel and handed over control to the truck, sent a shiver down the spine:

 

Here we have the Otto autonomous truck from the US. This company, now owned by Uber, is currently in a legal wrangle with Google over technology patents:

 

Here is where it all started, in the mining industry. There have been autonomous trucks hauling large loads out of mine sites in Australia for quite a few years now. Out of sight and out of mind, to the general public:


 

Bringing Back To Life

Bringing Back To Life

A new initiative from NTI will see the insurance company bringing back to life a truck to be auctioned to raise funds for and awareness of Motor Neuron Disease (MND).

 

It has announced a new initiative bringing together members of the transport industry and community to support the MND and Me Foundation in raising much-needed funds for Motor Neurone Disease.

 

Over the coming months, NTI will restore a 1946 International Model K5 rigid truck, which will be raffled for the MND and Me Foundation to help people living with the disease.

 

“The restored, operational truck will be a culmination of time, energy, skill and resources generously contributed by NTI’s people, suppliers, partners and industry affiliates”, said NTI CEO Tony Clark. “It’s a truck built for the community, by the community. It will bring people together and tell a story, while serving a much greater purpose.”

 

The entire journey will be documented and shared online via a series of webisodes, across NTI’s social media platforms. The truck will be on display in its current state at the 2017 Brisbane Truck Show, where visitors can purchase raffle tickets on the day. Tickets will also be available online following the event, until September.

 

“The MND and Me Foundation is honoured to be involved in this very exciting project,” said Paul Olds, MND and Me Foundation CEO. “NTI’s efforts will generate better awareness of the impact that Motor Neurone Disease has on the community, and raise vital funds to ensure no one faces MND alone.”

 

Third World Trucking

Third World Trucking

We think we have it tough, have a look at some Third World Trucking in this promotional video. The narrative here is one we would recognise, but set on roads we would try to avoid and with drivers working in conditions we would find unacceptable.

 

The Indian community are rightly proud of their truckies and salute them in this anthem made by one of the main truck manufacturers on the Sub Continent, Ashok Leyland. Here we see an idealised view of life on the road, but the driver still sleeps under the truck and sits by a campfire at night.

 

Most of these trucks are sold as simply a chassis and an engine with a steering wheel attached to the front cowl of the truck. The owner of the truck will then build the cabin and body onto the basic chassis (no strict ADRs here!). Here is a brand new truck on the way to a new customer:

 

 

The second smaller truck featured in our main video shows how the Indian truck business is developing. This model is sold with a complete cabin already fitted and ready to go, and this trend is increasing.

 

To keep up with the needs of a rapidly expanding economy, the Indian government is building newer faster roads to improve transport productivity. However, the issue of old carts and overloaded motor bikes on these major highways continues to be a problem.

 

The new roads make an appearance in this highly suspicious speed test on a brand new road somewhere in India:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fdjIeOGiefQ&feature=youtu.be

 

What shines through is the pride in their job by the truckies themselves and the respect they are given within Indian society, something the Australian community should think about emulating in the future.

 

 

Gas Power End-To-End

Gas Power End-To-End

For the poms it must be a long way, to use gas power end-to-end in the UK, from the top of Scotland to the foot of England – all on one tank. The 874-mile stretch equates to 1,407km – not a bad distance to make on one tank of fuel.

 

What’s in the tank? Liquefied natural gas, something Australia has in the billions of litres and which is keeping the north-west Australian economy going with the massive LNG exporting industry going full bore.

 

Unfortunately, the idea of powering trucks with LNG has never fired up the imagination of the Australian trucking industry. There have been a few gallant pioneers working to introduce the concept more widely, but LNG remains a niche product, in a very small niche.

 

Mitchells (now part of Toll) in Western Australia used a number of LNG powered trucks on high-mileage 24-hour-a-day tanker transport and could show considerable cost savings.

 

Murray Goulburn has a been running a number of LNG powered trucks and retains refuelling facilities on some of their sites.

 

In Tasmania, a group of transport companies and an LNG supplier got together to try and introduce the fuel onto the island with some success. A number of fleets use the shared refuelling facilities in Tasmania.

 

For one reason or another, LNG has never received the kickstart required to get in onto the agenda for many in trucking. There needs to be some momentum stimulated before the natural advantages of the fuel will be taken on board and more widely accepted. LNG has never been given a helping hand to set it on its way.

 

The Alternative Fuels subsidy was disbanded just at the point where the fuel came onto the market. The possibility of a carbon tax, or some form of carbon trading scheme, gave the idea a boost at one point. However, the permanent churn of Aussie politics saw the advantages of a lower-carbon fuel disappear along with, a carbon scheme and the chances of any form of government subsidy.

 

The suppliers of LNG powered vehicles didn’t help either. The systems sold were either relatively inefficient or prohibitively expensive at the time and many operators eventually walked away from them.

 

This latest system from Iveco seems to be gaining some traction in Europe, where they do have a carbon trading scheme and the fuel does have some fiscal advantages.

 

Any chance of this technology being launched in Australia any time soon? Not much!

 

Fuel Cell Powered Truck

Fuel Cell Powered Truck

This fuel cell–powered truck looks amazingly like a Kenworth, but it isn’t. It’s a Toyota test truck running in California as part of the campaign by the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to minimise emissions in their area.

 

Toyota revealed ‘Project Portal’, a hydrogen fuel cell system designed for heavy-duty truck use at the Port of Los Angeles. The zero-emission truck proof of concept will take part in a feasibility study examining the potential of fuel-cell technology in heavy-duty applications.

 

“As they did with the Prius and the Mirai, Toyota is taking a leap into the future of technology,” said Mary D. Nichols, Chair, California Air Resources Board (CARB). “By bringing this heavy-duty, zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell proof of concept truck to the Port, Toyota has planted a flag that we hope many others will follow.

 

CARB will be following the progress of this feasibility study with interest, as we look to develop the best mix of regulations and incentives to rapidly expand the market for the cleanest, most efficient big trucks to meet the need for dramatic change in the freight sector.”

 

Project Portal is a fully functioning heavy duty truck with the power and torque capacity to conduct port drayage operations while emitting nothing but water vapour. Heavy duty vehicles make up a significant percentage of the annual emissions output at the Port of Los Angeles, and the Portal feasibility study may provide another path to further reduce emissions.

 

“Toyota believes that hydrogen fuel cell technology has tremendous potential to become the powertrain of the future,” said Toyota Executive Vice President, Bob Carter. “From creating one of the world’s first mass market fuel cell vehicles, to introducing fuel cell buses in Japan, Toyota is a leader in expanding the use of versatile and scalable zero-emission technology.”

 

The Project Portal platform is designed to provide the target performance required to support port drayage operations. The truck generates more than 670 hp and 1800 Nm of torque from two Mirai fuel cell stacks and a 12 kWh battery, a relatively small battery to support semi load operations. The concept’s gross combined weight capacity is 38 tonnes., and its estimated driving range is more than 320 km per fill, under normal port operation.

 

To see the power of this truck watch the first 20 seconds of this video:

 

“The Port of Los Angeles is excited to collaborate with Toyota to explore the feasibility of fuel cell technology for port drayage operations,” said Tony Gioiello, Deputy Executive Director of Port Development, Port of Los Angeles. “Our port and industry stakeholders have demonstrated their leadership in reducing pollution from port-related operations, and we see the potential of Toyota’s zero-emission heavy-duty truck technology as another solution to meet the long-term goals of the San Pedro Bay Ports Clean Air Action Plan.”