New regulations in Europe may see DAF trucks going very quiet, according to Diesel’s correspondent there, Brian Weatherley. A silent truck recently unveiled by DAF was part of a number of product improvements, for the European market right across its truck range. The DAF 7.5 tonne LF ‘Silent’ chassis joins equivalent low-noise MX 11 powered CF and XF models.
First launched on the CF in 2014, the Silent option is based on a package of modifications including dedicated engine software which limits power and torque and instigates gear shifts at lower engine revs on auto-equipped Silent chassis. In the case of the LF, it’s the six-speed AS-Tronic, CF and XF Silent models have the 12-speed auto.
On CF and XF Silent models additional sound-deadening encapsulation is required on the gearbox. However, the Silent LF manages without any noise insulation material around its transmission. The upshot of the noise reduction is that LF,CF and XF Silent models all have a Dutch PIEK ‘Quiet truck’ certified drive-by noise level of 72dB(A), some 8dB(A) lower than the normal chassis.
To select Silent mode the driver simply presses a button on the dash. To return to normal driving mode they simply press it again to revert to full power and torque. When the Silent mode is engaged noise levels are said to be even quieter than an equivalent gas-engine truck. According to DAF, the Silent mode really comes into its own during the last mile of the journey to the delivery point where low-noise becomes crucial. Will there be a Silent PX 7 engine? It will depend on ‘demand’ said the Dutch manufacturer.
DAF’s Silent range will certainly interest those operators delivering into London where all the latest talk amongst the UK capital’s politicians and assorted regulatory bodies is of banning trucks during rush-hour. The move, already criticised by the trade associations, is intended to reduce the number of collisions between trucks and cyclists.
However, if hauliers can’t deliver during the early morning rush hour the available delivery window may well extend into ‘after-hours’, and that means facing the wrath of local residents who don’t want to be kept awake by trucks delivering at night. So right now low-noise vehicles are attracting attention from the bigger logistics fleets faced with the prospect of trying to square that particular circle. If local residents down-under are kicking off about noisy night-time trucks you might be interested in them too.
Diesel had a go at driving the LF 180 ‘Silent’ four-wheeler with the smaller 184 hp 4.5 litre PX5 four-pot and six-speed auto. With the Silent mode engaged, the engine revs are kept below 1,600rpm before changing gear, so progress is unhurried but never sluggish. It’s also a good reminder that accelerating hard in busy urban traffic is a no-brainer anyway, why try to be first at the next set of red lights, or traffic queue?