In a round-up of this week’s headlines from Diesel News, we hear about Toll Hikes, Truck Tunnels, Platooning, Batteries and Cameras.
The Victorian Transport Association (VTA) has said toll increases for heavy vehicles using Melbourne’s CityLink are ‘discriminatory’.
From April 1, Transurban is putting up tolls for heavy vehicles using the freeway by up to 125 per cent during the day.
“Unfortunately, the new CityLink pricing discriminates against the heavy vehicle industry compared to other road users, and is dependent upon the ‘industry’ passing on what can only be described as dramatic cost increases to remain viable,” said Peter Anderson, VTA CEO. “The new pricing agreed by the current Government reflects huge increases in the tolling values, and does nothing to discourage heavy vehicles from using smaller arterial roads.
“There has also been little justification from Transurban or the Government for such a large increase. The benefits associated with this widening project will have greater benefit to car users, which have had only a moderate five per cent increase in their tolls. The change in the multiple of Heavy Vehicle costing to cars has also had no explanation.”
Meanwhile in Western Australia, Premier Colin Barnett has promised to dig a three kilometre tunnel to Fremantle as part of the next phase of the controversial Freight Link, if re-elected. Previous attempts to create a new route for freight to and from the container terminal in Fremantle has been met by fierce protests by local residents on the route.
Construction of the proposed tunnel is supposed to start in 2020 and will meet up with other road projects which are still going ahead.
Members of theVolkswagen Truck Group are launching two truck platooning pilot projects, a Scania pilot project in Singapore and a MAN partnership with Schenker.
Scania will be developing and testing a comprehensive platooning solution in Singapore. Truck platoons each composed of four trucks are to cover a distance of ten kilometres on public roads to transport containers between various port terminals. The driver of the first truck will set the speed and direction, with the following three vehicles driving autonomously. This project has been commissioned by the Singapore port authority and the ministry of transport.
Given the high population density and lack of drivers, the Singapore government is interested in new technology-based transportation solutions. During the first phase of the project, Scania will be trialling the technology at its own test facility in Södertälje, Sweden, where it will be customising it to meet local conditions. After this has been completed, the second phase will involve testing in Singapore.
MAN and logistics specialist DB Schenker are also forging a platooning partnership. It marks the first platooning alliance between an automotive manufacturer and a logistics company. Its purpose is to test platooning under realistic conditions over an extended period of time to gain meaningful data. For this purpose, a truck platoon is to travel on the A9 motorway between Munich and Nuremberg in Germany from 2018.
“The pilot projects are key components of more efficient transportation of goods on the road,” said Andreas Renschler, VW’s Truck Supremo. “Platooning is beneficial for the environment, improves the flow of traffic and increases road safety. What we now need is the legislative framework allowing us to introduce platooning on public roads.”
Elsewhere in Europe, NanoFlowcell has announced it has successfully achieved variable controllability for flow cells. By being able to vary fuel cell control directly and dispense with the previously necessary supercapacitors, NanoFlowcell has achieved a significant reduction in the cost and weight of drive systems for electric cars.
The benefits of the flow-cell based drive technology compared with other electric drive systems i.e. with lithium-ion batteries or hydrogen fuel cells, can achieve better power, range, environmental compatibility, cost-effectiveness and safety.
In the Netherlands, Orlaco is the first company to receive approval from the transport authorities in that country to legally fit camera/monitor systems to replace front and kerb view mirrors on some classes of trucks.
CornerEye consists of an HD camera and monitor. The camera with wide angle lens is mounted on the front of the cabin and provides a large field of vision of 270 degrees. The 10,1 inch monitor is mounted in the cabin on the passenger’s side and shows a real time image.