On the streets of London, the CLOCS (Construction Logistics and Community Safety) ticking for truck owners in the UK capital. There’s been a growing debate in the UK on how to avoid collisions between commercial vehicles and cyclists. Truck makers are showcasing the designs they have come up with to avoid cyclist fatalities.
In 2011, an analysis of nine cycling fatalities involving trucks in London discovered that seven of them involved construction vehicles, triggering concerns that while the construction industry accounted for only a small-proportion of freight traffic running in and out of the nation’s capital, their trucks were ‘over represented’ in cyclist fatalities. Read more
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
This week, Autonomous Trucks, a 1,140hp Engine and Failed Speed Limits, plus a truckie survey, Hino awards and new investment are all in the news.
A hybrid truck rated at 1,140hp has been unveiled by two Finnish companies, Visedo and Sisu Auto. The two have teamed up to develop a hybrid electric parallel power system for the heavy truck market capable of delivering 1,140hp (850k) and more than 5,000Nm of torque. Read more
Launched earlier this year, Mercedes’ first fully electric truck is the all-electric ‘Urban eTruck’, based on a three-axle Mercedes Antos distribution chassis (complete with a heavily camouflaged cab) which was duly described as, “The first fully-electric truck for heavy distribution operations.” Less than two months later, up popped the Urban eTruck again, only this time sporting a smart curvaceous futuristic cab, and in pride-of-place at the centre of Mercedes’ IAA show stand. Electric heavies are suddenly big news. Read more
The man tasked with the job of running Mercedes Benz trucks in Australia is Michael May, long time servant of the company and part of the relatively young team now steering the Daimler Trucks ship in this country. Diesel News talked to him about his past and the future for the truck brand. Read more
Diesel News became part of the trial testing process in the development of the new truck from Mercedes Benz, which was released last month. Here is a Actros driver’s first impressions of the cab fwhen confronted with a new design and an array of buttons and displays.
The cabin on the model tested by Diesel is the biggest one we will see here in Australia. This has a flat floor and double bunks, fitted with the kind of things we expect in a top of the range European prime mover, a slide out fridge and storage drawer, plus well-appointed interior. The bottom bunk is large, in European terms, and comfortable. Read more
Here’s a new Mercedes Benz Actros preview, in the lead up to the new model’s first official public appearance, next week. The next generation Actros is all-new from stem to stern. There’s a completely new engine platform to go along with the all new cabin. In fact, the new cabin design is a necessity, the new engine is an in-line six and a completely different shape to the V6 and V8 engines powering the current Actros.
Evaluation models have been in and out of the training room at Mercedes Benz HQ in Mulgrave, Victoria, as a succession of technicians from around Australia attend training courses in the all-new product. It’s not just the technicians, there are the parts teams, sales support staff and anyone else needing to be brought up to speed on a product range which is completely different to the product they are dealing with on a day to day basis, at the moment.
“Having the evaluation vehicles in applications is giving those people supporting the new trucks in the relevant areas some direct, real life experience with the vehicles,” said Andrew Assimo, Mercedes Benz National Sales Manager. “Nine have been in operation and there will be fifteen, in total, before the evaluation period ends.
“Some are approaching 200,000 km. One in the West is a road train truck which is running between Perth and Onslow every day, about 2,500 km. It’s running at 110 tonnes GCM, all day, every day. It’s been a good test for that truck in the hottest, toughest type of environment and it’s been really successful. We’ve been able to keep it there for a long period of time.
“This performance and durability testing is evaluating reliability. In Germany we can get so many options, but not all of them make sense for what we want to offer in Australia. As much as further adapting local equipment and local OEM supplied components, it’s a process of finding what makes sense for our market in key applications. If we want to grow and focus our attention on capturing the mainstream on highway business, we’ve got to know what works and what doesn’t.”
Assimo needs to be able to say to customers, when the new Actros is launched, that a particular model is suitable and capable of handling a specific application. The work going on now means the person selling the truck will be able to tell a customer running the Eastern Seaboard at a particular average mass and average speed, what sort of fuel usage and durability they can expect from the truck.
The evaluation will also enable Benz to give precise details on servicing costs. It will also enable the team to develop fully maintained packages which can accurately predict the whole of life cost of a truck over periods up to five years.
The initial trucks brought in were specified as a baseline from which to work. Later introductions have adjusted options like rear axle ratios and tyres to further optimise parameters like fuel consumption and service intervals. The last models used in the testing program between now and the launch will be those with the specification options found to maximise performance.
The new truck on the way from Mercedes Benz should mean Daimler, as a group, and Mercedes Benz in particular have something completely new to show the world. The next generation Actros is all-new from stem to stern. There’s a completely new engine platform to go along with the all new cabin. In fact, the new cabin design is a necessity, the new engine is an in line six and a completely different shape to the V6 and V8 engines powering the current Actros.
Mercedes Benz is also increasing the intensity of its foray into the waste industry, with the introduction of the new dual control Econic, the first of its kind in the world, and set up specifically to handle Australian roadside bin collection.
The Econic is now one of three models introduced recently to compete with the Iveco Acco’s dominance of this market segment, one which it has dominated for a very long time. The others involved are the Dennis Eagle and the, new, Volvo FE dual control.
The big selling point for the new Actros, when it arrives later this year is, it will have been here for nearly two years already. In an unprecedented move the company has brought in a wide selection of pre-production models, put them in fleets around the country and tested them fully on our highways. The new shape is impossible to disguise, so Mercedes benz bit the bullet and painted the trucks up as evaluation models, making it clear they were not necessarily the final models which would go on sale.
The Benz organisation has used this time to really see what fits in the Aussie market and give the production facility back in Germany chapter and verse on what works and what doesn’t. The entire truck range has been honed in the place where it should be, out on the Australian highway.
One very small item which illustrates the depth of detail the team has gone to. An adaptation is now included so owners and drivers can fit UHF aerials directly on to the prewired set up in the truck. In the past, these were incompatible. Not a major thing, but it shows the level of work being put into this development process.
Driving the new Actros, as Diesel did, further emphasises just how new all of this stuff is. The information screens in the new truck are numerous and smart. The final offering is not yet settled, but there will be a smaller screen directly in front of the driver with all of the basic data plus selected camera feed, if fitted. One or two larger screens to the driver’s left are also likely, with one giving a higher level of information and using more camera feeds, and the other handling entertainment and communication.
In the Actros driven for this short test, it’s the model aimed at supermarket distribution-type operations, the number of drinks holders is impressive. It is possible to store a six-pack in the various positions, all with handy access for the driver. Another trivial observation, but illustrative of the quantum shift in design from the current Actros to the future model.
The Mercedes-Benz Truck Technician of the Year award has been awarded to a kiwi. New Zealander Matt Gillatt is a 31-year-old from Keith Andrews Trucks service centre in Whangarei, 150km north of Auckland. He emerged the winner in a tight contest of the best Mercedes-Benz commercial vehicle technicians in Australia and New Zealand.
His prize is an all-expenses-paid trip to Germany this September to visit the Benz truck production plant in Worth, attend the IAA Commercial Vehicles show in Hannover and visit the Mercedes-Benz museum in Stuttgart.
Iain Dorward, from Daimler Trucks Adelaide, was the runner up when the final points were tallied. The 32-year-old from Ireland did his apprenticeship at a Mercedes-Benz dealership in England before moving to Australia in January 2014.
Luckily for Iain, Mercedes-Benz Truck made a last minute announcement the runner-up would also be going on the same trip to Germany.
Other technicians who made the final, which was held at the Mercedes-Benz Truck and Bus training centre in Mulgrave, Victoria, included Bill Gauci and Terry Larkin of Daimler Trucks Sydney, Huntingwood, and Gary Bradshaw of Daimler Trucks Adelaide.
“These five finalists are our best certified Mercedes-Benz Truck diagnostic technicians, the cream of the crop, and it was a fantastic effort from all of them to reach the final,” said Michael May, Mercedes-Benz Truck and Bus Australia and New Zealand Director. “The competition was close and all of them showed great skill throughout the day, but Matt emerged as the winner, which is a great achievement.”