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Commercial Vehicle Engineer is the multi-award-winning online monthly for road transport engineers and fleet managers, delivering a unique blend of independent, well-informed analysis, hard-hitting comment and news on the commercial vehicle market and aftermarket. The May 2018 edition is now online, including news of a transatlantic tail-lift deal bertween Anteo of Italy and Tommy Gate of Iowa.

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For the 2018 CV Engineer media kit, including forward features list, click here





We take a closer look at all the latest evidence of how bus and coach electric driveline technology is finding its way into trucks. Daf Trucks has teamed up with a bus and coach manufacturing neighbour, VDL Group, to unveil a battery-powered CF two-axle tractor plated for 40 tonnes gross combination weight and said to have a maximum range of 100km. Spanish coach manufacturer Irizar meanwhile has announced its plan to enter the truck market for the first time next year with an eye-catching three-axle truck employing a battery-electric driveline which is already familiar to many coach and bus operators across Europe. Even more futuristic in appearance is the Shell Lubricants-backed Starship rig on a fully-freighted coast-to-coast trial in the US this month. Yet it is powered not by any electric motor but by a Cummins 15-litre diesel engine. Where does all this leave fleet engineers planning vehicle acquisition policies for maybe the next five years? Good question. We try to answer it.

We also report from the latest annual Federation of Petroleum Suppliers show in Liverpool, where government consultation on a “clean growth strategy” was causing a few furrowed brows among operators specialising in heating oil distribution.

People in the news this month include TRL boss Rob Wallis, speaking at the latest Microlise transport conference about the UK’s platooning trial but leaving many fleet engineers and transport managers still puzzled and unconvinced. Far more credible are MAN’s plans to recover lost ground in the European truck market, especially the UK. We hear from the new senior management team at MAN Truck & Bus.














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Tue 29 May, 2018

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May 2018

4 Comment
Mercy sakes alive, looks like we’ve got us a convoy trial that just wastes time and money. Is the £8.1 million being spent by the British government on a two-year trial of truck “platooning” (linking two, three or more trucks by Wi-Fi so they can travel together in close-coupled convoys) a sensible, cost-effective use of public money? Sceptics, including this publication, had their doubts from the moment the trial was announced with great fanfare last August. Now, nine months on and following the latest public comments by the man at the head of the organisation responsible for running the trial, TRL chief executive Rob Wallis, this scepticism has grown substantially. As pointed out by other speakers at the same Microlise-run conference at which Wallis was speaking this month, there is already ample international evidence to show conclusively that the maximum potential fuel economy and commensurate emissions-reduction benefit of platooning is modest. Improved aerodynamic efficiency can lead to a fuel economy improvement of around five per cent, true. But crucially this would apply only to the middle truck in a three-truck convoy. And one of many real challenges seemingly not being addressed at all in the TRL-run trial is “multi-brand platooning”, in other words developing the protocols, software and hardware that enables all kinds of trucks to communicate with each other with the 100 per cent reliability that is required to ensure they remain safe in all circumstances. Cue the European Union-backed Ensemble consortium involving all six European truck-makers and a host of big component and systems suppliers. Its first multi-brand trial is due to start later this year. But wider and deeper questions are raised by all the unbridled enthusiasm for autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicle technology, including that used in truck platooning, not only in the UK but in continental Europe and indeed worldwide. Here is a telling short extract from a powerful report, Safer Roads with Automated Vehicles?, published this month by the highly respected International Transport Forum at the OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development). “Vehicle automation strategies that keep humans involved in the driving task seem risky. A shared responsibility for driving among both automated systems and humans may not render decision making simpler, but more complex. Thus, the risk of unintended consequences that would make driving less safe, not more, could increase.” Maybe TRL engineers would be better employed on a rigorous exploration of this observation’s implications before wasting any more of their time and our money on trying to find a UK motorway that is not too congested to run any meaningful platooning trial.

4 Points of view
Former fleet engineer Paul Snell of Caistor is dismayed at all the fake news on diesel engines. Davinder Singh Bhogal of Parker Racor offers some engine filter tips. Simone Bruckner of Cressall Resistors provides an insight into some hidden electric vehicle technology. Simon Cook of Arval UK thinks parcels delivery will be the acid test for electric vans.

8 News
Platooning platitudes by the TRL truckload.

9 News
Anteo in transatlantic tail-lift deal.

10 News from the north
TH White acquires Outreach Truck. Dawsongroup buys Transflex.

12 News
MAN revs up on the comeback trail.

14 Is the future for electric trucks really all that bright?
Or will there be a mixture of electric motors, diesel engines and diesel/electric hybrids in many fleets before long? Shrewd commercial vehicle engineers surely will always specify the driveline that does the job most efficiently, not just the one that is grabbing most headlines. Tim Blakemore reports.

18 News from the north
Diesel-free fuel options from Johnston Sweepers. Fife Council focuses on efficient driving.

19 News from the north
Where does a Mercedes Unimog sit under operator licensing rules? Are road tests still acceptable for brake testing? Questions for our learned friend from Transport News, The Truck Advocate.

20 Oil distribution faces up to powerful winds of change
Government plans to sweep away oil-fired heating for homes and businesses as part of its “clean growth strategy” have huge implications for Federation of Petroleum Suppliers members. No wonder there were more than a few furrowed brows at this year’s FPS Expo. Tim Blakemore reports.

22 People and jobs
A former Volvo Trucks UK boss, Göran Nyberg, prepares to move to MAN Truck & Bus as sales and marketing boss. Narinder Paul joins the Skan Group Holdings board of directors. Obituaries: John Dickson-Simpson and Adrian Wickens.

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