In the news this week have been a Top Female Driver, Australian Truck Manufacturing, Penske Dealership Change and Autonomous Trucks and the need for supporting infrastructure.
Tasmanian Kerri Connors, of Caltas, was named winner of the 2017 Volvo Drivers’ Fuel Challenge on-road category in a competition which put Australia’s most fuel-efficient drivers head to head. The off-road title was claimed by Cameron Simpson of Simpson’s Fuel in Victoria. Over a two-day event at Mt Cotton in Queensland, the competition was whittled down from 17 drivers in the semi-final, to nine in the final. Read more
This year will see the introduction of a number of new models from International. There are four basic models in the new ProStar range arriving on the Australian truck market – a day-cab prime mover, a day-cab tipper chassis, an extended cab sleeper and a 40-inch sleeper-cab prime mover option.
All of these will have just one engine option – the Cummins X15, the renamed evolution of the highly successful E5 ISX. It will be rated at 550hp (410kW) and put out 2,580Nm (1850 ft lb) of torque. This is probably the most popular engine and rating in the Australian heavy-duty market. So no surprises there. Read more
Back in the ‘80s and ‘90s, Europe’s truck manufacturers liked to spring the odd surprise at the various annual shows. By ‘odd’ I mean those wonderfully futuristic concept trucks that looked great under the spotlights, before eventually ending-up in some dusty corner of the R&D department…or scrapped. Read more
When the second generation Stralis Hi-Way’ smart fuel saving was unveiled to the press (it went on to win the International Truck of the Year award for 2013) the Italians made great play of the fact that the driving force behind their new long-haul heavy was a major reduction in its Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). Here is a brief run down on the latest Stralis range from Diesel News’ European Correspondent, Brian Weatherley.
Thanks to major savings in fuel the latest range-topping Stralis ‘XP’ (it stands for Extra Performance) offers long-haul operators significant reductions in CO₂ emissions too. So much so the clever marketing folk in Turin are calling their Stralis XP flagship a ‘TCO₂ Champion’…(TCO/TCO₂ geddit?)
Underneath the cab is where the major fuel-saving changes can be found, in particular the latest Euro 6 ‘C’ Hi-SCR Cursor 9, 11 and 13 in-line six diesels, which boast lower internal friction, thanks to re-profiled pistons and a revised ring pack, better thermal management, a new anti-idling function and, on selected long-haul Stralis XP variants, so-called ‘Smart’ engine auxiliaries to prevent parasitic losses when they’re not needed.
These include the clutch compressor and air-processing unit, an energy-recovery alternator with intelligent battery monitoring and a variable-flow steering pump. Smart ancillaries are definitely the in-thing for all the engine-makers right now, or at least until the next major step-change improvement in engine brake thermal efficiency comes along in the shape of waste-heat recovery, something Iveco is also working on.
The Euro 6 Cursor engine line-up remains virtually unchanged in terms of power and torque outputs. New arrivals are the 480hp top-rating on the Cursor 11 and the slightly-more powerful (by 10hp) range-topping 570 hp Cursor 13 (for Europe). Both feature what Iveco calls ‘Smart EGR’.
What the Italians have done on both these engines is to advance their injection timing to get better combustion and improved fuel economy. Naturally, the downside of advancing the timing is you create greater heat inside the combustion chamber, which produces more NOx. Not what you want.
However, by adding a small amount (only eight per cent) of exhaust gas recirculation back into the combustion chamber the engine-out NOx levels on the 480 and 570 Cursor remain the same as before, with the exhaust gases treated in the normal way by the Italian ’s Hi-SCR (selective catalytic reduction) system, without any change in AdBlue dosing levels.
The fuel savings of Smart EGR alone are roughly between 1 and 1.5 per cent. Other energy-saving engine enhancements include, the new reduced friction 2.47:1 Meritor back-axle (it’s the longest ratio in its class and lowers engine revs by seven per cent), the latest low-rolling resistance triple ‘A’ X-Line Energy Michelin eco tyres, plus the all-new Hi-Tronix 12-speed gearbox and the GPS-based Hi-Cruise predictive cruise control with eco-roll, and together they all add-up to 11 per cent fuel gain. Overall the new driveline changes represent a double-digit improvement over the previous Stralis.
Talking of the Stralis ’s latest Hi-Tronix two-pedal auto, it represents the very first installation of the all-new ‘TraXon’ automated transmission from ZF in a European heavy truck chassis. Hi-Tronix takes over the cog-swapping duties on the Stralis from the previous AS-Tronic auto, again supplied by ZF but called EuroTronic by Iveco.
Meanwhile, Iveco ’s chassis engineers have also got in on the act by completely redesigning the Stralis’s rear suspension which, while more durable is actually lighter to the tune of 45 kg. Higher resistance to corrosion, achieved with surface treatment of all key metallic components, means lower maintenance costs too. Last but not least, New Stralis has a completely new electrics and pneumatics layout which has helped bring repair and maintenance costs down by between five and eight per cent compared with the previous models, further underpinning Iveco’s commitment to reduce its overall TCO.
The long anticipated announcement of the return of International Trucks to the Australian market has been made public this week. This follows 18 months of speculation about who would distribute the US brand, after its relaunch at the Brisbane Truck Show in 2015.
The joint announcement by CNH Industrial and Navistar tells us Iveco in Australia has been appointed sole distributor of International Trucks in this market. The exact details are still being finalised by both parties as they evaluate several models, like the ProStar, and others offered in the US market.
This means we will see the return of the International brand to its home in Australia for many years, Iveco’s Dandenong headquarters and production plant, where International trucks were produced from 1952 until the late nineties. The current Acco model sold by Iveco started life as the International Acco in the sixties and remains a stalwart of the Iveco range.
“Despite not having sold here for a number of years, ‘Inter’ is still entrenched in the Australian market and remembered fondly by fleet operators, this enthusiasm for the marque was also highlighted at the 2015 Brisbane Truck Show with both the ProStar and LoneStar display trucks capturing show-goers’ imaginations,” said Mark Belisle, Navistar SVP Distribution and Export. “Of course, the return of a brand to Australia that is so well regarded, deserved a detailed plan befitting its standing here, and that meant establishing a partnership with a company that was well equipped to assist in properly relaunching in the local market.
“In CNH Industrial we’ve found a partner with the necessary credentials and industry experience to help Navistar meet its goals here. The close history between CNH Industrial’s Iveco brand and International is not lost on us either, it adds an element of emotion to the partnership.
“We look forward to the months ahead and bringing some exciting new International vehicles to market.”
Also recalling the long historical association between the Iveco organisation here and the International brand, CNH Industrial Executive Managing Director ANZ, Ray Osgood, said he was extremely pleased to have established a partnership with Navistar for the distribution rights.
“International had a long and successful history in Australia and dominated the commercial vehicle market for several decades, there remains a lot of passion for the brand here today, and it still has a lot of equity in this market.
“CNH Industrial is extremely excited at the prospect of partnering with Navistar in reintroducing the iconic International Trucks to Australia. Our operational experience with Iveco and the obvious synergies and history between the two brands will provide notable efficiencies as the International range is introduced in the months ahead.
“Furthermore, we see the arrangement to be mutually beneficial in that the International product range primarily consisting of conventional cabs, will compliment Iveco’s strengths in cab-over truck models.”
A test drive of an Iveco prime mover demonstrates the simple Stralis instrumentation strategy. Driving a modern truck involves a lot of time watching flickering LCD screens in the cabin. The Iveco Stralis cab design is 14 years old, it was quite a futuristic looking truck when first launched, but in the intervening time the look has matured.
The dash is interesting and, at its centre, is, probably, the LCD screen which is easiest to see and understand, on the Australian market. The images are clearly visible, even in direct sunlight. The controls do not confuse with too many options, either.
Top right hand corner tells us which gear we are in. Then you get the mode you are in and how many gears up or down can be accessed manually. In the middle is more general information. If the radio is on it will tell you the station.
To the left of this are the two speed limiter and cruise control figures. Cruise control is set on a right hand stalk, press the button to activate and then use the up and down buttons on the end of the stalk to control the set speed, simple.
The layout of the screen can be changed to suit the driver. A fuel consumption read-out would be useful. It shows the basics like oil pressure etc. Unlike the LCD screen, the speedo and tacho do not have the clear visibility in bright sunshine. Sometimes it can be quite difficult to see speed with a quick glance.
There are no frills with the Stralis, all of the sophistication is out of sight. The simplicity of some of the controls mean Iveco have restrained themselves to only having five buttons on the top of the driver’s door. This is much less than any other European truck on the market.
Climbing in and out of the cab is simple with well placed steps and grab handles with some thought going into their positioning. A lot of the features have been set up precisely, the seats are comfortable and the cabin is air suspended with well-adjusted dampers on the rear.
The mirror position controls are a smart solution to a problem every truck brand solves in a different way. Press the button and on the dash LCD screen appears an image of the front of the cab with one of the four mirrors highlighted. Click away until the correct mirror is found and use the single adjustment button to position it correctly.
The climate control system is easy to use, with bright numbers telling the driver what it is set to. There is a very useful pocket above the radio, which just so happens to be the perfect size to hold the Australian work diary. It was probably designed to take a laptop, but finding a place to keep the diary handy and secure can often be problematic in the modern truck.
The radio controls are simple and straight forward. This design sums up the whole truck. The designers have thought about it and reduced complications in the controls of, what is, a sophisticated device.
Steering wheel adjustment can be activated by pressing a button on the floor, not obvious to this driver when a different mat has been placed under foot, we got there in the end. The drinks holder does not appear to be either as big or robust as many drivers would like.
Massive collusion fines for truck makers have been handed down by the European Union. According to the EU the group of manufacturers were found to be acting as a cartel to fix prices of trucks and time the introduction of technologies to comply with emissions rules.
The fines amount to 3 billion euros ($4.4 billion) and are said to be the highest ever levied by the European authorities. All of the major suppliers to the European market were included in the decision. Those fined in the case so far include MAN, Mercedes Benz, DAF, Iveco and Volvo/Renault and it was asserted they had been colluding for 14 years, from 1997 to 2011. Scania is still under investigation. Read more
Iveco have launched the next generation of the Stralis model with a new drive line and more powerful electronics, claiming fuel savings of over ten per cent. The New Stralis XP follows the Stralis Hi-Way, launched in 2012, retaining the cabin and SCR only emission control technology, but not for all drivelines.
Some of the engines, in trucks designed for long international haulage in Europe, will include an element of EGR. This will run at eight per cent recirculation and, Iveco claim, will not require increased cooling in the European market. The Stralis 480XP and 570XP models in Europe, designed for extra-long haul missions, will feature the new Smart EGR.
For Europe, the Cursor 13 engine will be offered up to 570 hp. However, any introduction in Australia is likely to take some time and this higher horsepower option is unlikely to make it here.
According to the launch release, all the improvements and new features generate fuel savings of up to 11 per cent, while other new services on offer can add further savings of up to three per cent. Iveco is reckoning its new models will be able to improve the total cost of ownership of a Stralis in long-haul applications by 5.6 per cent.
“The New Stralis XP is a truck at the leading edge of technology that delivers an extraordinary TCO (total cost of ownership) and CO2 performance,” said Pierre Lahutte, Iveco Brand President. “It is the perfect truck for long haulage operators: from their vehicles they want no stoppages, no troubles, no downtime and low TCO. With our unique approach that integrates perfectly product and services, we developed a vehicle of outstanding reliability and fuel economy that comes with our uptime guarantee and a whole range of new services to help them manage their fleets efficiently. The New Stralis XP is a true TCO2 Champion born to run on all European motorways.”
One of the fuel saving strategies is the, so called, Smart Auxiliaries which automatically disconnect or go into energy-saving mode when they are not needed. The components include the clutch compressor and air processing unit, energy-recovery alternator with intelligent battery monitoring and a variable-flow steering pump.
Iveco is also introducing its predictive GPS-based Hi-Cruise system which controls eco-roll, gear shifting and cruise control. This is coupled with the new 12-speed Hi-Tronix AMT, developed in collaboration with ZF. The claimed shifting time has been reduced by 10 per cent, with improved durability. It also features a slow manoeuvring mode for low-speed operation, working like a torque-converter transmission, a rocking back and forwards function, four reverse gears and a new range of PTOs.
The new AMT, along with a taller rear axle ratio of 2.47 is reckoned to translate into a seven per cent reduction in engine rpm.
Iveco are also going down the onboard monitoring and training route with the TCO2 LIVE modular program, with a detailed report on the fuel consumption of each vehicle in the fleet emailed to the customer every week, and fuel efficiency advice based on real-life truck analysis.
A new Trade Skills Centre has been opened in Glenala State High School, based in the Archerfield, Richlands, Wacol area where much of the trucking industry is based, to the West of Brisbane. The TSC is a federally funded initiative through the Trade Training Centres in Schools Project and will, with the help of the Heavy Vehicle Industry Association, be the venue for the delivery of the Certificate 2 in Automotive Vocational Preparation (heavy vehicle stream) and Certificate 2 in Logistics to Year 11 and 12 students from July 2016. Read more