Revolutionizing Road Freight: UK’s Major Leap Towards Sustainable eHGVs with ?6.2 Million Investment

The dawn of a new era in road freight is upon us, with the UK government's recent expansion of its funding scheme for vehicle-to-everything (V2X) projects, marking a pivotal moment in the transport industry's shift towards sustainability. Spearheaded by Kaasai Services Ltd, ZevHub Ltd, and Project Better Energy Ltd, an ambitious electric heavy goods vehicle (eHGV) project has been launched, receiving a significant funding boost of GBP1,404,414, elevating the total government investment across all projects to an impressive GBP6.2 million. This initiative not only aims to demonstrate the economic viability of eHGVs but also seeks to make them more affordable than their diesel counterparts through innovative V2X technologies.


Integrating Innovation for a Greener Tomorrow

At the heart of this groundbreaking project lies the integration of Kaasai's advanced digital platform with Project Better Energy's bi-directional chargers, and ZevHub's robust charging infrastructure, enabling efficient vehicle-to-grid (V2G) services.

This strategic collaboration is designed to harness V2X technologies for load-balancing, frequency stabilisation, and resilience, thereby facilitating a seamless transition to a more sustainable and low-carbon energy ecosystem. The initiative is poised to leverage smart charging technologies and the utilization of renewable energy sources, such as solar power, to revolutionize the road freight sector.

Case Study: Veolia's V2G Trial Success


A shining example of the potential of V2G technology is the successful trial by waste collection fleet operator Veolia, which is on a mission to electrify all its 1,800 Refuse Collection Vehicles (RCV) by 2040. This trial underscores the significant flexible power capacity that V2G technology can provide to the national grid, offering a glimpse into the future of electric fleet operations.

Veolia's commitment to electrification aligns with the broader goals of the eHGV project, further validating the transformative impact of V2X technologies on the transport industry.

Looking Ahead: The Road to Net Zero

The eHGV project, along with the wider adoption of V2X technologies, represents a critical step forward in the UK's journey towards achieving net zero emissions.

As the project unfolds, it promises not only to redefine the economic landscape of road freight but also to significantly reduce the environmental footprint of heavy goods transportation.

With the UK government's substantial investment and the collaborative efforts of industry leaders, the future of road freight looks brighter and greener, paving the way for a sustainable transport ecosystem that benefits both the economy and the planet.

Ardent Hire sticks with Volvo for new 20 truck order

  |   Road Transport   |   Ardent Hire sticks with Volvo for new 20 truck order

09:00 Mon 26th Feb 2024 | Posted By UKHAULIER

1 hour ago

Plant rental and sales specialist Ardent Hire has taken delivery of 20 new Volvo FH 500 6x2 tractor units as part of a major fleet upgrade programme. Volvo Trucks beat off the competition of two other manufacturers to secure the order, with the customer citing the reliability and driver comfort of the FH, as well as strong aftersales support, as the key reasons for the decision.
Supplied by Matt Kubot, Transport Solutions Executive at Volvo Truck and Bus South & East, the new FHs were handed over at Ardent Hire's Felixstowe depot and will join its busy UK-wide operation.
Gareth Clements, Group Operations Director, at Ardent Hire, says: "We have been long-term admirers of the Volvo product, having run its trucks for a number of years now. The FH is ideally suited to our line of work and, following a thorough procurement process, Volvo Trucks came out on top for us again.
"The overall driver experience in the Globetrotter cab is second to none, and we know the FH is as reliable as they come.

The aftersales support is also crucial. We run a national operation providing first-class plant equipment across the country, Volvo has an excellent dealer network that helps keeps us moving."
The new FHs are powered by a Euro-6 compliant D13K Step E engine, producing 500 hp and a peak torque of 2,500 Nm, and driven through an automated 12-speed I-Shift transmission.
Ardent Hire operates 24/7, distributing and balancing out depot stock levels overnight, allowing its trucks to be available for customer deliveries and collections throughout the day. To ensure its drivers are comfortable while they work, the business has specified each Globetrotter cab with a Drive+ package, adding creature comforts including fully electronic air conditioning with sun, mist, and air quality sensors with carbon filter, an adjustable steering wheel with neck-tilt and an electrically operated fabric interior sun visor.
Other interior benefits include a premium 50mm mattress topper and a reclining bunk, plus 245 litres of rear cab upper storage and a 33-litre under bunk-mounted fridge/freezer.
To protect the trucks during their work delivering heavy plant machinery to busy construction sites, the FHs are built with a high chassis and feature a heavy-duty bumper.

Made of 3mm high-grade steel and partly covered by a thick polypropylene coating, it's designed to shield the front of the truck from scratches, dents and broken headlights on any terrain.
"We operate at STGO Category 2 which allows us to run at 65 tonnes, and we have a special construction specification," adds Clements. "These trucks have been carefully built which gives us an end product that we believe is the envy of the industry."
Replacing 20 older Volvo Trucks models in the company's 50-strong fleet, the FHs are expected to cover 80,000km per year.

They are set to be joined by a further 12 Volvo FMX 8x2 rigids at Ardent Hire later in the year.

EVs hit traffic as Mercedes backs away from plan to go electric-only by 2030

Mercedes Benz has backtracked on its previous plan to go all-electric by 2030, with the car giant now saying that it'll continue to offer a mix of EVs and combustion engine cars well into the next decade.

Many automotive giants have set themselves hard targets to deliver an electric-only model range, most of which coincide with numerous government announcements surrounding a ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030 – although that has already been pushed back to 2035 in the UK and other markets.

Mercedes-Benz was one such manufacturer to announce that it would go 'electric only' in 2021, stating that "by the end of the decade, Mercedes-Benz[1] will be ready to go fully electric – wherever market conditions permit."

But it seems that current market conditions have forced a backtrack on the statement, as Ola Källenius, the group's CEO, claims that an era where EVs would cost the same as an equivalent petrol or diesel car is still “many years away”, according to The Telegraph[2].

He added: "The company plans to be in a position to cater to different customer needs, whether it’s an all-electric drivetrain or an electrified combustion engine, until well into the 2030s".

Mercedes-Benz Concept CLA Class

(Image credit: Mercedes-Benz)

In fact, Mercedes predicts that electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles will only make up around 50 per cent of the brand’s overall sales by the late 2020s, which is a massive decrease on the confident prediction of three years ago.

The news from the German automotive giant follows a number of announcements from other major brands that have recently eased off the gas when it comes to EV plans. 

Ford paused a $12 billion investment[3] in new EV manufacturing capability while it gets a handle on the market (hybrids have really taken off for the Blue Oval). Meanwhile, GM keeps pushing back production[4] of its all-electric trucks and some large-scale fleet operators have started backtracking on mass adoption[5] of EVs as the plummeting residual values are killing business.

Have EVs run out of juice?

Mercedes-Benz Ola Källenius

(Image credit: Mercedes-Benz)

On the surface, it appears that public appetite for the electric vehicle is waning, but the overall sales figures paint a different picture. 

EVs are on track to hit 9 per cent[6] of all cars sold in the US, with some analysts predicting that could be as high as 13 per cent[7] – or just under 1.9 million units.

Bloomberg[8] predicts 16.7 million EVs will be sold globally in 2024, a 22 per cent growth figure over the previous year, with sales in the subsequent two years potentially spiking thanks to the introduction of a slew of more affordable models from a number of manufacturers.

Mercedes’ recent announcement seems like a bold backtrack, but it looks as if the company is hedging its bets, re-forecasting a very ambitious target based on its current customer behavior.

As Ford found with its customers' recent sway towards hybrids, converting the mass market is proving a lot harder now most of the early adopters have EVs. They are generally more skeptical of the charging infrastructure and distinctly more price-savvy. 

Currently, much of the EV offering across the board is still very expensive, while hedging bets with modern hybrids, which can now manage a decent range on electric power only, feels like a sensible middle-ground for many. This is a point Toyota CEO, Akio Toyoda, has been making for years. 

Mercedes-Benz appears to be reacting to this issue, offering its customers the option of an internal combustion engine mated to electrification in order to smooth the transition to pure EV. 

After all, the race towards a fully electric future has always been viewed as a marathon, not a sprint, despite many governments’ bullish plans to speed up adoption.

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  1. ^ Mercedes-Benz (www.mercedes-benz.co.uk)
  2. ^ The Telegraph (www.telegraph.co.uk)
  3. ^ paused a $12 billion investment (www.businessinsider.com)
  4. ^ pushing back production (www.cnbc.com)
  5. ^ backtracking on mass adoption (www.travelweekly.com)
  6. ^ on track to hit 9 per cent (www.theverge.com)
  7. ^ could be as high as 13 per cent (www.caranddriver.com)
  8. ^ Bloomberg (www.bloomberg.com)

Multimodal Logistics selects Renault Trucks T480 High Turbo Compound

Felixstowe-based Multimodal Logistics has added five new T480 High Turbo Compound 6×2 tractor units to its fleet, the first for the container haulage operator, supplied by Renault Truck Commercials.

Tim Wray, Managing Director, Multimodal Logistics said: “Our operation has witnessed substantial growth, doubling our fleet size since 2019. After running a competitor’s model during this period, we felt it was an opportunity to explore other brands in the market to ensure that our trucks are delivering optimum performance to our business.”

The T480 High is working on UK-wide container distribution. Tim said: “We selected the T480 High TC for its driver appeal. The drivers are out all week tramping, and we wanted a high-specification vehicle with all the creature comforts. The T-High cab fits the bill perfectly and provides a roomy working and living space.”

The T480 High TCs have been secured on a 48-month contract, with maintenance carried out by Renault Truck Commercials in Felixstowe. All new vehicles have been supplied with Renault Truck’s Optifleet fleet management system facilitating informed decision-making, reducing operating costs and monitoring real-time performance of both vehicles and drivers.

Tim concluded: “The vehicles are hitting their targets and performing well on fuel, achieving in excess of 11mpg, which is in the top end of fuel figures for the fleet. Our initial impressions of the dealership have been excellent too, they are forward-thinking, and customer focused, and we look forward to working with the team.”

Volvo Trucks wraps up big order with paper specialist DS Smith

DS Smith Logistics has taken delivery of 61 new Volvo FM 460 Globetrotter 6×2 tractor units as part of a major fleet renewal programme.

The new trucks – that arrive via a long-term contract-hire agreement from TIP Group – replace vehicles from a rival manufacturer in the paper, packaging and recycling business’ busy operation.

Volvo Trucks secured the order on the back of the strong performance of a demonstrator that highlighted the reliability, fuel economy and payload potential of the FM.

India Wacher, Fleet Compliance & HS/E Manager at DS Smith Logistics, says: “This is a major order for our business, replacing the entirety of our 61-strong truck fleet. We underwent a thorough procurement process, which considered numerous truck manufacturers, and the Volvo FM emerged as the best truck for the business.

“Our trucks are worked very hard, so we need a product we can rely on, and from previous experience we know Volvo are dependable. Safety, environment and vehicle weight are the other main factors we consider, while product availability was also an important part of the decision. Overall, the FM gives us a good all-round package.”

Steve Stanton, Key Account Manager, TIP Group commented: “Our brief from DS Smith was to replace an ageing fleet with new, reliable vehicles, and a key requirement for the new units was tare weight. Volvo’s FM 460 Globetrotter 6×2 tractor units, when fitted with alloy wheels, aluminium air tanks and range-optimised fuel tanks enjoy an enviable weight advantage, while Volvo’s reputation for providing quality vehicles with excellent support also gave both parties great confidence.”

Supplied by Jose Lavarello, Key Account Manager for Volvo Trucks UK & Ireland, the new FMs, paired with curtainsider trailers also from TIP, will be used to take paper reels from DS Smith’s Kemsley Paper Mill to customers across the UK. The trucks then bring bailed fibre into the mill, which is recycled back into paper reels.

It’s a 24/7 operation which will see the FMs double-shifted and clock-up in the region of 130,000 miles every year.

Each new tractor unit is powered by a D13k Step E engine, producing 460 hp and a maximum torque figure of 2300 Nm. These are paired with Volvo’s 12-speed I-Shift automated gearbox technology and I-See predictive cruise control, which works to yield further sustainability and operational efficiency gains through perfectly timed gearshifts and active speed management. To maximise that fuel economy potential all the new trucks are fitted with A-rated Michelin X Line Energy tyres.

To boost safety, the trucks are supplied with multiple cameras which can be viewed through the driver’s nine-inch side display, plus an added lower window in the passenger door to help meet the 3-star Direct Vision Standard (DVS) rating for working in central London.
Volvo’s distinctive V-Shaped LED headlamps help always ensure DS Smith Logistics’ drivers have a clear view of the road.

“Our deliveries do take us into Transport for London’s controlled zones, and we need these trucks to be as safe for all road users as possible,” adds Wacher. “Driver comfort is also really important – we want to provide our staff with the best tools for the job.”

The interior of the FMs’ spacious Globetrotter cabs feature several Volvo optional packages. A Drive+ package adds fully electronic air conditioning with sun sensor, dual armrests on the driver’s seat and an additional storage drawer. A one person Living package features extra rear cab storage, a bottle holder and a cab parking heater. From the vehicles’ air-suspended driver seats occupants also benefit from a Volvo Media package featuring a high performance 12” fully dynamic instrument cluster.

ISUZU leads 7.5-tonne market

Vehicle registration data published by the SMMT has revealed a new market leader in the 7.5-tonne commercial vehicle sector, with Isuzu Truck UK securing the hotly contested number one spot for the first time ever.

The Japanese manufacturer secured 34.79 % of the market, up from 28.32% in 2022, in a market that saw growth of 1.87% to reach 3,104 units overall.

Celebrating the news, Pete Murphy, Managing Director of Isuzu Truck UK, says: “This is an absolutely historic milestone for Isuzu in the UK and demonstrates the level of trust and loyalty we have built in the brand over the last 28 years. I have been with the business since 1998 and this has genuinely been my dream since day one.

“Our product at 7.5-tonnes offers a fantastic proposition to all operators within that weight sector, particularly when it comes to the all-important matters of payload capacity, reliability, and durability. Every truck we sell is also backed by our Customer CARE programme, which remains unique within the industry and delivers a wealth of benefits to everyone who purchases an Isuzu truck, irrespective of their fleet size.”

Isuzu’s registrations at 7.5 tonnes grew by more than 25% year-on-year. They were split evenly between retail and fleet customers, with the brand securing the number one position across most body types categorised within the SMMT’s data. This included top spot for tippers, dropsides/flatbeds, refrigerated vehicles, recovery trucks, refuse/municipal vehicles, tankers, and demountables.

Isuzu Truck UK also registered more vehicles across the range in 2023 than at any time in the company’s 28-year history.

Looking ahead, Stuart Beeton, Head of Sales & Marketing at Isuzu Truck UK, adds: “We have a strong forward order bank for 2024, including a significant volume of repeat customer orders. In such a competitive market you cannot retain business without first class aftersales support at a dealer and manufacturer level, and it’s here that our Customer CARE programme makes such a difference. It’s a driving force behind our continued year-on-year growth.”

Collaboration for a greener future: Professor Philip Greening on Heriot Watt’s call for hauliers to share data

Directed by Professor Philip Greening, Heriot Watt's Director of The Centre for Sustainable Road Freight and the Centre for Logistics and Sustainability, the project seeks to identify strategic locations for on-route charging or refuelling facilities, and offer recommendations to investors for charging facility prioritisation and phasing. To get the inside track on the project, and learn how it will help to shape Scotland's switch to zero-emission haulage, we spoke to Professor Philip Greening himself.

From what we know now, where is charging most likely to happen?

Once the 'Charging or refuelling needs for trucks in Scotland' project gathers sufficient data, it will be possible to pinpoint where charging infrastructure is required. However, in the meantime, with the information we have at present, what hypotheses can be made about where charging infrastructure should be constructed?

Quite simply, as Professor Greening highlighted during our discussion, charging should take place first and foremost where HGVs are regularly stopping already. "You don't want to interfere with the logistics system, or you want to interfere with it as little as possible," explained Professor Greening. "That means that you want to ideally charge vehicles where they currently stop. So the most obvious place is at a warehouse where they have to unload.

That's a period of time when the vehicle isn't available for anything else, making it a good place to charge vehicles if you can." For the same reason, Professor Greening believes lorry parks where drivers stop for their obligatory rest periods would also be ideal locations for charging facilities. Moreover, when it comes to service stations, one aspect that will influence the demand for charging will be whether so-called 'electronic highways' are built on key routes.

"You can put an electric road system where there's overhead cables that can charge vehicles dynamically, allowing them to move and charge at the same time. You would only ever do that on the strategic road network or the main trunk roads. That would mean that when trucks stop at most service stations, they'd already be charged.

That would naturally mean the charging requirements would be less," Professor Greening told Trans.INFO.

Could private interests see road users prioritised over haulage?

As for the charging infrastructure at these service stations, is there a danger that these new facilities could be more geared towards car users than freight vehicles? Professor Greening is not concerned that such an outcome will come to fruition: "I don't think so at the moment to be honest.

The people who are making it their business to provide HGV charging facilities are interested in putting them into service stations, and the service stations themselves are accepting of those charging facilities," the professor told Trans.INFO. On the other hand, Greening noted how grid capacity constraints could prove to be an issue at some sites: "The issue is that there may be capacity constraints that determine how many chargers you can have.

So the easy wins will be to put chargers where there is supply capacity, or where you can have off grid generation feeding the chargers. Then you don't have to bother about your connection to the grid, as you'd generate electricity locally."

Scotland, green energy and the UK

Research has shown how much a greener grid can really boost the decarbonisation benefits of road freight going electric. With that in mind, does Scotland's abundance of green energy make it the ideal place to embrace the decarbonisation that comes from the switch to electric HGVs?

In Professor Greening's opinion, the fact that so much road freight flows throughout the UK means that people really need to think about the move to zero-emission freight within a UK-wide context. "It is certainly true that the decarbonisation of the grid drives the decarbonisation of transport. It's also true that Scotland is making more of a contribution because of its green electricity generation, and Scotland should be proud of that.

You need a holistic picture rather than the sort of local picture though, because trucks from the rest of the UK go to Scotland and back. So you need a UK-wide strategy for the electrification of transport," said Professor Greening.

The cost of switching to electric

Addressing energy costs, Professor Greening emphasises that electric trucks, despite higher initial capital costs, are more economical when it comes to the total cost of ownership. "Operating an electric truck is still going to be cheaper than operating a diesel or any other option.

It's the cheapest option for operational costs. They have less maintenance and they're cheaper to run. They pay for themselves because they are well utilised," he pointed out.

The startup costs are nonetheless a serious barrier to entry, Greening admits. "The real penalty is in the capital costs of buying one. A diesel truck now is somewhere in the region of GBP100,000, while an electric equivalent is going to be around GBP200,000-GBP300,000."

The extra cost here, says Greening, is placing additional risk onto the "first movers" who do invest in electric vehicles earlier than their competitors. "It will be 2-3 years before that extra investment breaks even. So I can incur a penalty by being a first mover.

That's part of the problem at the moment; nobody wants to be the first mover as that's where all the risk is. If you're a 2nd, 3rd or 4th mover, you get the benefits from those 1st movers because the technology starts to decrease in price, the infrastructure starts to be built up, and so on and so forth. So being a first mover is a bit of a disadvantage at the moment to some organisations." Professor Greening told Trans.INFO.

Given these high costs, Greening stresses that incentives, as well as certainty regarding charging infrastructure, is required to convince haulage companies that investing in electric vehicles is the right thing to do.

Why data sharing is vital for the development of electric road freight

Moving back on to the subject of the Heriot Watt University study, Greening is keen to underline how important it is that hauliers share their data. "We need the logistics industry to buy into the fact that sharing data is going to ease the problem for everyone. Without it, you are going to be faced with high levels of uncertainty about investment.

That uncertainty means it's likely to be more expensive than it needs to be. So it's in everybody's interest to share data." The professor also emphasised how universities can serve as trustworthy parties to share data with:

"Sharing data can be problematic, which means you need trusted partners to share the data with. That's where I think universities are well placed. We don't have a commercial interest in the freight sector.

We just want to make things work better for everybody." Greening added that besides haulage companies themselves, the people behind the project are talking to aggregators and digital logistics companies to utilise more data.

Why time is of the essence

Meanwhile, the need to electrify road freight quickly is evident, says Professor Greening. As he put it, "Nature is not going to forgive us and allow us more time".

This in turn presents a severe challenge, and with every delay, the consequences become greater, as Greening explained: "The problem with delaying the transition is that it shortens the window we've got to spend the same amount of money. So the intensity of spending is increasing the more we delay, and there are real consequences to that."

Those consequences, according to Professor Greening, would be that money would have to be taken away from productivity investments. This would also generate its own knock-on effects: "Any delay will decrease GDP and increase inflation.

It shortens the investment window, diverting investment funds away from productivity and forces companies to increase the cost of their services and products to cover the cost of the investment."

The power of digital twins

Another aspect of Professor Greening's work concerns digital twins. To what extent could the use of digital twins help to optimise Scotland's transition to electric road freight? In the professor's opinion, digital twinning has the power to do a lot.

"The real benefit to digital twinning is it allows you to make automated, dynamic decisions on the fly. This enables you to optimise your fleet or your operation, or the country based on what you are seeing right now," said Greening. Beyond the advantages of real time optimisation, Greening notes that additional benefits can be derived from a federated system of digital twins in which entire systems can be optimised in real time.

"Most of the commercial people are looking at digital twins at the moment to deliver a level of optimisation focused on a company's operations, or even just an asset. That's great; it's better than not having them. The real power is in the federated system though, where you can plug in a digital twin with another digital twin on the same backbone and optimise over a greater pool of resources and opportunity," said the professor.

This could help to optimise truck capacity utilisation, the integration of transport modes, and port operations among other things. More generally, Greening highlights 3 key areas where digital twins can really be harnessed to effect; designing the future system, optimising that system, and optimising the digital freight technologies. Regarding the first of these two areas, Professor Greening told Trans.INFO:

"The future system is going to be expensive, and we want to minimise the cost of getting there. We want to avoid poor investments, white elephants and stranded assets. We can do that digitally better than we can do if we were playing in the real world.

We can fail fast and learn fast at no risk." As for the third, Greening added: "A diesel truck can travel long distances and then refuel in a short period of time.

An electric truck can travel shorter distances and will take longer to refuel. These new constraints mean you have to change your operations, and digital twinning will allow us to visualise what those changes mean and how they can be best organised." Finally, with climate change set to bring more road disruption to the UK, Greening sees a key role for digital twins in keeping freight moving around the country:

"We need to make sure that we've got a resilient infrastructure whereby when we have storms, we can keep goods moving around the country. That's the role of a digital model at least - probably a digital twin so we can react in real time. For instance, a bridge near my home was washed away recently.

When something like this happens, the traffic and the flow of goods could be redirected instantly and we could re-balance the network thanks to having the real time capability to visualise and analyse the consequences of disruption.

The next 5 years will be critical - we have to design the future transport system and make significant progress in implementing it," concluded Professor Greening.

165 DAF XG tractors for global liquid transporter HOYER

15:00 Thu 22nd Feb 2024 | Posted By UKHAULIER

HOYER, the world market leader in logistic solutions for liquid products, is renewing its fleet with 165 DAF XG 480 4×2 tractor units. The trucks, to be delivered in the coming months, will be used for operations across Europe. All vehicles feature DAF’s comprehensive suite of the latest Advanced Driving Assistant Systems (ADAS).

Founded in 1946 in Hamburg, Germany, HOYER currently is global market leader in logistic solutions for liquid products and operates on all continents. The company offers tailored solutions for its customers in various sectors, including gas, food, mineral oil and chemical. HOYER has representative offices in more than 100 countries. For road transportation, the company relies on a fleet of over 1,200 trucks and more than 1,700 semi-trailers, with a strong representation of the DAF brand.

‘A safe and sustainable truck’
The new tractors will be stationed in Germany, the Netherlands, and Poland and will be in operations throughout Europe. Rudolf Schumacher, Head of Fleet Management Road for Europe Domestic of the HOYER Group, is delighted that his company is replacing the fleet partly with the highly efficient and multiple award-winning DAF XG.
“These reliable trucks feature the latest, state-of-the-art safety systems and also provide a luxurious and comfortable experience for our drivers. The fact that these vehicles can run on HVO supports our ambition to contribute to a more sustainable future, as we at HOYER want to take care of future generations. Driving on HVO reduces the carbon emissions up to 90% well to wheel. With this new series of DAF trucks, we will deliver exceptional service to our customers in the best HOYER-way.”

‘Highest customer service’
“DAF has been a preferred supplier of HOYER for many years. We are honored that this global leader of high quality transport solutions has chosen our DAF XG series to ensure timely deliveries for their customers,” stated Bart Bosmans, Director of Marketing and Sales and Member of the Board of Directors at DAF Trucks. “We offer the most efficient, safe, and comfortable trucks in the market and are also dedicated to delivering the highest level of customer service. We are pleased to see that HOYER recognizes this.”

Sparks Transport powers forward with new Volvo FM Electric

Glastonbury-based business Sparks Transport has taken delivery of a Volvo FM Electric 4×2 tractor unit after a successful period trialling its local Volvo dealer’s electric demonstrator.

Supplied by Russell Woof, Area Sales Manager, Truck and Bus Wales and West, the customer’s new electric truck will be predominately used to deliver Refresco beverages to Tesco stores.

Jonathan Sparks, Managing Director, Sparks Transport, says: “Sustainability is central to our business plan, so it is hugely exciting to be able to welcome our first heavy duty electric truck. We run a mixed fleet here, but Volvo was the only manufacturer that could provide us with an electric product that would fit seamlessly into our operations.

“The team at Truck and Bus Wales and West has worked diligently on this project to help us pinpoint exactly where electric trucking can work for us, and the demonstrator proved that. We’re looking forward to seeing the real-world results across the coming years.”

The new FM Electric – sporting Sparks Transport’s striking green and yellow livery – is powered by three electrical motors which generate 666 hp and 2,400 Nm of continuous torque. It is equipped with the maximum six batteries, unlocking a driving range of approximately 300 km. An onboard electromobility traction control system helps manage output on slippery surfaces, while different drive modes are available to set the desired performance, comfort, and energy usage levels.

The vehicle utilises Volvo’s standard I-Shift gearbox, which delivers a smooth and ultra-quiet driving experience by constantly evaluating information about speed, weight, road grade and torque demand.

It has a charging time of just 2.5 hours with a 250kW DC charger, or 9.5 hours on a 43kW AC charger. The battery can also be charged more quickly up to 80% capacity mid-shift, in just the same way as a smartphone, because the charger slows down towards the end of the process to protect the battery cells.

To provide a comfortable, stress-free driving experience, the FM Electric has been specified with Volvo Dynamic Steering and I-See Predictive cruise control, aiding manoeuvrability and driving efficiency respectively.

Forward Collision Warning with adaptive cruise control, Advanced Emergency Braking, and Side Collision Support systems provide a comprehensive active safety setup.

Visibility is boosted thanks to Volvo’s distinctive V-shaped LED headlights – which automatically adapt to ambient light conditions – as well as rain sensing windscreen wipers and electrically heated and operated main and wide-angle mirrors.

The Globetrotter cab has been fitted out with leather upholstery and a suspended and heated driver’s seat with dual armrests. Also included is a premium 50mm mattress protector, a 28-litre fridge and additional cab storage. Full air suspension completes a comfortable driving experience.

Sparks Transport is guaranteed maximum uptime thanks to a comprehensive five-year Volvo Gold Contract covering all maintenance and repairs, including proactive monitoring of batteries and associated components.

Providing both warehousing and distribution services, the new truck joins a 93-strong commercial fleet. Working up to six days a week, it is expected to complete as much as 90,000 km annually.Sparks-Volvo-Trucks-Feb-24-1

FreightForce Collects Coveted National Award

FreightForce was presented with the Fortec Distribution New Member of the Year Award in recognition of its impactful contribution to the network during its first year of membership.

The award, sponsored by Intu Veritas, was presented to the company at the Pall-Ex Group ‘World of Excellence’ annual awards evening held on the 3rd of February at the Hilton Metropole in Birmingham.

FreightForce is a shareholder member of the Fortec Distribution Network – a pallet network made up of 70 independent haulage firms that work together to collect and deliver palletised freight across the UK.

The haulier was awarded the national accolade for its continued growth and high service levels shown since joining the network at the end of 2022. FreightForce has consistently surpassed its targets for compliance, customer service and quality distribution to win the award.

The company covers the Norwich and Great Yarmouth postcode areas for the Fortec network, with the business offering a complete logistic solution, including express pallet deliveries, general haulage and warehousing solutions.

Over the last two years, FreightForce has shown progressive growth, with investments in its warehousing facilities in Great Yarmouth and an expansion to its fleet of HGV vehicles.

Martin Halliday, Commercial Director of FreightForce, commented: “It’s an honour to receive this award, which is a testament to the hard work and commitment that the FreightForce team puts in every day.

“Being part of the Fortec Distribution Network has allowed us to continue growing at a remarkable rate and we are looking forward to continuing the successful partnership in the future.”

Barry Byers, Managing Director of Pall-Ex Group, commented: “We are delighted to be able to acknowledge the success of everyone involved with FreightForce by awarding them the New Member of the Year Award. The recognition is well deserved after the high service levels shown by FreightForce have contributed to another prosperous year for the Fortec network.

“FreightForce has made a fantastic impact since joining the network in 2022, and it is wonderful to be able to highlight the progression and development of the business.”

For more information about becoming a member of the Fortec pallet network, visit https://www.fortec-distribution.com/become-a-member

Galt Transport acquires eight new Swedish Trucks

Galt Transport is looking to the future by adding eight new vehicles over the last six months.  The Dumbarton-based haulage firm took delivery of four new Volvos at the end of last year and four new Scanias in recent weeks. The new additions include six lorry-mounted cranes featuring both Palfinger and Hiab cranes and two artic tractor units plated for up to 65t.

For the well-established family firm, the new year started with the upsetting news that Managing Director Allan Galt had passed away.  Following a diagnosis of Myeloma 10 years ago, Allan took a step back from the business with son Andrew looking after Operations and daughter Linda focussing on Business Development. Along with the 50-strong team of Driver Operators led by Transport Manager Simon Foy, the team intends to build upon the rich legacy left by Allan.

This latest investment by the next generation shows clear intentions for the future. For more than 75 years the company’s fleet of trucks, cranes and specialist trailers has grown to become one of the most diverse in Scotland, something the company are keen to maintain.

“Dad was always proud of our varied fleet and ability to meet a range of customer needs.  These additions will ensure we maintain the quality service he always insisted upon.”  Linda Galt, Business Development Director, commented.

Among the new additions are two lorry-mounted cranes from Hiab. Having worked almost exclusively with Palfinger for many years, the firm decided to vary the fleet to ensure maximum service efficiency and reliability.

Travelling to Northern Ireland to monitor the build, Andrew Galt, Operations Director, added, “We’ve been impressed by the build process and quality offered by Hiab and Nugent Engineering. Regular updates throughout the process ensured that we received exactly what we were after, and we’re delighted with the results so far.”

The two 8×2 rigid Hiabs are built on Scania R460 units and will be put to work within the fleet to service regular work within the construction and events industries.

Established in 1947, Galt Transport operates 50 trucks and over 100 trailers from four depots in central Scotland and the Scottish Borders. The FORS Silver haulier runs both Scania and Volvo units and uses a mixture of manufacturer servicing and in-house maintenance.

Top-spec Iveco S-Way 530 duo joins Alan Davie fleet

Alan Davie Ltd has just added a pair of Iveco S-Way 530 6×2 tractor units to its fleet, supplied by family-run dealer AM Phillip.

Iveco vehicles have been a staple of the fleet over the years, with the iconic TurboStar being a firm favourite with the company founder in the early years.

“That truck was ahead of its time,” said boss, Alan Davie. “It would outperform anything else, a special truck, it pulled like hell!”

Each Alan Davie truck features the unique yellow and brown livery that has become synonymous with the Scottish firm over its 45-year history.

Pairing especially well with these S-Way, the complementary colour pallet is further enhanced by contrasting chrome air horns, alloy wheels and bold spotlights.

“We’ve been buying Iveco trucks from AM Phillip for years,” said Ian Davie, transport manager. “Their service and support have been excellent with us developing personal connections with those that work there. The dealer experience makes a big difference.”

Powered by the Cursor 13 diesel engine, these new S-Way 530 trucks provide the performance required for heavy haulage while also meeting operational needs for fuel economy.

Possessing 2400 Nm of torque, the vehicles are at home on both national and European runs.

Driver feedback on the latest S-Ways to join the fleet has been overwhelmingly positive. Ian Davie said: “Drivers really enjoy getting behind the wheel of the S-Way. They are extremely comfortable and are capable of covering big miles with ease. You don’t hear any of our drivers complaining about the Iveco vehicles, they are very good trucks.”

These S-Ways are set to cover over 180,000 km each year, so driver comfort was paramount in their specification. Creature comforts include a fridge, multiple charging points, as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.

The addition of a daytime cooler also regulates cab temperature without needing the engine to run.

Each vehicle is also fitted with a Connectivity Box with Smart Pack, giving the operator access to advanced features such as Smart Reporting to help boost efficiencies, Vehicle Monitoring for keeping abreast of vehicle performance and maintenance, as well the innovative Easy Way smartphone app.

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Revolutionising the truck stop: NewVolt unveils plans for charging network to electrify Australia’s road freight

Australian start-up NewVolt[1] has revealed plans to build an electric truck charging network along the east coast of Australia, enabling the decarbonisation of the country’s major road freight routes and potentially saving billions of dollars spent on imported diesel a year.

NewVolt plans to have its first truck charging station up and running in Melbourne in 2025, followed by another 14 sites in key precincts in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and the Hume Highway from 2027, and then a 40 site metropolitan expansion, with the Pacific, Newell, Sturt & Western Highway connections anticipated from 2030.

The sites will be fully powered by renewable energy with regional truck stops tapping into their own locally produced solar power. The sites will also include a driver lounge, access to office space, wifi and amenities.

“Australia needs to be fully charged and ready for electrified freight,” said Andy Evans, chairman and co-founder of NewVolt.

“The NewVolt Network is designed to provide Australia with a pathway to decarbonise road freight by delivering price-certain, reliable, renewable energy through a national network of shared charging infrastructure.”

Evans is the former CEO and cofounder of the Star of the South offshore wind farm and has worked on a number of renewable energy projects over the past two decades. Together with co-founders, Anthony Headlam and Rainer Knobloch, NewVolt has put together an impressive team including experts from the transport, infrastructure and renewable energy sectors.

NewVolt CEO Anthony Headlam, who previously worked with Danish wind energy giant Vestas, sees a huge opportunity for the first mover in Australia.

“Electrification is coming, and shared-use charging is central to achieving the scale needed to support a connected network for heavy vehicles,” said Headlam.

Electrifying fleets is a rational choice for trucking industry

Unlike the consumer vehicle market, in which car makers use advertising to tap into customers’ emotions to sell their vehicles, trucking is just about the numbers. And the numbers for electrifying road freight are very compelling, with the potential to save the trucking industry billions of dollars per year.

“NewVolt are designing our network to leverage on-site energy generation where possible in order to deliver the lowest levelised cost of charging (LCOC). By taking advantage of Australia’s ability to generate low cost renewable energy, we believe the total cost of ownership (TCO) benefits of electric trucks in Australia will be very compelling”, says Rainer Knobloch Co-Founder, NewVolt.

Australian Truck Freight Market

Australian Truck Freight Market

Australian Truck Freight Market

With current renewables prices already putting electric trucks ahead, the business case becomes even stronger as solar and wind energy continue along their declining cost curves in coming years.

As renewables decline in costs, high volatility in the global oil market due to the war in Ukraine and unrest in the Middle East could see diesel prices moving in the opposite direction.

NewVolt is collaborating with truck manufacturers to offer long term contracts with fixed charging fees to give trucking operators the confidence to make the switch and start reaping the benefits.

The company says that Australia consumed around 16 billion litres of diesel in 2023, costing the country around $30 billion. Based on their projections, which include 50% growth in road freight by 2040, NewVolt says the electrification of the entire trucking industry would require around 70,000 GWh of renewable energy per year.

NewVolt Road Transport Industry

NewVolt Road Transport Industry

NewVolt Road Transport Industry. Source: NewVolt

Electrifying trucks is a game changer for energy security

Currently 91% of Australia’s diesel is imported. NewVolt says in addition to the significant cost savings, the electrification of the trucking fleet will have a game changing impact on Australia’s energy security.

The fuel price spikes resulting from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine highlight how geopolitical instability has a huge impact on global freight prices, driving cost inflation at every part of every supply chain.

With the potential for conflict now spreading in the middle east, including to high oil producing nations, threats to Australia’s fossil fuelled freight system are increasing, and fuel companies know this. At Ampol’s investor call earlier this week, CEO Matt Halliday said geopolitical disruption is likely to continue.

The health and cost benefits of removing diesel trucks from ports and railyards

Some governments are already moving aggressively on electrifying trucks[2]. Last year the California Air Resources Board (CARB) approved its Advanced Clean Fleets[3] rule which requires all new medium and heavy-duty vehicles sold or registered in California to be zero-emission by 2036.

The new law also bans new diesel trucks, made from 2024 onwards, from Californian ports and railyards from January 1 2024.

CARB estimates the new regulations will save $US26.5 billion in statewide health benefits from reduced pollutant emissions as well as net cost savings of $48 billion for trucking fleets.

NewVolt says an average of 11,000 diesel trucks pass by residents of Port of Melbourne and adjacent suburbs each day resulting in adolescent asthma rates that are 50% above the Victorian state average.

And it’s in this area where the company plans to build its first electric “hub & spoke” charging site, in collaboration with Mondo Clean Mobility (a subsidiary of AusNet) to cater for local freight routes before building “enroute” sites linking Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.

The electrification of trucks will also bring enormous health and well-being benefits to around 200,000 truck drivers in Australia.

Last year a study in Canada[4] found that diesel pollution can dull the human brain in hours. Another study by Melbourne University[5] found vehicle pollution in Australia causes 11,000 premature deaths and is responsible for over 12,000 cardiovascular hospitalisations, 66,000 active asthma cases, and almost 7,000 respiratory hospitalisations per year.

And it’s not just air pollution. New research has shown devastating health impacts from petrol and diesel traffic noise. A landmark study[6] in March last year found increased levels of hypertension and cardiovascular disease in people who are exposed to high levels of traffic noise. Noise that will be significantly reduced with the transition to electric trucks.

The health benefits of electric trucks for road transport workers was recently discussed by panelists at Everything Electric[7].

“Road transport workers are now able to get home at the end of the day and actually have a life because they’re not exhausted from the effects of spending time on the road. It is amazing the difference it makes to their lifestyle.” said Marc Sibbald, editor of of Fleet EV News.[8]

Truck-to-grid. Converging technologies set to usher in a new era

Yet another exciting possibility for electrifying trucks is the prospect of truck-to-grid (T2G) bi-directional charging.

While truck charging can be timed to coincide with low price periods, like during daily solar peaks, vehicle-to-grid capability would enable idle electric trucks to sell electricity back to the grid during peak demand times providing an additional potential revenue stream for trucking companies.

The massive opportunities for bi-directional charging were highlighted last week after storms cut transmission lines in Victoria, leaving 500,000 households without power and spiking the electricity wholesale price to a staggering $16,600 per MWh. Households who had home batteries and wholesale export tariff deals with their energy providers, actually profited off the situation[9] by selling electricity back into the grid at the highly elevated price.

The convergence of the million mile battery, new vehicle-to-grid tariffs[10] and software platforms offering realtime wholesale electricity trading, is pointing towards a future where transport and energy become highly integrated, highly intelligent and highly efficient.

To get a sense of the scale, 200,000 trucks each with a 400kWh battery effectively represents 80GWh of mobile battery storage. In contrast, the largest stationary battery project in Australia is the 2.4 GWh battery at Melbourne Renewable Energy Hub[11].

A future where thousands of electric trucks not only charge from renewable energy but also respond to wholesale electricity price signals and provide grid load management through bi-directional charging is a very exciting prospect that could significantly accelerate the transition to a pollution free world.

If successful, NewVolt’s truck charging network could support cheaper freight and higher margins for trucking companies while simultaneously reducing pollution and improving the lives of thousands of road transport workers and millions of other Australians.

Daniel Bleakley Profile Picture

Daniel Bleakley Profile Picture

Daniel Bleakley is a clean technology researcher and advocate with a background in engineering and business. He has a strong interest in electric vehicles, renewable energy, manufacturing and public policy.


  1. ^ Australian start-up NewVolt (www.newvolt.com.au)
  2. ^ moving aggressively on electrifying trucks (thedriven.io)
  3. ^ Advanced Clean Fleets (ww2.arb.ca.gov)
  4. ^ study in Canada (thedriven.io)
  5. ^ Another study by Melbourne University (thedriven.io)
  6. ^ A landmark study (thedriven.io)
  7. ^ recently discussed by panelists at Everything Electric (thedriven.io)
  8. ^ Fleet EV News. (fleetevnews.com.au)
  9. ^ profited off the situation (thedriven.io)
  10. ^ vehicle-to-grid tariffs (thedriven.io)
  11. ^ Melbourne Renewable Energy Hub (reneweconomy.com.au)

Investigation launched after Kenilworth man dies following incident at local lorry firm

An investigation has been launched after a man died following an incident at a local lorry factory last week.

Father-of-two Richard Hopkins was taken to hospital with head injuries on the morning of Wednesday 14 February, after the incident at Dennis Eagle's Heathcote base.

Warwickshire Police said the 39-year-old from Kenilworth died in hospital, and a joint investigation is now underway with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Mr Hopkins' family said they were "devastated" by the news.

Police said of the Heathcote Industrial Estate incident: "A man in his 30s was taken to hospital with head injuries where he sadly died. 

"This is currently a joint investigation between Warwickshire Police and the HSE."

HSE - the national regulator for workplace health and safety - told Nub News it was aware of the investigation and said it is assisting the police with their enquiries.

No further details of the incident have been released, while investigations continue.

Dennis Eagle is based at Heathcote Industrial Estate (image via google.maps)

Following the death of Mr Hopkins, who had only worked at the company since November, Dennis Eagle told Nub News the health and safety of its staff is "paramount" to the business.

"The directors of Dennis Eagle Ltd would like to express our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of our colleague who passed away last week following an incident at our Warwick manufacturing facility," a statement to Nub News said.

"The health and safety of our colleagues is of paramount importance to us.

"We are working closely with the Health and Safety Executive on the investigation into this incident and therefore cannot release any further details at this point in time."

The Heathcote-based firm, which supplied new lorries for Warwick District Council's new 123+ refuse service[1], saw its engineering team move into a new testing and development engineering facility at its Warwickshire HQ last year.

The company also has 14 locations across the country, and says it manufactures over 1,000 vehicles per year for UK local authorities and private sector contractors.


  1. ^ supplied new lorries for Warwick District Council's new 123+ refuse service (warwick.nub.news)