Transport & Trucking Australia issue 138

Page 1 Issue 138 2021

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Zero-stress servicing. Brought to you by Isuzu. No business wants big, unexpected bills. But with an Isuzu service agreement, you can flatten your truck servicing costs into a predictable monthly payment (or upfront fee with Isuzu Essentials). You’ll also be part of one of Australia’s biggest dealer networks, so you can book a service at locations around the country. With the new Chain of Responsibility laws, proper servicing will protect your business. Lastly, service agreements come with Isuzu Care, Australia’s most comprehensive truck customer care programme. To find out more, see your nearest Dealer or visit



PO Box 7046 Warringah Mall NSW 2100

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Publisher Jon Thomson Editor in Chief Jon Thomson Art Director Fiona Meadows Advertising Sales Jon Thomson Mobile 0418 641 959 Editorial Contributors Barry Flanagan, Mark Bean, Warren Caves, Peter Barnwell and Joel Helmes

The chance to test Volvo’s newest flagship FH16 on a run through WA’s Pilbara to Broome was a great opportunity to break out of the normal test routes on the Eastern Seaboard and to see how the updated Globetrotter copes in the outback.


Sydney based, family owned and run, transport and logistics company, Dardania Logistics has come a long way since it started with a single truck in the 1990s. Now with a fleet of gleaming MANs it has shown that speccing trucks right and concentrating on what you do best is a strong recipe for success.


It was the best of times and it was the worst of times, to borrow a line from old mate Chicka Dickens, but we felt a bit that way as we squeezed in drives in both Volvo’s new FH13 with Turbo Compounding and its nimble and agile FM 460 logistics truck. That was the best of it, the worst of it was that we were plunged back into lockdown hours after our drives.


Electric trucks are almost here and now in Australia. Daimler has the first production versions of its eCanter LANDED, but it may be a little while before companies will be able to get them into their fleets and operating here. We took a drive in the first proper eCanter to hit our roads.


New age, high density housing developments, with narrow access ways and challenging locations, have imposed new demands on traditional waste and refuse disposal that a Melbourne company is answering with innovative solutions, including specific trucks and its own bin loading system. We dropped in to take a look at how WasteWise Environmental to see how they do it.


Adelaide specialist food transport company, Deliver It, has managed to navigate its way through the Pandemic maintaining strong growth, surfing the strong demand for food and the nicer things in life we have all been buying to help us all cope with the lockdowns and restrictions. We take a look at Deliver It and its fleet of largely Isuzu trucks.


Auxiliary lighting always seems to be an afterthought, but we reckon it IT needs to be given a bit more priority, particularly since the latest generation of LED light bars have delivered better performing, lighter and whiter lighting with a lot less heat. We recently tested the latest generation lights from British innovator Lazer Lamps and really took a shine to them.


The van based people mover market is full of very capable, well equipped and safe options, from Volkswagen’s Multivan to Hyundai’s iMax, Toyota’s Hi Ace and others. But none carry the cache and allure of a Benz badge, which is what we found when we took one of its Valente people movers away for a trip recently.

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Musings from the Editor


News and info from all over


Paul’s latest advice on finances



The all-new 700 Series rewrites the rules in safety, emissions, performance and comfort. It’s our safest truck ever, with XAVIER_HINO37908.25

an enhanced Hino SmartSafe package featuring driver assist technologies that take an active focus on protecting all road

users. Designed to meet Euro 6 exhaust emission standards, it’s the cleanest Hino heavy-duty yet. Delivering increased

performance with more engine power ratings, a wider range of axle configurations and the choice of a true automatic or

automated manual transmission. With an eye catching new interior and exterior, offering improved comfort and functionality targeted squarely at the driver. The all-new 700 Series is the truck of the future, here today. Find out more at



ith all the attention focussed on public health orders, Covid dangers and lockdowns around the nation, it struck us here at TTA that perhaps some focus had come off the matter of truck safety on our roads, and in particular, the safety of truck drivers on our roads. We live in an environment of falling road fatalities, which has been a trend we have seen over the last 50 or so years, that’s seen the road toll plummet from a high of 3789 in 1970 to a national total of 1093 in 2020. That is a 71 per cent reduction, but that is deceptive, because of course population numbers have climbed in the other direction. In 1970 the fatality rate equated to 30.4 deaths per 100,000 people with a national population of 12.5 million. In 2020 that fatality rate dropped to just 4.4 per 100,000 people against a population of 25 million. That means that while population has pretty much doubled the number of fatalities overall have dropped 71 per cent and the fatalities per head of population have dropped around 85 per cent. In Australia’s most populous state, NSW, the overall complexion of road safety and fatalities is even better. In 2020 there were 196 deaths on NSW roads, the lowest road toll in 97 years . With a population of 7.4 million people in NSW that means the state had a death rate per 100,000 of 3.64. By comparison in 1923 there were 231 road deaths from a population of 2.3 million people in NSW, a fatality rate of 10 deaths per 100,000. Worse still,


1978 saw a state toll of 1378 people on the roads when the state population was around four million. That meant that the fatality rate was 34.5 per 100,000. We have certainly come a long way, there is no doubt about that. The improvements have come, as we surely all know, from a reduction of drink driving, better roads and above all better vehicles. So against that background of plummeting road deaths and more importantly injuries, it came as a bit of a shock to see that the number of fatalities for heavy truck drivers are up in an environment of dramatic falls in road deaths and trauma. That is a worry and we believe it points partly to the ageing truck fleet and the need to bring newer, safer trucks to our roads. Of course the latest trucks are chock full of safety equipment and technology, that helps drivers stay out of crash situations, and in many instances also ameliorates or drastically reduces the impact of collisions if they can’t be avoided. Innovations like autonomous emergency braking, which we have witnessed the benefits of in controlled tests and demos, lane keep assist, driver attention monitoring and of course electronic stability control are things that are spreading across all new trucks. Problem is, all of those old trucks that don’t have any of that tech are the problem. There has been plenty of talk about the need for government incentives for the take up of zero emission vehicles but equally important is the need to reduce the

number of old trucks and to increase the safety of the national fleet by driving the desire to buy newer trucks. The benefits would be felt right the way across our society, for truck operators, car users, economically, socially and emotionally. All we can say is it’s about time we updated the fleet and we need to do it sooner rather than later. In this issue we have a full rundown of Volvo’s completely updated range of trucks with road tests of the flagship FH16 Globetrotter on a run from Karratha to Broome as well as a test of the new FH 13 with Turbo Compounding and the ‘logistics’ special FM460. Electric vehicles seem to be on everyone’s minds at the moment and we have a full test of Fuso’s first production eCanter electric light duty truck as well as a test of the Nissan Leaf e+ in our Company Car section. We take a look at an innovative waste collection company in Melbourne which has found a solution to the issue of collecting rubbish from the tight confines of new mega apartment complexes that are pervading our cities these days. In other profiles we look at a fleet which has embraced MAN as the perfect truck for its logistics operations in Sydney as well as visiting an innovative South Australian food delivery company using Isuzus. All that and a whole lot more in this issue of Transport & Trucking, so hope you enjoy the read and please stay safe. JON THOMSON


Meet the Shogun 360 - the heavy hitter that’s not so heavy. With a low tare weight and the ability to handle 14-pallet applications at 25t GVM, the Shogun 360 is designed for those seeking highly efficient transport solutions. The latest in Daimler innovation, the 7.7 Litre twin turbo engine delivers a dynamic 1400Nm that ensures the optimal balance of performance and efficiency. Safety comes standard with driver focused assistance such as Advanced Emergency Braking and pedestrian detection and Active Side Guard Assist to monitor your blind spot. TO PUT YOUR BUSINESS FIRST, EXPLORE THE SHOGUN 360 AND ITS SUITE OF ACTIVE CLASS-LEADING SAFETY FEATURES AT FUSO.COM.AU



Aus Post gets eCanters /


Shake up at Iveco / 500h p plus for Shogun / Hino -Allison e axle tie up

RETURN TO SENDERS - AUSSIE POST FIRST TO TAKE UP FUSO ECANTERS AS WE HAVE PREDICTED in our road test of the new Fuso eCanter in this issue, Fuso’s recently launched electric truck will be taken up in the initial stages of its time on the Australian market, by the big image conscious fleets, with a desire to

Australia Post is the largest operator of electric vehicles in Australia, with a fleet of more than 3000 electric vehicles currently in use, most of which are the new electric trikes being adopted for post delivery services replacing the Honda Postie

be seen as an organisation taking a stance against emissions, and who

bikes it has used for decades. “With the significant growth in parcel

have the resources to pay a premium and to install charging equipment. That being the case, it was no surprise that Daimler Trucks announced that Australia Post will be the first customer for its eCanter in Australia. The government owned postal service is the first local fleet to sign up for the eCanter and has initially agreed to take on 20 of the electric trucks, continuing the electrification of its fleet, with the first arrivals hitting Australian roads in October.

volumes, more vehicles are required in our network,” said James Dixon,

operate across the Australia Post and StarTrack businesses in major capitals in two body configurations and will be supported by the Daimler Trucks network. “Since working with Daimler Trucks on the pre-production eCanter, we have been keen to have the truck in our fleet. Daimler Trucks is a good choice for Australia Post in the fleet space with a large network and focus

such an iconic brand as Australia Post on a journey towards carbon neutral freight transportation in Australia,” Whitehead said. “The Fuso eCanter’s active safety features, zero local emissions and near-silent operation make it perfect for parcel and letter deliveries in the city and the suburbs,” he added. Fuso Truck and Bus Australia Director, Alex Müller, applauded Australia Post

general manager, networks for Australia Post.

on safety,” concluded James Dixon. The eCanter is equipped with

for its electric mobility leadership. “Australia Post is setting a great

“It makes good sense to add electric vehicles as part of this requirement. Not only will these eCanters fit our needs in this delivery category, but

advanced pedestrian-sensing emergency braking technology, a

example with deployment of the eCanter, demonstrating that you can

collision mitigation system, lane departure warning and Electronic

get the job done in a sustainable way,” Müller said.

they will also contribute to our science

Stability Program for optimum safety. Daimler Truck and Bus president and CEO, Daniel Whitehead, said Australia

“The eCanter is a vital proposition for any company that is serious about reducing emissions,” Müller added.

Post is the perfect first Australian

The eCanter uses six liquid-cooled

customer for the eCanter. “Daimler is thrilled to partner with

lithium ion batteries mounted in its frame to store 82.8kW/h of electricity and feed a permanent magnet

based target to reduce emissions by 15 per cent by 2025 from a FY19 baseline,” James Dixon added. According to the media release from Daimler, the eCanters will


synchronous motor. Power output is rated at 135kW and 390Nm of torque can be delivered the moment the accelerator pedal is pressed. The eCanter, which has a Gross Vehicle Mass of 7.5 tonnes, became the world’s first small series electric production truck in 2017. It has been the subject of a rigorous testing regime around the world, including a six-month Australian test running with a maximum load, in addition to real world driving in overseas markets.



THE LATEST APPOINTMENTS took effect immediately across sales, aftersales, product development and marketing, and will assist the company to reposition itself in the lead-up to several exciting new model releases, whilst placing a renewed emphasis on customer support and the transition to zero

Iveco in 2016 and the company says she has a substantial understanding of the business and the needs of customers. Current Iveco head of network Development, Ella Letiagina, has had her role expanded to include product and marketing. Ms Letiagina joined

Current Head of Sales – Truck and

Iveco in January and brings a wealth of automotive and management experience to the role. Prior to

Van, Glen Dyer, has also assumed

joining Iveco Letiagina was Network

responsibility for the Bus and Special Vehicles portfolio. Glen Dyer joined Iveco earlier this year from Mercedes

Commercial manager for Mitsubishi Motors Australia and prior to that worked in a range of roles with the

Benz vans where he has extensive senior experience in the commercial

Volkswagen Audi Group in Belarus.


vehicle industry. Iveco’s former head of Legal Counsel, Marot Baker has been appointed to the newly created position of head of customer services. Ms. Baker joined

Iveco stalwart Marco Quaranta, has also assumed the position of strategic relations and Industry relations manager, with a focus on propulsion, while experienced Iveco product manager, Emiliano Foieri

has been promoted to the product

These structural revisions will allow

management lead. Amongst the reorganisation are also two key departures with long term

us to more efficiently meet our objectives and to reach the high expectations we’ve set for ourselves

Iveco staffer Steve Heanes and more

as a company.

recent arrival Damon Paull, who joined the company in January 2020, both leaving the company to ‘pursue

“The changes also empower our team to react more nimbly to market conditions, and builds a new way

other career opportunities’. Iveco managing director, Michael May,

forward for Iveco by providing further means to differentiate ourselves.”

said the organisational changes come as part of a broader strategy that

Michael May acknowledged the

would simplify reporting, and assist to strategically align the company to

“Steve Heanes worked with Iveco for almost 30 years and contributed

meet new goals. “This is a unique time in Iveco’s history with many new opportunities

strongly to the company in the senior fleet sales roles he held, while Damon

on the horizon for our brand,” Michael May said. “Iveco is transitioning to offer an enhanced range of products and support solutions for our customers.

contributions of both Heanes and Paull.

Paull also had a significant impact in the role of marketing manager during his tenure,” Michael May said. “I thank Steve and Damon for their service and wish them every success in their future endeavours.” 007



GLOBE Iveco product manager Marco Quaranta

Aus Post gets eCanters

/ Shake up at Iveco / 500 hp plus for Shogun / Hin o-Allison e axle tie up

IVECO SETS COURSE FOR SUSTAINABLE TRANSPORT IVECO AUSTRALIA, HAS SIGNALLED THAT ITS RECENT REORGANISATION OF SENIOR EXECUTIVES WHICH SAW A NEW POSITION WILL HELP FACILITATE THE ITS TRANSITION TOWARDS MORE SUSTAINABLE TRANSPORT SOLUTIONS BEYOND ITS CURRENT EURO6 MODEL RANGE. IVECO HAS SAID that the decision to appoint a dedicated resource to enable the transition is part of a broader global initiative, and has resulted in long-time senior Iveco product manager, Marco Quaranta, taking on the role of strategic projects and industry relations manager with a

Marco Quaranta said that there is growing interest from customers wanting to know more about their options when it came to alternative fuels for commercial vehicles. “During my short time in the role, I’ve already had many discussions with customers who are curious of

technologies is stronger and not born from a desire to save costs, but rather, to reduce emissions – that’s the driving factor.” Marco Quaranta said that natural gas remained an opportunity in the alternative fuels space, as it emitted far less particulate matter

focus on propulsion. In the new position, Marco Quaranta

their options to reduce the impact of their vehicles beyond what Euro6 can

and virtually zero nitrogen oxides compared to diesel, however the

will be heavily involved in setting up the necessary internal infrastructure and associated support systems to back Iveco’s future alternative fuel ambitions according to the company. Iveco says that Quaranta will also act as a resource for customers who

deliver,” he said. “Alternative fuelled vehicles are not new to Australia with some manufacturers including Iveco having offered natural gas-powered vehicles quite some time ago. Unfortunately this fuel never reached its full

market interest seemed to be also oriented towards electric propulsion. “In Australia, natural gas vehicles are still a viable consideration – they offer a reasonable range and would work well with the right infrastructure in place,” he said.

are looking to take their first steps in

potential here due to the lack of

“If the source of the gas comes

reducing the carbon footprint of their fleets. In addition, Quaranta will play a role in

refuelling infrastructure,” he said. “At the time, the interest in natural gas was being driven by high diesel

from landfill capture, this adds an

meeting and liaising with key industry

prices, but once prices stabilised, CNG

stakeholders and advocacy groups to further promote Iveco’s alternative fuel capabilities, the company said.

and LNG-powered trucks became less attractive, and demand dropped. “This latest interest in alternative

additional ‘green’ element, making the fuel even more attractive. There are several biomass facilities operating in

to recharge electric fuel cells,” he commented. Mr Quaranta said that behind the scenes Iveco Australia was advanced in evaluating and implementing the necessary processes, infrastructure and support services required to introduce alternative-fuelled models, including products available to it under its joint venture with Nikola Corporation. “With our Iveco joint venture partner Nikola BEV / FCBEV, heavy-duty solutions are becoming a reality, in fact our production facility at Ulm in Germany recently completed a 12-month phase of design, testing and validation on the models and prototype vehicles are at an advanced

this country and Iveco is in a strong position to reintroduce gas-powered

stage of development. “Bringing the vehicles down under will be the easy part; the challenge

trucks and vans here if demand grows.

is the preparation for the launch.

“In Europe thanks to more government

Fortunately for Iveco, we have a highly experienced, local engineering and validation team with the skills

support for operators and refuelling facilities, natural gas-powered vehicles are popular and make up a considerable portion of the overall commercial vehicle fleet,” he said.


ultimately for longer distances it will be hydrogen technology that’s used

and link to our central engineering teams to test and develop customised

In relation to electric vehicles

solutions for the unique ANZ market requirements.

technology, Quaranta said the technology was rapidly advancing.

“Iveco ANZ will continue to explore and invest in this space with our local

“I believe that electricity is the fuel of the future for commercial vehicles.

engineering skills seeking to leverage Universities, alternate fuel bodies and

For local pick-up and delivery, refuse collection and other back-to-base

the broader network to add value to the alternative propulsion push for

applications it’s battery power, but

the region.”

All-time reliability gets all-day comfort.

Mack’s highway hero just got even better. The redesigned interiors and new stand-up sleeper make our dependable truck more comfortable and driver-friendly than ever before. So drivers feel refreshed and ready to conquer the road.

Step inside and see new levels of comfort.


Aus Post gets eCanters



/ Shake up at Iveco / 500 hp plus for Shogun / Hin o-Allison e axle tie up

FUSO’S NEWEST heavy hitter is coming to Australia with Daimler’s Japanese

In fact the new Shogun 510 will boast 245 Nm more than Isuzu’s Giga and

Japanese heavy duty B-Double capable truck’ and added that it has been

Australian test of an initial prototype, as well as durability testing in South

brand set to debut a 510hp version of its flagship Shogun, joining Japanese

produces it 200rpm lower at 1100rpm. It also has the same maximum power

several years in the planning. The proven Daimler OM471 six-

Africa and an additional productionready test in Australia and New

market leader Isuzu in the 500hp club, a factor that is sure to put the pressure

as the Giga but it again comes 200rpm lower at 1600rpm.

cylinder engine is mated to the Daimler 12-speed AMT making the most of the

on Hino to match its Japanese counterparts.

Fuso says the Shogun 510 will increase the breadth of the Fuso

engine’s strength and torque band. The advanced six-cylinder engine,

The new 13 litre Fuso Shogun is set to arrive in Australia next month boasting

Shogun prime mover and rigid model range that already includes 8-litre and

features an asymmetric turbocharger and meets Euro 6 emissions standards,

510hp and 2500Nm thanks to its use of the Daimler family 13 litre and Fuso tells us that it will be the best performing Japanese truck in Australia with a big torque advantage.

11-litre options. The company says that the truck was developed specifically for Australia in response to requests from local customers for a ‘true high-performance

well in advance of the protocol being mandated in Australian regulations. Fuso says its engineers have carried out extensive testing of the Shogun 510 since 2017, including an outback

Zealand. The arrival of the Fuso 510 joining Isuzu’s 510 Hp Giga means that Hino’s recently launched new 700 series is lagging its two opponents with its 13 litre engine delivering peak horsepower of just 480hp and only, 2157Nm of torque, however Hino personnel have hinted that a higher horsepeower 700 could be on the horizon.


AUTOMOTIVE LIGHTING company, Lazer Lamps, has announced it is

success in motor sport, particularly with the Toyota Gazoo Racing Le

breaking out of the bar, the light bar

Mans team, which used Lazer to

that is, by launching its first every round LED light, to augment its extensive range of advanced LED

win the famous 24 hour race last weekend in France. The new Lazer Sentinel is the first

light bars. Since the company was started back

foray into producing a ‘conventional’ round lamp combine distinctive high-

in 2010 Lazer has produced light bars exclusively, capturing a strong

end product design, with superior lighting performance and build quality.

Nikola is supplying the electric drive train and Iveco S-Way chassis to create

market share across all sectors with innovative designs and superior

The Lazer Sentinel is a range of 9“ round driving lamps available in either

performance and on the back of

Standard or Elite.

While small scale series production is scheduled to start this year, the companies say that the plan is for the plant to 3,000 zero emission trucks per year in the medium term.


HYDROGEN FUEL cell truck making start up, Nikola, and its European partner Iveco, have announced they’ve started gearing up for zero emission truck production at the Iveco plant at Ulm in Germany, as part of their plan to have trucks on the road in Europe next year. The two companies will commence production of the Nikola Tre in the Ulm plant later this year with the first 25 battery electric trucks to be delivered to European pilot customer, the Port of Hamburg early next year. the Tre for European operations.


solutions for our mutual customers. “Just as the Allison 2000 and 3000

The company says its eGen Power 100S incorporates several of the

“It is especially exciting to be the first OEM to integrate the eGen Power

transmission maker Allison and as its e-Axle development partner for Class

Series are the standard transmission

core components offered in the eGen

100S into our class 6 and 7 BEV

offering in the conventional dieselpowered Hino vehicles, the next generation of Allison commercial EV

Power 100D, but packages these elements into a lighter and more compact design best suited for class

trucks, representing another critical step in Hino’s Project Z, Path to Zero initiative we announced late last year.

powertrains will power Hino’s BEV

6 and 7 medium-heavy vehicles,

they have signed the framework for a comprehensive strategic Joint

trucks, delivering the same proven performance, reliability and durability that the combination of the Hino-

along with a tandem configuration for heavy duty class 8 6x4 trucks. Under the terms of the JCA, Allison

“Whether our conventional dieselpowered products or our next generation electric propulsion platforms, our mutual

Collaboration Agreement (JCA) that they say will build on the long-standing

Allison brands represent,” Barua said. Hino announced its Project Z in

said Hino will be the first global OEM to integrate the eGen Power 100S,

partnership the two companies share with conventional transmissions.

October last year and it has continued collaborating with Allison to design BEV solutions for the North America

ensuring a partnership in Class 6 through Class 8 vehicles. “We are pleased to formalize our

Medium and Heavy Duty commercial vehicle market. Allison said that as a part of the work being undertaken with Hino and other customers, it announced the launch of its new e-Axle, which will be added to its eGen Power family - the eGen Power 100S.

collaboration with Allison on the integration of their eGen Power electric axles into Hino’s class 6, 7 and 8 BEV line up,” said Hino’s senior vice president of customer experience, Glenn Ellis.

6, 7 and 8 Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) trucks. The two companies announced at the ACT Show in Long Beach that

The statement from the two companies said that through the agreement, Hino will integrate Allison’s eGen Power 100D e-Axles into its vehicles as the two companies collaborate to build what they say will be ‘a truly differentiated product for end users’.

customers expect reliable and durable solutions from the Hino and Allison partnership. I’m confident we’ll continue to deliver that promise,” Ellis added. The company said its eGen Power 100S complements the eGen Power 100D and the eGen Power 130D, expanding its e-Axle portfolio to cover multiple vehicle applications across mediumand heavy-duty commercial vehicles.

production is intended to start in

The single and dual motors respectively integrate with a multispeed transmission, eliminating the need for additional driveshafts and support structures. With each motor

early 2023.

capable of delivering continuous power

“This is an exciting development as we continue to expand our electrified product portfolio in support of our promise to provide the most reliable and valued propulsion solutions in the world,” said for Allison’s vice president of North America

of 212 kilowatts and peak output power of 324 kilowatts, and claims

The companies say that low volume

the eGen Power 100S, 100D and 130D are among the most power-dense propulsion solutions in their classes. Allison claims the architecture is

Sales, global channel and aftermarket, Rohan Barua.

tuned for high gradeability and high top speed without sacrificing efficiency, maximizing vehicle range

“We are pleased to

and minimizing downtime during

continue our longstanding relationship with Hino Trucks in delivering

charging. It also adds that the eGen Power product family is designed with fleet customers in mind and


are engineered to be 100 per cent maintenance-free for the life of the vehicle, which it says significantly reduces downtime and enhances its total cost of ownership advantage. 011


Respect is earned, not given. And for that reason, the Fuso Shogun range continues to provide some of the most powerful, fuel efficient and intuitively safe heavy duty trucks in Australia. With a range of powertrains spanning from 360hp/1400Nm to a thundering 510hp/2500Nm, the Shogun draws on the latest in engine technology from Daimler backed by proven Japanese reliability. Available in 6x2, 6x4 and 8x4 rigid, as well as prime mover and tipper spec – there is a Shogun for every job.

As a Shogun driver, you get access to class leading safety including Advanced Emergency Braking with pedestrian detection, driver fatigue monitoring, active cruise control and adaptive LED headlights – all backed by Fuso’s class-leading 5 year warranty as standard. If you’ve got a challenge, we’ve got the Shogun for the Job.



Road Test



he road stretched on toward the horizon, flat, desolate and barren. Away in the distance, the smudge of ochre coloured low hills framed the landscape like a natural fence. It was one of those scenes that really underlines what a vast place Australia really, is and emphasised the huge distances we have to traverse to deliver goods and necessities to people across the Wide Brown Land. We were riding in Volvo’s latest FH16, the big banger 700 horsepower XXL cab prime mover. Behind us was a B-Double rig, with the whole shebang grossing just on 60 tonnes, an easy task for the big Swede. This truck in fact had, the previous day, been pulling a 100 tonne road train in some loops out of Karratha, with no


less than the President of Volvo Australia, Martin Merrick steering the machine, in what was the Scotsman’s first time behind the wheel of a Road Train. Our mission was to drive from Karratha to Broome in what was a relay for the Australian truck trade press. Other colleagues had handled legs up from Perth to the Iron Ore capital of the Pilbara. We had the leg to Broome, and still others would pilot on from Broome to Kunanurra. It was great to be able to get out and test a truck in the real outback, and not just the usual run up and down the Pacific or Hume. However above all else it was great to be able to be properly testing a truck given all the Covid issues we have faced in the past 18 months, and little did we know, we would face even

worse just a few weeks later with more lockdowns and restrictions. Despite a crack of dawn start in Karratha, we would be held up for a short time at the yards of Heather Jones’ Pilbara Heavy Haulage Girls, as Heather, always the Volvo ambassador, asked if she could give a local potential customer a spin in the new truck, before it disappeared north and then back across the continent to home base in Brissie. The hold up was a small price to pay, and after all the purpose of this whole exercise was for Volvo to get the word out and sell more trucks. As it was, we hit the road north around 7am, quickly getting into an easy canter up the bitumen, bound for Broome 850 km up the track. It may have only been about the same distance

as Sydney to Melbourne on the Hume but it was a whole lot more interesting. As the big 16 litre ambled along it quickly found its stride, the 12 speed AMT Volvo iShift slotting its way up into top. The road ahead was relatively quiet with the occasional truck some mine spec LandCruisers every now and then, and of course the ubiquitous grey nomad caravanners, who seemed to be everywhere. With the Volvo adaptive cruise set to 100km/h, the temperature outside nudging 27 degrees, and an extremely comfortable Volvo suspension seat keeping us firmly ensconced in the XXL cab, we were able to settle in and watch the road ahead and admire the stunning Pilbara scenery. The first thing you notice is just how

well the big Volvo steers and tracks. While the North West Coastal (Highway to give Highway One its local name), is smooth and well-made heading north to Port Headland, there are occasional bumpy edges and broken sections which test any truck, but the Volvo tracks very nicely indeed, with never a hint of drama, or the need to shuffle or correct. One of the aspects of the latest Volvo that is really nifty is VDS, or Volvo Dynamic Steering, a very clever steering program that allows the driver to change the steering characteristics in terms of feel and responsiveness at the touch of the screen while on the move. Volvo’s PR and special projects man, Matt Wood was our travelling partner for the trip and had formulated his own

custom setting, which he had designed for his own tastes, however it also suited us perfectly and that was what felt the most comfortable. It can be changed to deliver more responsiveness, making it sharper or it can be softened to let it roll over rougher roads with less harshness. There is a degree of what autonomy might feel like in the future as well, with the VDS helping keep the truck in its lane, guiding it gently back inside the white lines if you stray. This is a switchable feature so it can be turned off if the lines on the road and the need to cross them starts to make it annoying. If there is a flatter bit of highway anywhere in Australia I am not sure where that might be. The North West is as a friend of ours sometimes says, as flat 015

as a ‘poo carters hat’, so the big 700 hp 16 litre Volvo and its 3250Nm of torque was hardly being taxed, with the 60 tonnes being hauled along with very little fuss or bother. Inside the cab, was not only comfortable and easy, but also very well insulated and quiet, it was like watching the world rush past from a comfortable viewing pod. As we went, chat with Matt was comfortable and easy, without the need to raise your voice to be heard or understood. Like all of the current crop of latest gen prime movers the FH16 is extremely well insulated and isolated from noise and climate. About the only truck on the market that is quieter at the moment is the Benz Actros with Mirrorcam, which cuts out a huge amount of wind noise by eschewing the traditional door mirrors. But the Volvo is a very quiet truck all the same. At times the Volvo feels like it is riding just like a big luxury car with excellent damping matched well to spring rates on the front and through its airbag suspension on the rear axles. The sense of calm serenity inside the FH16 is enhanced by the room inside the XXL cab, which we sampled with the previous model, in fact testing out the bunk for an overnight stay. It is a big roomy and comfortable cabin and with the built in pull out fridge under the bunk a driver has an extremely comfortable and friendly workplace in which to operate efficiently and safely. Volvo was one of the first to do a true, high roof cab, when it pioneered the Globetrotter back in the 1980s, and the FH16 has carried through the spirit of the Globetrotter with enormous amounts of space and headroom. You can stand up easily and even the tallest driver would not have to stoop or bump their heads in this spacious and roomy XXL cab. Getting comfortable behind the wheel is pretty easy as well, with the suspension seat offering a myriad of adjustments and the steering wheel able to be tilted or raised and lowered with ease. It is a simple task to obtain the perfect positioning, which in our case meant 850 km of fatigue and stress free driving. The driver’s cockpit is also very well laid out. It is always a challenge to climb aboard a new track and to acclimatise to the layout and positioning of all the switches, controls and gauges but the overall ergonomics of the cockpit in the Volvo is excellent. For a start the gear selection for the


12speed iShift is on a short, stubby lever just to the left and close to the driver’s seat, a place where your hand falls easily to, allowing you to select drive for auto shifting or to select manual mode and to tap up and down through the box. The dash really encompasses the driver and puts you at the centre of the action, as it should be. At the centre is the main instrument cluster, which is quite clever and well designed with a round speedo gauge and a lineal tacho readout in the bottom quadrant. Either side are easy to read fuel and ad blue gauges, while on the far left is a changeable read out that shows various info including fuel economy, fuel burn rate either moving or stationery, and distance to empty. Opposite that on the main cluster is a readout that can display what audio you are listening to or who is calling you on Bluetooth etc. Overall the digital instrument display gives driver’s freedom to optimise the displays for every moment they’re using the truck, and whether you are an analogue person or a digital one you’ll still feel pretty comfortable with the way it all works at home. All of the display info can be accessed and seen by scrolling through the controls on the steering wheel pads. The pad on the left hand wheel spoke controls the adaptive cruise and related functions. Just underneath that is a volume up and down and mute function for the audio, while the right hand pad allows the driver to scroll through the information screens. All very simple, intuitive and well designed. To the left the dash comes back at an angle with a large AV touch screen at the top, displaying trip computer functions, navigation if needed, audio options which include Bluetooth and phone functions. It is big clear, easy to read and easy to navigate. The Volvo system has four phases available with a Home view, displaying standard information, covering most functions available and the ability to touch the function to select. There is also what Volvo calls a Focus view which displays adapted information for the most essential driving functions with fuel economy, VDS and a range of other functions The Navigation view is pretty selfexplanatory showing guidance and directions as well as combining info about speed ,with route and arrival time. Finally there is the Load view which displays vital info like how much load is on each axle, if any of the axles are


lifted or if the differentials are engaged. Below that is a module for controlling the audio with a large volume nob to easily turn the noise up or down and switches for changing between modes. Air con and heating controls are in a separate module underneath that. Further left are rocker switches such things as diff locks, lane keep assist and other driver aids. The diff lock/control module can be controlled via a dial which in a way lets you dial up how much traction you need, not that the black top in the WA North West provided any opportunities or need for this. Behind the wheel the 700 hp was really just idling along, sitting in the sweet spot, and absolutely humming in the green band of the rev range. As a result fuel efficiency was reflecting pretty good figures of just under 50 km/100 or just a shade over 2km per litre. The adaptive cruise control has a learning function built in that also communicates with Volvo’s Cloud based data base, enabling routes and the topography to be recorded, and then drawn on for individual trucks’ cruise control systems, anticipating hills and descents to deliver better efficiency. Volvo has named this I-SEE and it is part of something it calls CRUIS-E. The system is pretty impressive and it understands from topographical data when the truck is approaching a hill and will up the speed slightly to hit the hill at optimum pace, so that as the truck


approaches the apex of the hill, it will decrease the throttle to take advantage of momentum on downhill gradient on the other side of the crest. It’s not a new idea and it is used by a number of makers these days but the Volvo system works particularly well. One of the things that Volvo engineers have adjusted in the system is the ability to tell the software what length and configuration the truck is, because in its native Europe the system defaults to a single trailer set up. CRUIS-E works for maximum efficiency around the set cruise speed, backing off the throttle and using the auxiliary brake to work around the speed set by the driver and it offer the driver the ability to set the margins. The system meshes well together with the I-SEE system using that data stored in Volvo’s cloud server, which is then accessed by other Volvo trucks around the planet. If no other Volvo has driven that piece of road before the system will use the data so that other trucks benefit next time with the data informing the truck’s management system to alter fuel maps and gear change points for the best possible efficiency through CRUIS-E. Over a sandwich at lunch in Port Headland we chatted about the easy effort of steering the new FH so far that morning. Only our stomachs had caused us to stop, save for that we would be still motoring along to our ultimate goal in Broome.

The day had heated up, with the external temp nudged 30, the sun glinting off every bit of the barren landscape, however inside the air conditioned cab we sipped on cold water from the built in under bunk fridge in total comfort. We made the error of stopping at the Sandfire Roadhouse for a late afternoon coffee before the final run into Broome, but we baulked at the serve yourself International Roast and hot water, choosing a cup of Liptons instead and climbed back aboard for the final run to our overnight stay. By the time we arrived at the Roebuck Plains Roadhouse 35 kays out of Broome, the sun had disappeared and the excellent lights of the big Volvo had guided us the last 40 minutes or so into the place we were dropping the B-Double set. The trip had seen us cover around 850 km returning fuel consumption of 49.1 litres per 100km or just over 2km/litre, which we were very impressed with. After a touch over ten hours at the wheel of the big Volvo, there was not a hint of fatigue and we would have been quite happy to motor on for a few more hours, such was the comfort and ease of the Globetrotter. There is little doubt Volvo has come a long way in the past 30 or so years and today this new truck is ideally suited to a wide range of Australian conditions and transport needs. This is a very good truck and given Volvo’s commitment to local production it would be a good choice for any fleet.

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ack in the mid-1990s two young and ambitious brothers, Hysni and Jimmy Dardania, started a transport business specialising in produce and operating around the Sydney Produce markets at Flemington. It was a small, modest start to the operation, kicking off with a single rigid Isuzu. But the family worked hard, built the business, and a quarter of a century later Dardania


Logistics now operates a substantial fleet of prime movers, trailers and rigids. These days Dardania Logistics still transports produce, but also handles transport and logistics for other parts of the food industry, including being a key logistics provider for Ferrero Australia, transporting such things as its famous Nutella spread and TikTak mints from its factory in Lithgow back into the Great Sydney region.

Excellence in logistics depends on the quality of the transport truck and the drivers as much as brilliant business planning and analysis. It is this perfect balance that Tim Dardania’s team brings to the table with his Sydneybased company. Founded in 1995, Tim has been involved in the business from an early age. “I studied at university and worked



for several years in the insurance sector, but later I joined the family business on a full-time basis in 2007 and have stayed with the business as we expanded into Dardania Logistics,” he explains. “In recent years, the business has done very well in expanding its customer base and is expanding further into the fastmoving consumer goods (FMCG) market.” “We service a number of well-known

ASX-listed brands in the food and confectionery industry. We invest time and effort in fostering long term relationships servicing our customer needs without failure. As such all our customers tend to support us in return through long term, mutually beneficial relationship.” Dardania Logistics specialises in refrigerated transport and primarily transports temperature controlled finished

products such as confectionery as well as raw ingredients for the food and beverage industry. However in recent years, they have expanded to include general freight. Although the business has grown significantly and is now a 24/7 operation, Tim emphasises that it is still very much a family business. “Unfortunately we lost Dad last year, but my brothers and I are still very much 021

involved and run different sections of the operation,” said Tim. “It gives us a lot of pride to think that dad started this with just a single truck and we have been able to grow it into a significant logistics business,” he added. Over the past two years, Dardania Logistics has converted almost its entire fleet of heavy prime mover to the MAN brand, with 11 of them now part of the line-up, all delivered by Sydney dealer, Penske Australia. Earlier this year Dardania acquired two new MAN TGX 540 horsepower from Penske’s Sydney dealership. Tim takes pride in the MAN fleet and provides insight into what he expects from a vehicle. “Our overarching goal is to find a vehicle that is of a sufficient build quality, meets modern fuel efficiency and environmental standards, and can be acquired at a competitive price,” he says. “I believe MAN has struck this delicate balance with the new TGX 26.540 in terms of providing an all-rounder, which can handle the smaller distribution jobs around town but also is capable enough to send out with the longer, line-haul jobs as well.” Tim’s MAN fleet has been there through the expansion and growth of his business. The MAN TGX range is known for its low total cost of ownership, exceptional reliability and efficiency, and advanced safety features. The low tare weight of the trucks also leaves room for an increased payload on jobs. The company uses its local dealership, which is close by its Sydney headquarters, and is happy to provide positive feedback. “The whole team at our local Penske dealership, from the sales team to the service team, do an excellent job in meeting customer needs and expectations,” he says. “The sales team ensures we can get the equipment and planning in place well in advance of peak periods. Quick turnaround on orders and delivery has been a regular high standard we have come to expect.” “Same again in the service department; a short turnaround of equipment through the service cycles is very helpful especially during busy peak periods. This helps ensure we keep downtime to a minimum and in the end, helps us be more efficient with our use of equipment and servicing our customers.” While Dardania started with an Isuzu and still has Isuzu as well as Fuso rigids on fleet , it has been largely oriented to



Dardania Logistics boss, Tim Dardania 023

European trucks having had Volvos, Benz and Scanias before the switch to MAN. “We were the early adopters of the MAN brand in Australia after we purchased our first MAN truck in 2012,” Tim emphasised. “ I have to say we have experienced excellent customer service and dedication from the whole team at Penske and it is a credit to their commitment to growing the MAN brand.” “In addition to the customer service, we have found MAN to be exceptionally reliable, and we are happy to recommend these trucks to others.” In terms of feedback from his drivers, Tim reckons they love the German trucks, particularly the comfort and ease of operation. “Our drivers’ feedback is very positive especially for the TGX 540s, citing good comfort levels, easy manoeuvrability and they reckon the cabin’s interior design is functional and provides good all-round vision and spatial awareness,” Tim added. In fact Dardania still has its original 2012 MAN TGX 480 still on the fleet


and going strong, emphasising that it is as much a practical decision as it is a sentimental one. “I look at the numbers, not the sentiment, and the MANs measure up in every metric,” he said. Fuel consumption has also been a big factor with the MANs for Dardania with the frugal nature of the 540 horse prime movers impressing the bean counter in Tim. “They are very consistent and are always economical, no matter which driver is behind the wheel, and that is a significant factor, because we have a number of drivers rotating through different trucks all the time,” said Tim. Dardania has a team of 15 drivers on its books operating through three shifts, 24 hours a day seven days a week. ‘That is another reason why the AMT is such an important factor because you know they will always shift efficiently and you will never have to change another clutch,” he chuckles. The company only runs single trailer rigs and has steered clear of adding B Doubles and avoided expanding into line haul

operations, sticking to its knitting instead. Tim reckons, while it has been tempting to expand further afield, the company has been very disciplined and diligent in sticking to what it knows and specialising in the intra-state logistics business. “We specialise in what we know and what we do best and we have stuck to that ensuring we do the best job we can.” This means Dardania runs around the Greater Sydney area every day as well as across the Blue Mountains to the Ferrero factory in Lithgow and to logistics hubs in Goulburn and the Central Coast. “Customers have approached us to expand into line haul and it is tempting but staying local has been the right thing to do because at this stage it is what we do best. “Having said that, while we have preferred to consolidate it could still be on the cards in the next five or so years, depending on how things pan out, “ he adds. As Dardania Logistics keeps growing and expanding its business, MAN continues to be a part of the company’s growth and Tim Dardania reckons that will continue for some time to come.

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Road Test



ometimes during this incessant, annoying, frustrating ongoing pandemic, it feels as though the doors are slammed behind you. So it was as we boarded a Qantas 737 to head home from Brisbane after driving Volvo’s more intra-state targeted FH13 500 13 litre and the FM 460. Virtually the next day the Queensland border slammed shut yet again, which meant that fortunately we completed our tests of the major new trucks in Volvo’s refreshed line up before we were plunged back into shutdown. As you may have read in our other Volvo road test story in this issue, where we tested the new flagship FH16 XXL Globetrotter, the Swedish truck maker has updated its entire range and while the big banger 700 horse FH16 is the rock star of the line-up, these trucks are the working bees, the volume sellers of the range, working hard day in day out, hauling the essentials to keep the economy moving in and around our big cities. The FH13 with its turbo compound technology and smaller 13 litre donk, is designed to deliver strong performance and fuel efficiency from a smaller engine


and is part of an industry wide move for smaller engines, improved electronic control tech and overall downsizing to deliver those efficiencies. In other words why use a 15 or 16 litre if you are likely to be mostly hauling high volume/lower GVM loads either in B-Double or single trailer operations, when you could do the job better with a 13 litre. If you look across the heavy truck landscape there is a growing crop of smaller, lighter, more fuel efficient, but impressively torquey and powerful 13 litre engines. Whether it’s at Scania with its R540, Kenworth and DAF with the PACCAR MX-13, or Mercedes, Freightliner and Fuso with the Daimler 13 litre engine, there is a growing focus on this engine size for the bulk of everyday transport needs. So it was that we found ourselves at Volvo HQ at Wacol in Brisbane’s West with Volvo’s strategic projects and communications manager, Matt Wood, for a day of driving the FH13 and the FM 460. Our day was being spent not in the adventurous and captivating scenery of the Pilbara, where we tested the ‘Rockstar’

FH16 but in and around the Queensland capital, where the worker bees would be expected to earn their keep. For the FH 13 TC our route would take us west along the motorway to Ipswich and then out along the Cunningham Highway to the foot of Cunninghams Gap at Aratula, where we would turn around and head back for an all up run of 150 kms. Turbo Compound technology has both detractors and fans, but it is a technology that Volvo has embraced. It has also been embraced by Formula One motor racing, in a manner at least, but not surprisingly, in a different way to that deployed in trucks. The basic description of turbo compounding if you believe the fans, is a bit like the Dire Straights song, ‘ Money for Nothing’. In basic terms the Volvo technology is a means for recovering energy from the exhaust gas, with a secondary turbine further down the exhaust to provide added torque at the crankshaft. In the past that exhaust gas was not harnessed, so in a way it is energy for free. The energy is harvested as we say via a turbine and then added torque is fed to the crank via a gear train and viscous coupling. 027


What it does is deliver better torque as a result of that added ‘thrust’. It stirs the smaller 13 litre along down low in the rev band when you really need the torque. It has to be said that Volvo along with other manufacturers, walked away from Turbo Compound technology some time ago but it seems that better electronic engine management systems and the ability to better utilise that compound power as a result, is why the TC concept has made a comeback. We found it interesting that some of our counterparts in the truck trade press have derided the TC concept and virtually written it off based on that perceived historic fail. However in speaking with engineers you quickly realise that it is silly to reject old concepts when they are revived using new technology and ideas that can iron out the former problems. To our way of thinking that is very much the case with the ‘new’ Turbo Compounding.


The 13 litre engine features a number of features that also help to improve the overall performance from the smaller donk. This includes new patented wave top pistons with uniquely designed ridged piston crowns, which enables the air/fuel charge to burn more efficiently by moving the mix to the centre of the combustion chamber for ignition. Volvo engineers have also increased the compression ratio from 17:1 to 18:1, which is another factor in enabling the engine, to burn the fuel more completely and as a result to be more fuel efficient. Volvo claims the improvements aren’t all inside the engine and about performance. They have clearly also had a focus on ensuring the smaller engine can do the heavy lifting for longer and more reliably and they have seated the reliable fixed geometry ‘main’ turbocharger in ball bearings to extend service life and to deliver reliable power under load.

Speaking of that power, the D13TC delivers maximum power of 500hp between 1,250rpm and 1,600rpm, with maximum torque of 2,800Nm coming on stream from just 900rpm continuing all the way up to 1,300rpm. As we say that strong torque delivery comes in low and strong, just where you need it, particularly with a 50 tonne plus load on board The D13TC actually delivers an additional 300Nm of torque over the previous non TC versions and because it is delivered at low revs means that drivers can use less throttle, and as a result less fuel. It is very apparent that the engine seems strong and for want of a better term, relaxed when tracking down the highway. It doesn’t matter if driving with your right foot or utilising the adaptive cruise control the truck is very capable of maintaining strong average speeds and consistent performance. This was something very obvious to us as we

navigated the rolling hills heading out and back from Aratula. It’s quite clear that the added torque down low enables you to maintain a better point-to-point average speed, largely because the truck can spend more time in higher gears, particularly when tackling ascents, short or long. A new I-Shift controller for the Volvo AMT is now positioned right next to the left hand side of the driver’s seat making makes it much easier for drivers to switch between drive modes. The updated transmission has a new line up of modes that have been tailored to take better advantage of the turbo compound engine. Just as we experienced in the larger FH16 in our test in North-West WA recently (see other story in this edition), the I-Shift now has three modes, starting with economy’ which clearly targets fuel efficiency. While the economy mode does sacrifice some power it does deliver in

terms of fuel consumption. Standard mode is the ‘Goldilocks’ position delivering good fuel economy without sacrificing any power or driveability, while performance mode brings full power and less focus on fuel consumption. Two modes we didn’t sample, and had no reason to in our drive out into the foothills of the Great Divide were ‘Off Road’, which clearly enhances performance off the tarmac, and ‘Heavy Duty’ which is designed to enhance driveability with bigger loads above 85 tonnes GVM if needed. The new shift controller is really well-designed and we liked both its functionality and its positioning. Really the nub of the engine downsizing/turbo compounding concept ,and how Volvo engineers make all this work is the packaging with the I-Shift and the integration of the entire driveline. The best results for this engine come

with the intention that it operates below 1600rpm and the electronically controlled I-Shift is how they make this possible. Part of the equation also is its standard tall 2.83:1 final drive, which coupled with the intelligence written into the programming of the I-Shift and that really strong, low down torque, almost becomes an algorithm to crack the fuel efficiency/ performance equation. This means the engine is always striving to be up a gear and operating in the highest ratio possible with the engine turning over at relatively low rpm. At just under the legal limit of 100km/h the 13 litre is turning over at just 1200rpm, slotted into 12th and sipping fuel at a rate that would make Mahatma Ghandi seem like a glutton. Our test truck was hauling a B-Double grossing 58 tonnes, so it wasn’t shirking. It had no issues doing the job and did the work with an impressive turn of efficiency 029

and performance. By the time we arrived back in Wacol after our morning run to Aratula and back, we had bettered 2.1 km/ litre, which was in our view, extremely strong. It was time now to slip off the lead trailer and couple the main trailer up to the FM460, Volvo’s smaller cab metro and intra state specialist prime mover. If ever there was a Linfox/Camerons/ Toll logistics spec this would be it. The FM is really a scaled down version of the FH with a lower overall profile while still retaining a roomy cab with a lower access and not so much of a climb up for the driver and passenger, something which would be valued for a logistics run with the need to climb up and down a lot during a day’s work. There are in fact only two steps up from the ground Like the other new Volvo models, the FM sports a new dash with 12-inch digital instrument display and 9-inch side infotainment display, putting a lot of information in the driver’s view. The exterior styling has been revised with a more modern, and very purposeful look with repositioned LED headlights, and new side lines, and a changed front grille. Climb aboard the FM and there is a strong family likeness with the FH and for one brand fleets it would be an easy interchange for drivers switching from the metro FM up to a linehaul FH.


Heading out on a run looping around Brisbane, our drive was very much the sort of route a logistics truck would be on every day of the week, from warehouses in the south-west around the Logan Motorway, up over the Gateway, tacking in through the Northern suburbs, negotiating Gympie Rd and some local back streets and back across the Storey Bridge and Ipswich Rd toward our Wacol starting point. With the single trailer and grossing 40 tonnes the FM felt nimble and capable powering up the hills and away from the lights with ease. At cruise on the motorways the FM is every bit as quiet and comfortable as its bigger siblings and while some might consider this a fleet spec logistics truck there is no compromise on comfort. It’s really quite a surprise package and it is quiet, with excellent visibility from the large windscreen and it handles very sweetly indeed. Perhaps it handles so well because of the lower centre of gravity that makes it feel more nimble and agile than the big, taller FH models and obviously it gives it a really good feel in its targeted city traffic environment. From dead starts at traffic lights the FM shifts up efficiently through the 12 speed I-Shift with the Volvo 11 litre Euro 6 engine delivering maximum power of

460 hp at between 1700 and 1800 rpm, but more importantly again that strong low down torque. The FM 460 has maximum pulling power of 2200Nm from 1050 rpm through to 1400 rpm. With 40 tonnes the FM460 felt every bit as muscular as its big brother earlier in the day and just seemed totally at home and capable on city roads and in traffic. The final drive was exactly the same as its big brother from earlier in the day with a 2.83:1 ratio, so it wasn’t a short gearing making it feel so strong and athletic it was all down to the excellent engine and driveline. Arriving back at Wacol it was obvious that a lot of effort and thought has gone into the overhauled Volvo range, with trucks that are much more than just fit for purpose but excel in everything they do and in the tasks they are designed for. After our city run the fuel economy was remarkable with a return of 2.4 km/litre, a figure that would please any fleet manager or accountant. Apart from that, after a day at the wheel of two different trucks on near country and busy city roads, we were still as fresh as a daisy and ready for more. None of this should be a surprise for Volvo fans and should help win over operators of other brands. The big Swede doesn’t always get it right, but we reckon its got it right this time with a new range that ticks all the boxes.


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New Technology



ven if you want to buy a new electric eCanter, there are two reasons why you won’t be able to. Firstly Daimler Trucks Australia may be actively marketing series production eCanters but they won’t be for sale, they will only be available on an operating lease basis. This means that the eCanter will only be available on a six-year operating lease with a fixed price for the life of the truck with your fleet, and the price will vary depending on the potential workload and other factors. At the end of six years you hand the truck back and, hopefully all things being equal and you have had a happy experience, you lease another one. The notion behind this is that it takes away all of the worries of adopting new technology, if anything goes wrong with the electric truck, it is fixed under the all-encompassing lease. That means that transport operators can accurately pin-point the cost of the truck and maintenance to pitch for contracts with green leaning customers, safe in the knowledge your profits won’t slashed by expensive repairs. The other reason you won’t be able to


buy one, or for that matter lease it just yet, is because of the fact that Daimler Australia, initially at least, will have a limited access to them, but more about that later. It is clear that creating electric trucks is a complex task, far more difficult and challenging than electric cars. That is clear from the troubles that old mate Elon has been having with the Tesla electric trucks, and why the best and brightest in the Daimler empire are now fully engaged in making the electric driveline work more efficiently and effectively. The challenges are vast, from gaining sufficient range, to the weight of the batteries and the thermal issues that are inherent in having batteries and electric motors. You can pile more batteries in to give more range but it soon becomes selfdefeating, because the more battery weight the more energy you need to move the truck. The more power you feed in the more heat is generated and then there is the issue of ambient temperatures and the effects they have on battery performance. Batteries don’t perform all that well in really cold conditions or in exceptionally hot weather.

Never fear, the legions of boffins around the globe are working on solutions for all of those challenges and evidence of the results they have come up with so far are revealed in the first series production eCanter. A couple of years ago when we had the chance to drive a pre production/test version of the eCanter, we were impressed but things have moved on since then and the production version is a seriously impressive thing to drive. Another reason why Daimler is only offering the truck for lease and not for outright purchase is that it enables the company to install software and tech upgrades as the boffins perfect them. AS the first gen eCanter this truck is fairly conventional in that it is powered by a lithium ion battery pack feeding electricity to an electric motor, centrally located in the truck, driving the axle in a similar way to an internal combustion engine truck. The next gen eCanter will likely have a motor integrated into the axle, in other words an eAxle, which helps cut down on mechanical losses and reduces overall energy use. The other challenge that any early adopter of electric trucks faces is the charging infrastructure, which is something exercising plenty of serious minds around Australia and across the world. Governments and private companies are moving at various speeds to establish charging stations in the public realm, but for a commercial ‘last mile’ light duty delivery truck like the eCanter the real demand for charging will likely be at home base or the warehouse the truck is operating from. Daimler Trucks Australia is working closely with Australian recharging specialist, JetCharge to provide customers with charging solutions and systems to suit specific needs. JetCharge has a number of solutions to help operators with the most efficient way of charging their vehicles in an ever changing electric vehicle and tech landscape. So it was that we turned up at DTA’s Sydney offices in Huntingwood, in the middle of Western Sydney’s manufacturing and warehousing heartland, to grab the Fuso eCanter for a proper spin in our home town, exploring some of the routes and areas where a city delivery truck would find itself plying its trade every day of the week. 033

We chose a test route that would take us on a route replicating a delivery run. By chance we had the need to pick up a part for a son’s vehicle, to drop off some wheels that needed sandblasting, and to pick up some household items for Mrs Road Tester, all in Sydney’s outer Western suburbs, which we figured was a fairly true reflection of the work an eCanter would be asked to perform. Indeed when we stopped at the vehicle parts place, the bloke behind the counter thought we were his regular delivery drop, because as he mentioned, his usual delivery driver had been talking about swapping his diesel Canter for an electric one. That would be fine but thanks to global demand, low initial production numbers and the widely reported silicone chip shortage across the planet, you will be hard pressed to get your hands on an eCanter in Australia for quite a few months, so that green oriented delivery driver, will have to wait a while. Even then it is likely there will probably be only about 60 eCanters allocated to Australia in the first year, and given things


are what they are, those will most likely go to larger fleet operators like Australia Post, Toll, Camerons, Linfox, Coles etc. That’s not something that Daimler has expressed, more something we have speculated, for a number of reasons. Firstly even on a full operating lease, these aren’t going to be cheap, in fact possibly two or three times what an equivalent diesel Canter costs. It’s just like Plasma TVs were prohibitively expensive when they first arrive on the scene, but now we all have flat screens and they cost $600. Secondly the likes of those major operators and companies are the ones that will have a reason to spend that extra money on electric trucks. It will be important for those companies to present an image that they are working to reduce carbon emissions and to present a ‘green’ perception. So buying electric trucks, even if the purchase price is much higher, will be a cost of presenting a good image to the public, shareholders and customers. The third reason will be that larger fleets will be the best positioned to install charging infrastructure to enable the

operation of these trucks. Part of the payback, apart from being lifted to a new moral highground, will be that service costs will be next to nothing, particularly compared with diesel trucks. There’ll be no oil changes, no filter changes, and lets not forget, no diesel bills. As well as that, if companies line the roof of the warehouse with solar panels or erect wind generators and install batteries, then the cost of charging would be negligible. So with those matters out of the way, let’s take a look at how this series production eCanter performs in its chosen environment. It was hard to miss the eCanter, thanks to the extensive ‘wrapping’ it had been given, which gave it a vivid blue paint scheme that left us in no doubt that this was an electric eCanter and that it was the first production electric truck on Australian roads. Climbing aboard the eCanter is little different to the conventional diesel model and generally the cabin appears little different from those models. Plug the toggle style key into the slot

on the dash, press the start button… and nothing happens. Well not exactly, but unlike those rattly, smelly, noisy diesels, the only thing that does happen is the dash lights up and a Ready light flashes on the instrument panel. When all the gods of electricity are in unity and the Ready light stays solid , you can select D and silently glide away through the front gate of Daimler’s Sydney office. The gear selector is very much like one in a car or light truck, with a stubby selector stick that can be slotted down from P for Park to Neutral, and then Reverse, with the Drive position across on the left hand plain. It has the feeling of driving a big golf cart, the accelerator pedal has some resistance but the silence and the instant urge are the things that immediately make an impression on you. The gauge on the green LCD readout between the round speedo and ‘Eco’ or power use gauges, indicates that we have a predicted range of around 110km. That green indicator screen seems a little primitive and ‘1990s’ like and kind

of strange in such a high tech machine. One would have thought a more advanced LED readout, or ‘glass cockpit’ as aviators call new age digital instruments, would have been far more appropriate in a truck of this ilk. Anyway that may come with the next iteration. As a competitive bastard, this writer found himself challenging that range indicator and trying all that we could to prevent it from dropping and even increasing the range. Given the energy that is fed back into the batteries from the eCanter’s regenerative braking system then that is actually not that hard. As we said the controls and cabin layout are not significantly different from other Canters, with the same switches and controls, but one thing that is different is the wand that delivers the equivalent of an exhaust brake. Of course there is no exhaust and instead that wand delivers different levels of braking force. The two positions deliver not only some very efficient auxiliary braking but also that valuable battery replenishment. The second tier of the retardation can readily

pull the truck to almost a total halt, in fact you find yourself manipulating the wand to give a bit more coasting to get you the last few metres to the red light or stop sign, without touching the brake pedal. If you drive with the retardation on the top level, simply backing off the accelerator provides enough slowing power to drive without touching the brakes pretty much at all. The test truck was very much targeted as a city delivery truck and was equipped with a single-speed reduction gear with a relatively low final drive which enables rapid acceleration and a top speed of 80km/h. The test truck had about 1.5 tonnes of load onboard so it was short of its 7.5 tonne GVM and that meant that combined with that low final drive and the instant and substantial torque from the electric motor, the eCanter absolutely blasts off from a standing start, if that is your desire. The reality is you don’t have to drive this truck like that, it is a fantastically relaxing and easy truck to live with while just 035

driving it normally. A day at the wheel of the eCanter is a doddle, and any driver who is fatigued after an eight-hour shift in this truck must be doing something wrong. So the big question that most people ask when you start talking electric, is what about the range? Range anxiety is a major factor for most people with electric vehicles, however the reality is even in a last mile delivery environment, most overestimate the distances they actually travel in a day. Even after all our running around we covered a shade over 80km in our rambles and according to the predictive gauge, there was still 46km of juice left in the batteries. As we said before, with the early adopters that will take up electric trucks, their depots and warehouses will be equipped with chargers that will enable these trucks to be replenished overnight or between shifts. In time there will be networks of rapid chargers that will enable a quick charge while the driver has lunch or a break, so range should not be an issue. Of course the other thing to remember is that this is eCanter 1.1, and as Daimler engineers and boffins refine every part of the batteries, motors, axles and software, that range will inevitably be increased. While the current eCanter (see what we did there, our first electricity pun!) can be charged overnight, it does also have a rapid charger plug that can be used to part recharge the battery in around one hour. While the production version of the eCanter that we drove is ostensibly the same as the pre prod model we steered a couple of years back, there are in fact


many differences under the skin. A lot of work has been put into the thermal control and auxiliary systems to improve efficiency and performance. As we said, temperature is the enemy of battery efficiency, either at really cold or really hot ambients. Obviously in Australia high temps are the major issue, except for Melbourne and Hobart we suppose, but Daimler has gathered data from around the World, in various places with trucks running with fleets in real life conditions. The cooling systems for the battery packs includes a big radiator not unlike the radiator you would expect to see in a diesel truck. There is coolant piping all around the area that would normally be the engine bay and in fact there are two separate cooling circuits, with their own header tanks. With no internal combustion engine the eCanter lacks a vacuum circuit so no booster for the brakes, which is overcome with an electric pump. The next move

will be to deliver full electric brakes which we understand could be in the next gen eCanter. One of the things that the Daimler Trucks erstwhile PR man keeps reminding us of is, that unlike some other electric trucks available in Australia now, the eCanter has the full safety suite included in its package. That means that there is ABS/EBD braking, as well as autonomous emergency braking, ASR, ESP and lane-departure warning, so as well as being a safe bet for zero emission endorsement, the eCanter is also a very safe truck. It is easy to drive, quiet, clean, efficient and very capable of handling last mile/day delivery work in city environments. Now all we have to do is wait for more eCanters to become available so Daimler can start leasing them to those big fleets, we feel certain there will be plenty signing up to add them to their delivery arsenals.

SPECIFICATIONS: Power source: AC synchronous electric motor couple to a single-speed reduction drive Power: 135kW Torque: 390Nm Batteries: Six Daimler liquid cooled lithium-ion battery packs (total 360V, 82.8kWh) Range: 100km-plus (depending on conditions and application) Brakes: Electric two-stage regenerative braking system and electro-hydraulic brakes with two-calliper discs Suspension: Front leaf springs with hydraulic dampers and stabiliser bar rear leaf springs with hydraulic dampers Steering: Ball and nut electro-hydraulic power steering GCM: 7500kg Payload: 3000kg

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f you are like this writer, then you may have noticed the proliferation of high density housing projects that have been springing up all over Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and the Gold Coast. Those densely packed developments have posed plenty of challenges for the developers, the residents and the local councils, particularly when it comes to removing the waste and garbage from the complexes. The problem, or challenge, depending on how you look at it, has called for a little thinking outside the box, or should we say – bin! One innovative waste collection company which specialises in servicing these new high-density and restricted access housing developments came up with a way of ensuring the refuse can be removed from the developments where many local councils have thrown up their hands in surrender. Surrender maybe too hard a word, but the reality is that the larger council run or contracted garbage trucks can often not reach the bin areas where resident’s place their garbage. Waste Wise was started in 2008, and is still owed and operated by Frank Cardamone, a bloke who saw the need for a different type of waste collection operation to answer the growing need from large scale apartment developments for waste pick-ups by private contractors. This was because, as we said before, the traditional model was no longer tenable at many developments. The Waste Wise concept proved so successful in Melbourne that the company expanded operations seven years later into Sydney. After starting with a single truck in Melbourne in 2008, Waste Wise now operates a fleet of more than 50 Hino trucks all automatics, and has become Australia’s market leader in ‘restricted access waste management solutions’ for multi-level and strata developments. “In 2011 we were the first Australian Waste Management company to introduce the Waste Wise Mini Loader into our fleet, this mini loader truck allowed us to access restricted areas such as narrow laneways, underground and basement carparks as well as multi-story carparks,” said Frank Cardamone. “The benefits to residents is the ability to save time and money since they no longer have to struggle to move their heavy bins into pre-defined collection points, either hundreds of meters away from the origin or in busy hard to access locations,” he added. 041

Frank Cardamone Waste Wise managing director

“We offer our customers a customised range of waste management services that fit the demands of modern high density living,” he added. “We started this as a family owned business because of our desire to help clean up the environment and that desire and rationale is still the cornerstone of our operation.” “We have been very with our innovative fleet particularly in developing our Mini trucks which deliver the ability to collect and process any type of waste, as well as making it easier to recycle and safely dispose of the waste.” “We view waste as a valuable resource and our aim is to divert as much waste away from landfill as is possible, which given our experience in commercial waste collection and recycling means we’re always looking for and finding better, smarter and cleaner ways to make a sustainable future possible,” said Frank.


The fact is Waste Wise has pioneered, and been a real innovator in restricted access waste removal, so much so that other companies have copied many of its concepts. The Waste Wise Fleet is made up of a mix of light duty Hino 300 models and also media duty 500 Series models, with the smaller trucks using the Aisin autos and the larger 500s fitted with Allison automatics. Automatics are important because the trucks operate in confined and narrow areas where manoeuvrability is vital and Cardamone says the Allison automatic transmissions are critical for ensuring safe and efficient operation. “Hino is my preferred choice of truck and the fact that they are factory fitted with Allison transmissions is also an important factor in ensuring our fleet works safely and efficiently”. “Allison is the best transmission in the market and the easiest to operate

in what are very challenging conditions. Our drivers love the Allison Automatics because they are less fatiguing to drive and are easier to operate in the tight conditions we have to operate in.” said Cardamone. The WasteWise Hino 500 Series are FD Standard Cabs with the Allison 2500 Series six speed automatics with rear loader waste disposal bodies. The dual PTO functionality offered by the Allison along with its 339 Nm torque capacity is another important factor for Waste Wise operating its rear loaders according to Cardamone. “The two most important aspects for us are safety and reliability and the Hino with the Allison Automatic deliver on both of those criteria,” said Cardamone. WasteWise is currently planning its own Multi Recycling Facility (MRF) on a 6.5-acre site at its new headquarters in the northern Melbourne suburb of Thomastown.







Deliver It managing director, Matt Draper


y all accounts, doing business through the COVID-19 pandemic has been a bit of a rollercoaster ride. You can just imagine the teeth clenching, eye scrunching and white knuckles of business owners around the country, holding on for dear life, and here’s hoping there’s a gentle landing and not a nasty drop, when we finally emerge on the other side. There’s one transport logistics company based in South Australia doing the loop-de-loop with the rest of Australia’s essential transport providers, Deliver It Group which runs a medley of dry goods vans and refrigerated trucks, including a 12-strong line-up of Isuzu N Series. “We do dairy, coffee, seafood, fruit and veg, along with flowers for the major supermarkets and retailers,”


said Matt Draper, Deliver It founder and managing director. “Half of our business is hospitality based—restaurants, cafes and the like— and the other half is supermarket based. “When COVID hit, we saw a huge drop in one side of the business, while our supermarket trade blew out the roof. “As that settled, hospitality picked up again. I mean, people can’t go out and travel, so if you’ve got the money, you’re spending it in restaurants, on good food, because there’s nothing else to really treat yourself with. “It’s been crazy, it’s absolutely booming over here at the moment… we’ve grown 40 per cent as a company overall in the past 12 months,” Matt noted with a hint of disbelief in his voice. The success of Deliver It isn’t solely

pinned on a pandemic fallout. The company recently won the award for fastest employment growth in Brand South Australia’s ‘Fast Movers’ of 2019, while Matt has earned a spot in South Australia’s Top 40 Under 40, recognising young entrepreneurs under forty years of age. “We do pride ourselves on service and presentation, and being the best we can be in Adelaide,” Matt said. “Our model is a bit different from other large transport companies: we dedicate each of our trucks to a supplier every day. That truck will only see that customer’s products, which means we can deliver the best planning, best service and best tracking for them. “Ninety per cent of our drivers will be taking care of the same customers, with the same truck, really taking ownership

for of what they do. “It’s just good old fashioned customer service,” he quipped. Matt Draper started Deliver It 19 years ago in 2002 with just a single truck but now is one of the largest specialised transport companies in South Australia with a fleet of 27 vehicles and 35 employees. “Here in Adelaide we are doing what no one else is doing; specialised individual logistic solutions start to finish,” Matt Draper said. “We service more than 100 business clients around Adelaide with thousands of deliveries each day handling logistics, with tailored prices and services using a oneperson customer service contact that looks after our customers,” he added. “We work with some of Australia’s largest leading businesses in their fields

and this is growing daily, because our reputation is second to none here in Adelaide as we continue to do what we do best – Deliver It,” he said. Draper says that the company’s motto is service, service service because it’s what Deliver It is all about. “We feel too often in today’s climate of social media, fast paced living and mobile phones good old fashion customer service has slipped by the wayside, so we try our darndest everyday to over deliver on what we promise,” said Matt. That may sound a little old-school, but the technology and facilities the company uses are anything but, employing industry leading technology to ensure its customer’s deliveries are on time and at the required temperature according to Matt. Deliver It is a customer of major

Adelaide Isuzu dealer, North East Isuzu, which Matt reckons give Deliver It exactly what it needs for the demands of refrigerated freight transport. So far, Matt has purchased a mix of NLR45-110s, NPR 55-155s and also the NDR 87-190, with plans to gradually convert the rest of the fleet over to Isuzu in time. “We’re running 20 refrigerated trucks, and 12 of those are Isuzus,” Matt said. “The NLRs are used mostly in the city runabout routes… the bigger NPRs and NQR we use for weighty items like dairy and out-of-town runs. “They’re handling dirt roads on Kangaroo Island, major highways and metro driving on a daily basis while loaded. “Each of our trucks does between 50,000 to 60,000 kilometres a year.” 047

“ THEY’RE QUIET, THEY’RE SMOOTH, THEY’RE RELIABLE, AND VERY, VERY EASY TO DRIVE” Clocking numbers like this, Matt is relying on the reliability of the Isuzu brand and his work-hard, look-smart N Series fleet to pull weight. So far, so good, he says – with twenty toes and fingers crossed. “Some of our Isuzu trucks had done five, six, 700,000 kilometres and we’d never touched them, never had to do a single thing to them except regular maintenance. “I’m not kidding,” he assured. “When it’s time for our older trucks to be swapped over, we certainly won’t be looking anywhere else but Isuzu. “But none of our trucks are over four years old at the moment… we’re going with new or late-model trucks with


extended five-year warranty, which makes it easy to stay on the right side of Chain of Responsibility compliance, while keeping our drivers safe and comfortable.” Safety is something no sensible transport operator overlooks, and this means getting serious about features that cut out the possibility for errors. It’s reverse cameras, rear-facing cameras, front-facing cameras and internal cameras for Deliver It, along with safety steps and automatic transmissions, as well as bullbars for the vehicles taking on rural roads (and possibly, kangaroos). “Lots of cameras, yes, AMTs and autos, they have to be two-pedal,” said Matt. “They’re more reliable, much better for

driver comfort and they’re cheaper overall because we’re not going through clutches. “Look, we love these Isuzu trucks,” he continued. “They’re quiet, they’re smooth, they’re reliable, and very, very easy to drive, which is incredibly important because it’s been a challenge finding experienced drivers lately. “We’re starting 95 per cent of our drivers fresh, no experience, and they’re starting off their career in these smaller N Series trucks. “They’re all good people doing great work representing the company… my job is to make it as comfortable as I can for them, so they can get on with what they need to do.”

If it’s not backed by Isuzu, it may only look the part.


To keep your truck performing at its best, only trust Isuzu-backed parts, which include Isuzu Genuine Parts, Isuzu Best Value Parts & Isuzu Approved Parts.

Lighting Technology





s we all know Australia offers unique operating conditions for coach and bus operators, particularly for those based in rural and country areas. Apart from all of the usual challenges like temperature, long distances and rough roads, the task of navigating country roads at night imposes its own special difficulties. Kangaroos, cattle, even camels and horses as well as an array of other feral animals all make driving at night in the Australian bush a particularly difficult task. Lighting is something that has to be top notch if your job is to navigate the back roads of this vast brown land and anyone who has tried to do just that will tell you that good auxiliary lighting is an essential.

It came to our attention here at C&B that the nature of lighting has taken a major shift away from those legendary types of lights from the 1960s, when buzz terms like quartz iodine and quartz halogen were de rigeur. These days we have lights that have a far less romantic nomenclature but far more effective performance in the form of LED lights. On the wane also are the big round ‘spotties’, being pushed aside by slim line, high performance LED light bars , which are more compact and streamlined, draw less power, run cooler and produce a whiter and more consistent light. Then the fellas from a British company, called Lazer arrived on the Australian scene in a blaze of, well … bright lighting,

with some very sexy looking high tech light bars. Since it was founded in 2010, Lazer Lamps says it has aimed to be at the forefront of LED technology, and in the process set the standard in automotive auxiliary lighting solutions. Following its success in Europe, Lazer has recently opened its own operation here in Australia and across the ‘dutch’ in NZ, with local warehousing based in Canberra, and sector specific sales support managers around the country, particularly including the bus and truck sectors. Lazer boasts, that unlike may competitors, who have chosen cheaper manufacturing operations in Asia, it creates all its lighting products in its UK factory, under the 051

guidance of co-founder and director, Ben Russell-Smith. Russell-Smith’s background has seen him working at the forefront of vehicle lighting design since 2002, including managing exterior lighting projects at Nissan’s European Technical Centre, and also at Ford of Europe. Lazer Lamps’ own UK manufacturing facility handles all aspects of the design, engineering, and product assembly, including final leak and photometric testing in accordance with UNECE Conformity of Production requirements. The company says that particular attention is paid to things such as the integrity of the light’s circuit boards, as a means of ensuring ongoing reliability, performance and durability. Crucially, the surface mount of components onto the circuit boards, is carried out at a secondary site just 30 minutes away, allowing complete traceability and control of the end-toend manufacturing process. With both facilities accredited to ISO9001 and centrally positioned within a hub of high technology businesses from automotive all the way through to the defence and space


industries. This Lazer says, helps ensure its supply chain remains at the forefront of emerging technologies and production methods, guaranteeing its products’ performance, quality and reliability. Like a lot of automotive lighting companies, motor sport has played a key role in the development and marketing of the Lazer products and from the beginning the motor sport industry has been quick to adopt Lazer, with some of the biggest names in racing and rallying using the lights from an early stage. In the first year of production, the Lazer lights were nominated for three awards, including ‘Most Innovative New Motorsport product 2012’. Since then more and more teams and drivers, have made the transition to Lazer. The reality is that when you are racing at the highest levels, nothing can be left to chance and you need the best possible lighting options. The bottom line is when you are travelling really fast at night in a race or rally car there really can be no compromise in performance or reliability, The clearest example of this is the high profile partnerships Lazer has forged with leaders in both the

World Rally Championship with Ford’s factory M-Sport team, and in the World Endurance Championship with Toyota Motorsport and its hyper fast Le Mans prototype sports cars. Lazer tells us that success isn’t just limited to the WRC and Le Mans, with Lazer also developing lighting solutions for gruelling off-road events such as the annual Dakar Rally marathon and the rugged King of the Hammers in the US deserts, both of which are a testament to not only the performance, but also the build quality and robustness of every light they produce. Lazer says that success on the track has helped give it brand credibility, which has translated through to confidence for buyers looking to use them in a normal road environment. They have found that many buyers have chosen to fit Lazer as a result of the success in motor sport, but also because of the look and overall performance. Recognising the suitability of Lazer products within the Commercial Vehicle sector, the company is now an approved supplier to a number of OE manufacturers.

Lazer’s regional manager for Australia and New Zealand, Kirk Marks reckons the company is far from resting on its laurels, and constant development work continues on both new lighting products, as well as technology advances. “Innovation isn’t just limited to our lighting solutions, increasingly we focus on how our products integrate onto different vehicles, meaning Lazer becomes known as much for its mounting solutions as its superior lighting,” said Marks. “With continued product development a priority, and an expanding worldwide distribution network, Lazer Lamps is very much a company with big plans for the future,” he added. Marks, himself a product of a motor sport background, has been working to develop relationships with OE brands in Australia and NZ. After years of successful campaigning in rallies, including a Class win in the 1992 Australian Rally Championships and also in the 1995 Round Australia Trial driving a Toyota - he certainly has first hand experience of what is needed in high performance lighting

at the highest level. “Operating in the commercial vehicle realm is tough, long miles, a lot of them at night, often on pretty ordinary roads with lots of vibration, a wide variety of temperatures and urgent deadlines to meet, so there is a lot that is just like the demands of rallying,” he laughs. “But seriously, Lazer has forged strong relationships with European truck makers such as Scania, Volvo and other leading brands, and while I am the first to acknowledge that Australian conditions are harder than in Europe, the reality is that these brands have found Lazer Lamps work exceedingly well.” “As a result they have incorporated Lazer into their accessories programs and we have developed integrated packages as well,” said Marks. While the primary commercial vehicle success has been with heavy trucks, Lazer does have a strong focus on gaining more business in the bus sector where it believes its LED light technology will really improve the lot of coach drivers all over the country. Apart from anything else, better lighting on your vehicle has been

show to dramatically reduce fatigue with drivers and to also greatly reduce eye-strain. “Well if you think about it there is no more valuable cargo than human beings, so it goes to figure that ensuring you have the best lighting and visibility at night in a coach is an absolute priority,” Kirk Marks added.

SO HOW DO THEY PERFORM? Coach & Bus has had the opportunity to try a Lazer Lamps Triple R 1250 LED light bar, which we have had fitted to our Volkswagen Amarok work ute. The first impression when you switch the Lazer on is that the spread, length and immersion of light takes the entire auxiliary lighting business to a whole new level. We sought out some particularly dark and quiet rural roads on the fringes of Sydney before all the lock downs started, to do some testing of just how effective the Lazer would be. The truth was, these are simply the best auxiliary vehicle lighting we have ever used. Not only does it flood the road ahead 053

with a strong and consistent white light, but the spread of light into the peripheral areas off the edges of the blacktop are like no other light we have ever experienced. The Lazer technical blurb tells us that it delivers one Lux of light output out to 518m. We can believe it because on a long straight road the light penetration seemed to go on for ever. To give some background our history is also from a rally and motor sport background, so we have experienced the lows and highs of auxiliary lighting with rally cars for more than 40 years, so we know what works and what doesn’t. The particular model that we tested featured what Lazer calls a Positioning light, which means the integrated position lights are designed to operate with your standard parking or side lights, delivering a low level of light throwing only about a metre, offering better visibility and awareness for your vehicle with other road users, in the same way as a daylight running lights. Lazer offers the feature most of its other products in the Triple R Range and also in its Linear range. Lazer tells us that the Triple R 1250 uses what it says is highly efficient 11W LED technology which was upgraded earlier this year. The lights feature 5000K LED colour temperature, which means 5000


degrees kelvin and 80CRI which it reckons maximises the sharpness and definition of the road ahead. We thought Kelvin was the bloke in the cardigan in accounts, and struggle to know what kelvin as a temperature of light reading actually means. It is something that refers to the thermodynamic scale and as it suggest is apparently the temperature of the colour. Whatever it means, the fact is that 5000 kelvin means that the Lazer bar puts out a real flood of illumination, that is really exceptional. It pumps out 12500 Lumens, which is a unit of light, that again we struggle to understand, save for the fact that it is in real life bloody impressive. Part of the secret they reckon is the ‘ultra-reflective vacuum-metallised optics’ which deliver a spot beam pattern. Apart from that the design and execution borders on industrial art with a very advanced contemporary lamp design. The aluminium body features anodised pre-treatment and is finished with automotive grade, powder top-coat for better corrosion and chemical protection The design includes a versatile ‘Centre Mount’ mounting system, or you can use the integral features to enable side mounting which can be achieved by purchasing the appropriate brackets which

are sold separately. This has special appeal for coach operators who may need a custom way of fitting the Triple R 1250 light bar. The Triple R 1250 is 530 mm wide and sits not much more than 100mm high while weighing barely 2.4kg, when compared with old style driving lights and even other light bars that really redefines compact and lightweight The tech specs tell us that the Lazer bar features an electronic thermal management system that optimises light output to preserve longevity of the LEDs while there is also a CAE optimised heatsink for improved thermal dynamics Built into the light bar is over voltage protection as well as reverse polarity protection, while Lazer claims it has an ‘unbreakable’ polycarbonate lens with a hard coat lacquer to prevent it crazing and fogging as can occur with mere mortal polycarbonates. They also tell us that the light bar complies with the European Union’s UNECE Regulation 112 for Class B Driving Lights approved for on-road high beam with E-Boost technology, as well as with Regulation 7 position/side light function and is IP67 watertight compliant and come equipped with pre-wired male/ female three-pin Superseal connectors and feature a full five-year warranty.

the new benchmark in six-cylinder performance With a massive 2700Nm of torque the benchmark for 13-litre six-cylinder engine performance has just been reset. With a standard rating of 75,000kg, and generating maximum torque at low revs, it’s well equipped to take on the most demanding task with a minimum of fuss. Throw in Scania’s renowned fuel efficiency and advanced safety features, including side curtain airbags, and luxury interior and you’ve got a package fit for the only business that matters. YOURS.

For more information on the all-conquering 540hp simply contact your nearest Scania branch/dealer. VICTORIA Scania Campbellfield Tel: (03) 9217 3300 Scania Dandenong Tel: (03) 9217 3600 Scania Laverton Tel: (03) 9369 8666

NEW SOUTH WALES Scania Prestons Tel: (02) 9825 7900 Midcoast Trucks Coffs Harbour Tel: (02) 6652 7218

QUEENSLAND Scania Richlands Tel: (07) 3712 8500 Scania Pinkenba Tel: (07) 3712 7900

SOUTH AUSTRALIA Scania Wingfield Tel: (08) 8406 0200 WESTERN AUSTRALIA Scania Kewdale Tel: (08) 9360 8500



he task was to transport a small group of friends to the North Eastern corner of Victoria with bicycles, for a week-long exploration of the area’s fabulous rail trails. The question was what sort of vehicle to do it in? We needed plenty of seating and also room for some bikes. An offer of a newly updated Mercedes-Benz Valente seemed the perfect choice and it certainly proved to be the correct vehicle for the job. The Valente and its van sibling, the Vito were updated in early 2021 delivering a number of spec upgrades and pricing changes giving the two small Benz vans some weaponry to take on upgraded


models from rivals including Volkswagen, Toyota and a bunch of others. The Valente and Vito have been around in current shape since about 2014 so a facelift was due and welcome, although it was a very good product to start with and was certainly not lagging the opposition in terms of looks or performance. The most important update for the Valente is the inclusion of a 7.0 inch Benz Infotainment display, as well as improved safety spec and some cosmetic improvements, not forgetting rationalisation of the model range. It is a funny thing, but it is amazing what that famous three pointed star on the front of a vehicle does to people and how

they have a different mindset, to even van based vehicles like the Valente. It was the same when we tested the X class Benz ute, even though that was basically a Nissan Navara people take a second glance and swoon over the tri-star. In this case when our friends saw that they were travelling in a Mercedes they thought it was very flash even though it is based on a workhorse can in the form of the Vito. And we have to say it is very flash. The interior treatment of the Valente is really nicely done with classy all black trim including leatherette seats throughout, plush carpet, a very neat and well-designed dash and a very relaxed and comfortable ambience.


The test Valente looked very much the part of a luxury people moving limo, finished in its Obsidian Black paint. While we were making a leisure trip, and the Valente would make a great family people mover, it will also hold particular appeal for commercial operators as a perfect luxury shuttle, large limo or mini-bus. Inside our test vehicle the three rows of seats provided room for eight in absolute comfort, with three seats in each of the two back rows and a pair of luxury bucket seats up front for the driver and front passenger. There is an option available of a front bench seat, but we can’t figure out why even a commercial operator would choose it as it would just make things

crowded and would be self-defeating in a luxury mini-bus/people mover. The middle row of seats can be reversed so the middle-row passengers are facing back towards the rear row occupants, and the floor track system also allows the bench seats to be totally removed or a table to be fitted for a mobile conference room. The fact that there is a gap between the front seats allows the driver or passenger to slip between them and get to the middle row, a benefit for those transporting children without having to get out of the car. The front cabin/cockpit area is comfortable, and the driving position is excellent, with a good range of the adjustment available for both the driver’s

seat and the steering wheel. With a great dash there is also a large and very handy storage tray in the console below the centre of the dash, with plenty of room for phones, and other knick knacks that always clutter vehicle interiors. It also boasts a 12V outlet here, with another two USB points in the other storage tray above this. The cupholders, one on each side have been engineered into the top if the dash, which is really well engineered and thought out. Fire up the Mercedes 2.1 litre turbo diesel and it quietly purrs away with a distinctly ‘undiesel’ smoothness. The turbo diesel is mated to Daimler’s own sevenspeed automatic, controlled by a lever on 057

the steering column, just like the old days, but it does work really well. Power is fed to the ground via rear wheel drive and the Valente tips the scales at 2348kg kerb weight. The diesel produces maximum power of 120kW at 3800rpm and peak torque of 380Nm produced between 1400 and 2400rpm. There is no doubt this is a strong and hard-working Benz diesel which was designed and engineered correctly in the first place. It has been around for the best part of 14 years, but it is still quiet, smooth and very torquey. The ambiance in the cabin is enhanced by the very good sound insulation, that is of course a hallmark of Benz across its vast product range, not just cars, but commercials and trucks. Slot the auto into drive and the Valente glides away from the kerb and quickly accelerates into the traffic flow and cruises with ease and aplomb. The mark of how good the insulation


and low levels of engine noise really is reflected by the fact that easy conversations can be had across all three rows of seats with never a raised voice. It is very quiet indeed. For our trip most of the time we had the third row of seats folded up and out of the way to fit four bicycles and luggage for five people. All of this fitted a bit like a Tetrus puzzle, but all did fit and the large and easy to lift rear door allowed easy access and a low lip, so even heavy items were easy to load. The low and mid-range torque of the diesel really punched the Valente along without fuss and without having to rev it too hard. The Valente’s audio system is excellent and fills the van with sound whether from AM, FM, DAB or from your phone, either by Bluetooth or through the inbuilt Apple CarPlay or Android Auto The new 7.0 inch infotainment is easy to use but

interestingly is not the latest Benz MBUX version, which is a pity, but this one still works really well. Navigation is optional in the system, but really with a half decent smart phone and CarPlay/Android hook up it is easier and better to use the Google Maps app on your phone. You soon learn that the Valente is an option package with the base model at a starting price of $65,800 plus on-road costs. However the test Valente we had was well equipped but mainly because it had more than $10,000 added to the price with extras. The extensive optioning boosted the price of the test machine to for a $76,225 plus on roads. Extras on the test Valante included Audio 40 with satellite navigation at $700, adaptive cruise control with a tag of $1500, LED headlights and high-beam assist at a whopping $3060, 17-inch alloy wheels for $780, dual electric sliding doors


at $2600, and window tinting for that mysterious limo look at $270, and finally that Obsidian Black paint to complete the ‘rock star/VIP’ look at $1515. All of that adds a grand total of $10,425 to the retail ask. Still the Valente even at the optioned up price is a good buy. As you might expect from a Mercedes Benz safety is a priority and there is no scrimping. The Valente has a five star ANCAP rating, there are airbags across all three rows of seats, as well as three point seat belts across all seats. It also has autonomous emergency braking, stability control, rain sensing wipers, headlight assist and speed sign recognition as well as front and rear parking sensors and a reversing camera, which all in all make a pretty complete safety package. From all reports our fiends relayed seating across all three rows of seats is comfortable and very relaxed. There are air vents, and lights throughout

the Valente and on a day trip without the bikes with all the seats filled the accommodation got a big-thumbs up from all occupants. The ultimate endorsement was when two of the passengers fell sound asleep with a chorus of snoring, something that is difficult if the van is too noisy or uncomfortable . The luggage area in the back is massive with 730 litres of space when all three rows of seats are in action, a lot more when the rear is folded up or removed altogether. We put close to 2500 kilometres on the Valente during a week away and the fuel consumption was excellent even with some pretty big loads on board. At highway cruising speeds on the Hume, we recorded a best average of a meagre 6.9 litres/100km, which was very impressive. City and hilly work saw it slurping a little more but it was never over 8.0 litres /100km, very impressive for a people mover like this. Handling wise for a van of this size the

Benz feels nimble and precise and is very capable, with great stopping power and fabulous steering that offers terrific feel and sharpness. It has a very compact 11.8 metre turning circle, which for shuttle operators in urban areas would be a blessing The Valente comes with a five-year warranty, which is excellent however it does come with a cap of 250,000km, so if it is being operated commercially with heavy use, it could soon be out of cover before the five year limit is reached. There is naturally 24-hour roadside assistance, almost a given these days, while the Valente’s service intervals are 12 months/25,000km. This Valente is comfortable, flexible, nice to drive, has the cache of a Benz badge and is above all safe and well built. We enjoyed our time in it and for carting a bunch of friends, a ton of luggage and bicycles over long distances, it was the perfect choice. Would we own one? Yes in a heartbeat. 059

Company Car




t’s still going to be a while before everyone’s first option is an electric car, but it is happening, which must be an encouragement to companies like Nissan, which has been one of the pioneers of electric cars globally, and here in Australia. Nissan launched its first gen Leaf in Australia almost ten years ago and it has been a long slow slog with the market cool about paying a large premium for the concept when internal combustion vehicles are much cheaper and a known entity. But chip away they have, and now with two updates or evolutions of the Leaf concept, Nissan now has a very attractive and acceptable electric car , with good range, excellent dynamics and design. The one turn off is still the price, but that is a factor of the cost of batteries and the take up of the technology as well as our government’s general ambivalence to the electric concept. While Nissan was a pioneer and prepared to push the concept out there with a high price tag, new technology is


always expensive, (look at flat screen TVs), the payback will be when the price drops and public acceptance is gained with a critical mass of these cars on the road. The thing about the new Leaf e+ that we tested is that it now has a bigger battery with much better range, which is one of the chief anxieties people have about electric cars. The reality is that as tech gets better, this is going to diminish rapidly, and range anxiety should be a thing of the past. Not only does the Leaf e+ have better range it also boasts more oomph and performance from a more powerful electric drivetrain. To underline the premium that you have to pay for the drive up onto the moral high ground as a person with a zero emission vehicle, the new Leaf e+ will set you back $60,490 plus on roads. Nissan also offers the standard Leaf, with less power and range for a still substantial price of $49,990, which is a lot for what is basically a mid-size Japanese hatch. Both models actually have similar

equipment levels with the $11000 difference down primarily to the cost of providing that extra range and performance. Both the Leaf and Leaf e+ are well equipped with a snappy electronic instrument panel housed in the 7.0 inch multifunction display, which can be customised to show driving range, energy consumption and a range of other driver info. Meantime audio, and nav etc. is controlled via the centre mounted 8.0 inch touchscreen multi-media display, which is also a very good feature fitted standard with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. That is also linked to a seven speaker Bose audio system with DAB+ digital radio and satellite nav. You also get keyless entry, a leather and suede interior trim, privacy glass, a headed steering wheel and seats and 17 inch alloy wheels as standard. Styling is a subjective thing and some people we spoke to really like the look of the Leaf but others didn’t, they didn’t see it as offensive, just a little plain and bland, but like we say it is subjective.

At the front is a solid panel with no grille. That is because there is no need to channel air through a radiator to cool an engine and so a solid panel is better aerodynamically. Climb behind the wheel and in front of the instrument display and the image is a lot more high tech and advanced. A really nifty gear shifter which has a really organic look and feel to it. It is just like a gear shifter in a conventional auto, in that you pull it toward you to select drive but of course there is just D for Drive, R for Reverse and P for Park, there are no gears to select as such. Plug the key in, select start and the dash lights up and goes solid once the car is ready to be driven away. Select D and away you go, gliding away from a standstill with an eerily quiet and efficient whirr. The 8.0-inch touchscreen dominates the centre stack, and it’s great to see that, despite the Leaf ’s futuristic feel, there are still buttons and switches for the climate controls, rather than being an all-touchscreen affair.

The Leaf boasts a really good package size and is about the same size as say a Hyundai i30 or Corolla with an overall length of 4490mm long along with a 2700mm wheelbase and is 1788 mm wide. The Nissan designers have done a great job with the interior design and given it a really spacious and open feel by comparison with its conventional hatch rivals. It has a nice light and airy feel that adds to its modern and advanced appearance. I liked the seating position and easily organised a comfy and relaxed driving position, although the steering wheel can be adjusted up and down but not in an out which may displease some. Driving an electric vehicle is a very different experience to an internal combustion engine vehicle. When you push that throttle pedal the torque delivery is at just about max right from the start and it can be a bit of a push you back in the seat moment if you don’t watch yourself. However you soon get used to it and adapt. Part of the sensory gap is

because there is no engine noise to give your brain audible signals, but again you soon get used to that. Firstly, there is nothing intimidating about the cabin. The layout for all the controls and switches is well thought out, and everything is just where it should be and does what it’s meant to do. The Leaf e+ is great in urban traffic darting away from the lights and nimbly climbing hills and accelerating out of intersections, and soon you really enjoy the experience of that instantaneous power delivery. We didn’t get to drive the plain Leaf so we can’t judge how much nippier the e+ is, but one would imagine the added 11 grand price tag would mean a reasonable step up in performance. Of course the other thing you are paying for is an extended range which with the e+ means you get an extra 110 kms . That on the surface doesn’t seem like a big gain but is a reasonable addition, particularly when you consider that the average Aussie car 061

“THE LEAF DOES EVERYTHING EFFICIENTLY AND WITHOUT FUSS” travels about 13300km per year or about 36km each day, so that 110km of added range means you could potentially stretch around another three days between charges, or go another hour down the road on a long trip before stopping for a recharge. During the week we had with the Leaf e+ we actually didn’t have to recharge it at all and in fact that was one of our intentions to see if we could achieve it. That added 110 km is a really soothing thing to have in minimising range anxiety. Of course being an electric car also means it is able to slow using the regenerative force of the drive train, helping brake while replenishing the battery. You can also help extend the range by operating in Eco mode or by playing with the Leaf ’s e-Pedal. If you use Eco mode you can adjust the settings to add up to 15km to the range, with the e-Pedal turning the car into a single pedal operation, powering forward while on the throttle and slowing as if you are on the brakes when buttoning off. It can be quite a strong braking effort and of course when doing this it is also topping up the charge. The e+. boasts a very impressive 340Nm of torque and maximum power of 340Nm which means it has about 50 more horses and 20 additional Newton metres over its standard sibling. The result is that the Leaf e+’s electric motor will drive it from 0 to 100km/h in just 6.9 seconds, which is a pretty quick


time for a hatch back like this. It is also about one second faster than the lower powered standard Leaf. More importantly than acceleration figures for most buying an electric car is what the range and charge efficiency is. Nissan quotes a range of just shy of 400 km, and of course this is a rubbery figure depending on how economically you are driving it. When you compare the e+ to the standard Leaf, the differences sound and look a lot more stark. The standard car has a smaller battery pack with the e+ fitted with a 62kWh unit that delivers those extra kilometres. When you look at the Leaf ’s 270km range up against the 385km or so the e+ can travel it means a lot more in terms of trip planning and is at the nub of why you pay an extra $11000. It takes about 11.5 hours to recharge the Leaf e+ from 30 per cent on a home 240volt outlet. On a fast DC charger you can take the battery from 20 per cent to 80 per cent in about 45 minutes, so bring on more fast chargers. The Leaf does everything efficiently and without fuss. In terms of dynamics and handling the Nissan is again inoffensive and does everything well enough. However when you weigh up its performance and braking capabilities the Leaf e+ is a quick point to point car, if a little unrewarding in terms of driver experience. The cab is well laid out and there is a plethora of storage nooks and

compartments around the interior with the controls and switch gear all easy to see and use. The hatchback reveals a very large rear luggage space of 405 litres enabling the Leaf to carry a fair amount of luggage or shopping. You can also fold the rear-seats to create one large cargo are that delivers a total of 1176 litres, although the rear seats don’t fold perfectly flat, which is a little annoying. Nissan has achieved a full five star ANCAP safety rating and the car has a full suite of safety equipment including six airbags, autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control , lane keep assist, blind spot monitoring, traffic sign recognition, driver attention alert and rear cross traffic alert. Nissan gives a five year/unlimited kilometre warranty on all its vehicles and the Leaf e+ is no exception and in addition the company gives the electric car an eight-year/160000km warranty on the battery pack, as well as five years roadside assistance. Nissan also has capped price servicing which averages out at about $290 per year over five years with a once a year or 20,000km scheduled service. Let’s face it, you don’t have to change the oil. We enjoyed our time with the Leaf e+, embracing its efficiency, comfort and ease of operation. There may still be few electric cars on our roads, but this is the future and we reckon bring it on.

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arlier this year, auction house Grays reported record buyer interest in a classic car sale. It saw buyers pay top dollar for a number of cars including a 1978 Ford XC Cobra that sold for $194,000. It’s a similar story across a variety of collectibles including stamps and coins. But they won’t always be a money spinner. Picking investment-grade collectibles is a specialist skill. Get it right, and you can certainly pocket capital gains. According to the latest Knight Frank Luxury Investment Index, coins have appreciated 72% over the last decade. Classic cars have scored 10-year gains of 193%. But the big winner is rare whiskey, which has jumped in value by 478% over the past 10 years. So, how do collectibles stack up against mainstream investments like shares? Frankly, not very well in many cases. By comparison, Australian shares dished up capital gains averaging 6.23% annually over the last ten years. To put that in perspective, if you’d invested $10,000 in a diversified portfolio of Aussie shares back in 2011, it would be worth about $18,301 today. That’s a 10-year gain of 83%. However, shares don’t just deliver capital gains. They also pay tax-friendly dividends. If we include dividends, shares generated total returns averaging 10.8% annually over the past decade. By reinvesting dividends, a $10,000 share portfolio in 2011 could have grown to around $27,887 by 2021. That’s a total 10-year return of 179%. What really sets shares apart from collectibles is their low maintenance nature. When you invest in a collectible it makes sense to insure it. You also need to store it securely. If it’s something like a vintage car, you need to pay for maintenance and possibly annual rego costs.

If you’re investing through a selfmanaged super fund (SMSF) there can be serious pitfalls around collectibles. The Tax Office makes it clear that collectables must not be stored in the private residence of fund members. Artworks can’t even be displayed in a SMSF member’s business premises where they can be visible to clients and employees. This avoids the possibly that the assets will give members a benefit prior to retirement, which is a big no-no for SMSFs. Long story short, collectibles often come with ongoing expenses yet rarely deliver an ongoing return. The only financial benefit is a potential profit on sale further down the track. Sure, shares may not come with the same bragging rights – or physical beauty, as a prized artwork or rare jewellery. But they have a lot going for them as a financially rewarding long term investment, and it typically takes a lot less upfront capital to get started as an investor. Meantime The latest report on global warming paints a grim picture. But investors have an opportunity to support change through their portfolio. When the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its latest report, it made headlines globally. No surprises there – the report pulls no punches on the need for urgent climate action. As individuals we can feel powerless to bring about large scale change even though we may be doing our bit on a personal level by making eco-friendly choices. As investors however we can collectively carry real clout, and demand for ‘responsible’ investments is growing rapidly. An industry report shows there is now a total of $1,149 billion held in responsible investments in Australia. That’s over one-third of the value of the total managed funds market.

‘Responsible’ investments look for opportunities that embrace environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria that benefit people and the planet. That can include opting for investments that support the environment such as renewable energies, or screening out negative industries like, say, tobacco or gambling. A survey by the Responsible Investment Association of Australasia (RIAA) found consumers are especially keen to avoid investments associated with fossil fuels, human rights abuses and armaments. The good news is that responsible investing doesn’t have to come at the cost of strong returns. The RIAA found Australian share funds with a responsible focus dished up 10-year returns averaging 9.0% annually compared to the market returns (as measured by the ASX 300) averaging 7.8% each year. It’s a similar story with international responsible investment funds, which have achieved long term returns above the market average. If you’re keen to invest in a way that supports the planet – and your own views on issues like social responsibility, there is a range of options to pick from. A growing number of super funds offer responsible investment choices. There’s also a broad selection of exchange traded funds (ETFs) dedicated to sustainable investments including some that focus on overseas markets. Just be sure to take a close look at what the ETF is really investing in so you can be confident the fund’s underlying investments are among those you would choose to invest in personally. Paul Clitheroe is Chairman of InvestSMART, Chair of the Ecstra Foundation and chief commentator for Money Magazine.

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