TIC: Isuzu is a member of the Truck Industry Council - Safer Greener Essential. *According to T-Mark industry statistics. Bodies shown are not standard equipment. F•S•A/ISZ8821
The advanced turbocharged Japanese Isuzu SiTEC Series II and III diesel engines in each Isuzu Truck feature a Diesel Particulate Diffuser (DPD) or Diesel Oxidation Catalyst (DOC) exhaust after-treatment system, depending on the model. There is no need for addition of SCR systems. From the U.S. there are Alcoa Wheels and Allison or Eaton transmissions. Plus, many of our trucks are fitted with Hendrickson suspension and Meritor axles and brakes. ZF transmissions are sourced from Germany and so are the renowned ISRI 6860 suspension seats that come standard in every ergonomically designed Isuzu cab (from F Series up). All Isuzu cabs are also safety compliant with the Economic Commission for Europe (ECE-R29) standard. Depending upon the model specification, these premium components are built into the rugged Isuzu cab chassis in Japan. So weâ€™ve been around the world to ensure Isuzu Trucks are the best equipped for Australia. Visit www.isuzu.com.au
FOR ROAD TRANSPORT & COMMERCIAL VEHICLE PROFESSIONALS
CONTENTS CONTACT DETAILS PO Box 3294 Erina, NSW 2250 www.truckandbus.net.au Enquiries Tel: 0411 099 091 Follow us on Twitter #truckandbusnews Managing Editor/Publisher Geoff Paradise email@example.com Features & Technical Editor David Meredith firstname.lastname@example.org Art Director Luke Melbourne www.groeningdesigns.com.au Advertising Sales Bruce Williams 0418 349 555 email@example.com Editorial Contributors Jim Gibson, Mark Bean Fabian Cotter Transport & Trucking Today is published under licence by the Truck Power Media Group Pty Ltd and is distributed to road transport professionals, fleets, business professionals and the industry throughout Australia.
& TRUCKING TODAY
14 THE X FACTOR 18 THE I’S HAVE IT
They don’t come any tougher than Volvo’s FMX working class hero Volvo’s new for 2014 FM is more refined than its knock about sibling but just as classy
22 CATCH OF THE DAY 28 TOP OF THE TREE 34 STREAMLINE BABY 40 LIVE BETTER, ELECTRICALLY
There’s nothing fishy about these Western Stars, they never miss a good catch You could say these arborists are ‘arboring quite a few Hino’s on their fleet Tom Wolfe wasn’t available for this test but luckily David Meredith was We broke the story and we are the first magazine to drive a Smith electric truck in Australia
44 ALL MINE
Is a Centaur? The Greeks had a half man, half horse so why not half truck, half bus?
48 GREAT AUSTRALIAN ROADTRAINS 52 ONE MANS TREASURE 56 BUDDY, CAN YOU A SPARE A DME?
It’s been a long time coming but the latest roadtrains special is here in 2014
Is another mans junk, we know. But not in the case of these hard working Isuzus Fossil fuel isn’t the only way to power a truck, we have hybrid, electricity and di-methyl ether
60 ‘A’ FOR ‘ASSISTANCE’
The new 2014 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter has sprung, and it’s a nice bit of gear
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04 BACK TRACKS 06 HIGHWAY 1 Black is the new GT
News and Views from a round the globe
Paul Clitheroe offers sage advice
WHY IT HAS TO BE A CORONADO 114. FOR ALL THE REASONS VISIT WWW.FREIGHTLINER.COM.AU The Coronado 114 – the reasons are clear. When a truck’s this good, it takes a long time to list all the reasons you should buy it. Those reasons combine to ensure the Coronado 114 will keep hauling huge loads - as a pocket B-double tanker, a tipper and dog, a 34-pallet B-double or a road train double. Flexible. Powerful. Reliable. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. For all the 114 reasons visit www.freightliner.com.au or call your closet dealer on 1300 66 22 30. Freightliner is a registered trademark of Daimler Trucks North America LLC.
BACK TRACKS GEOFF PARADISE
“Truck manufacturers have yet to release a model with the word ‘Black’ in it”
kay, no more dilly-dallying. The truck industry is behind the eight ball and being left behind by other sections of the automotive world. What I’m about to say is quite serious and should not be taken lightly. Product planners all over the world should be jolted out of the slumber, marketing executives given a kick up the bum and CEO’s shown the door for missing the opportunity. You see, truck manufacturers have yet to release a model with the word ‘Black’ in it. Why isn’t there an FH 16 Black? Or an NPR 200 Black? How about a Coronado Black Edition or a Constellation Black? In the world of passenger cars Black is the new GT. In fact, Ford did a Falcon GT Black Edition. So have Subaru with Impreza. Mercedes-Benz coined the phrase with their blindingly fast AMG C63 Black edition, the others merely followed. Think of the possibilities. Two-tone leather seats, Momo steering wheel, 20-inch OZ wheels, Pirelli rubber, tinted windows…good lord, the mind boggles. Although the truck makers do put more effort into their pakages than their omnibus cousins. On that side of town they are 90
percent all white. The truck guys, they know better. Over the years we have had lots of special editions. Mack named a series after the nations highways years ago, and of course Western Star and Kenworth often drop special editions into the market place. So too, has Scania, but they have all missed using this new buzzword ‘Black’. Japanese manufacturers have Trade packs of varying levels of equipment and other packages aimed at the end user but I doubt the ultra- conservative Japanese would ever consider doing such a thing, their go is White. So, as it stands, no one has really gone balls out and come up with a sooper-dooper Black edition. Oh yeah, Iveco did those black Stralis a few years ago (note the lower case ‘b’) when they got sucked in to sponsoring the All Blacks during the rugby world cup – never have seen one on the road though, certainly not in Wallaby country - they had the silver fern on the side and looked quite nice…if you lived in En Zed. In fact, Iveco went berserk with their All Blacks sponsorship, they had it on anything with more than one wheel, but given the zil-
lions of dollars that little exercise cost it was no wonder. In Italy once I saw a special edition Stralis that was decked out in Ferrari colours; prancing horse badging, Momo steering wheel, trick alloys and nice graphics. Very suave. I think they were a limited edition model for the Eye-talian market, and of course, Ferrari is owned by Fiat who also own Iveco so it figures. Given Mercedes-Benz coined the term and other car manufacturers have unashamedly pinched it ‘Benz should lead the way and release an Actros Black edition. They have their Coronado with a Harley Davidson connection but they were a special order for the Australian distributors, so why not an Actros Black? Keeping it all in the family they could have a range of Fuso Blacks and Sprinter Blacks and yes, even Freightliner Blacks. Cash contributions for this brilliant piece of marketing advice will be warmly received at Truck Power HQ. Finally, I decided not to be all serious and/ or cutting edge this issue. The truck market is humming and if you are reading this you are above ground. Life is good. Time to laugh.
Iveco’s Stralis ‘All Blacks’ took the ‘Black’ theme to an extreme. But you get my drift.
LEGENDS NEVER DIE. Wh W he en n we do do a jo ob b, we we do it it rig gh htt. t. Ta ak ke e our ur 22 sstta arrts ts, 22 ts, 2 fi fin nis she hes, s, 13 cla 13 ass ss wiin ns an and a 4t 4th cons consse co ec cu cut uttiv ive ch c a am mpi pion on onsh nsh ship ip in th the un nde der 10 lit 10 itre re ca atteg ego orry in n the e gru ruelin elling in ng Da Dakar kar Ra ka allllyy.. Suc uch le eg ge end ndar ary pe p erfforma orrma o anc nce is s prro oo off tha hat Hino Hino Hi n rea ealllly lly is s a be ettte er cl classs of of tru ruck ck k.
A Toyota Group Company
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TRUCK OF THE DECADE Is this a case of the luck of the Irish? THE NEW ACTROS is the “Truck of the Decade”, at least according to Ireland’s Fleet Transport magazine Also voting were truck drivers and owners, users of social networks such as Twitter and Facebook, along with visitors to the most recent “Mondello Truck Show”, who were able to vote for their favourites.
The choice was between the last ten winners of the Irish “Truck of the Year” award, among them leading brands such as Scania, MAN, DAF and Volvo. In addition, the Mercedes-Benz Antos won Best Distribution Truck 2014. “This victory is a further tremendous accolade for the already multiple award-winning Mercedes-Benz Actros”,
said Jarlath Sweeney, publisher of Fleet Transport magazine. “With the aerodynamic design of its cab, its outstanding driving characteristics, its handling and comfort, the new Actros sets a fresh benchmark. A worthy winner of the Irish ‘Truck of the Decade’ award.” The truck had previously already won
the highly sought-after Irish “Truck of the Year 2013” trophy back in 2012. The international “Truck of the Year” jury, made up of specialist commercial vehicle journalists from 24 European countries, has also voted a total of four times for Mercedes-Benz’s longdistance specialist as the best truck of the year.
NAVISTAR SEES RED
Better red than dead Navistar seems to think with the ISB now offered NAVISTAR INTERNATIONAL Corporation recently announced the expansion of its medium-duty engine offerings to include the Cummins ISB 6.7-liter engine for International® DuraStar® medium-duty trucks and IC Bus™ CE Series school buses. “Adding the proven, market accepted Cummins ISB to our line-up is a key part of our strategy to offer our customers the most comprehensive medium-duty truck and bus offerings,” said Jack Allen, Navistar executive vice president and chief operating officer. “The ISB will complement our existing engine offerings and will be a catalyst as we look to improve our medium-duty truck and bus business in 2014 and beyond.” International DuraStar trucks and IC Bus CE Series school buses with the
Cummins ISB will be Navistar’s first medium-duty vehicles with Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) emissions after treatment. Navistar will begin taking orders immediately for trucks and buses with the Cummins ISB with initial truck builds later this month and regular production for trucks scheduled for December. Regular production for CE Series school buses is scheduled for late-January 2014. Cummins has also announced their intent to build a new five-litre diesel V8 for light duty trucks and pick-ups and also a new G-Series engine. The ISV5.0 has been designed to easily fit where a comparable V8 or V10 gasoline engine was previously installed. The ISV5.0 brings together a compacted graphite iron (CGI)
cylinder block, forged steel crankshaft, high-strength aluminum alloy heads, and composite valve covers to offer maximum durability in a lightweight package. These features, along with dual overhead camshafts, also reduce noise, vibration and harshness. The G Series platform is an in-line six cylinder engine and will be available in 10.5 and 11.8 liter displacements to meet a broad variety of on-highway and off-highway global market requirements and emission standards. Initial engines are designed to run on diesel fuel.
SEE YOU IN COLORADO But will it ever replace the beloved Holden Ute? HOLDEN HAS REVEALED the 2014 Colorado range and with it the introduction of a new Duramax 2 diesel engine, a new six-speed manual gearbox, an all-new app-enabled infotainment system and increased content including safety features. The 2014 Colorado range boasts a new 2.8 litre Duramax 2 diesel engine offering more power and torque to both the SUV and truck when teamed with
the automatic transmission. The new Duramax 2 diesel engine with automatic transmission generates an impressive 147kW of power and a maximum 500Nm of torque, one of the best in class. The new engine not only delivers more maximum torque but increases torque across the entire curve. The enhanced automatic transmission calibration includes shift stabilisation
in uphill and downhill modes and grade braking control preventing unnecessary shifting between gears when travelling uphill, and suitable shifting when travelling downhill to minimise braking. The 2014 Colorado also introduces a new six-speed manual transmission standard across the Colorado truck range. When teamed with the new six-speed manual transmission, the new Duramax
2 diesel engine produces the same 147kW of power as the automatic transmission and a maximum torque of 440Nm of torque. Torque is now available all the way from 1600rpm to 2800rpm, ideal for cargo and towing applications. Power and torque does not come at the expense of fuel efficiency. Fuel economy remains the same or slightly improved across the range, say Holden.
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VOLVO’S NEW BOSS IN OZ Popular CEO, Arne Knaben, moves to a plum job in the UK Peter Voorhoeve (pictured, right) has been appointed Vice President Asia Oceania Sales Region Australia (managing director) in Group Trucks Sales and Marketing and JVs APAC. He succeeds Arne Knaben who has been appointed managing director for Volvo Trucks in United Kingdom and Ireland. Peter will be located in Brisbane and will report to Christophe Martin, Senior Vice President Asia Oceania Sales. In this role he will be responsible for the trucks business in Region Australia, including Australia,
New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, New Caledonia and French Polynesia. Peter will have the responsibility of managing the group’s suite of brands in these markets: Volvo Trucks, Mack Trucks, UD Trucks and Renault Trucks. Peter has a strong international and multi-brand background from various senior management positions within different areas of the Volvo Group, including TSMJV APAC, Volvo Parts and Volvo Action Service. Peter will take up this new position in November 2013.
M-B ENDS VW CRAFTER DEAL Auf Wiedersehen mein kamerad!
It’s not commonly known, but it’s no great secret either that Mercedes-Benz build VW Crafter vans in a co-operative venture. That will end at the end of 2016. “Both partners had a benefit from the long lasting cooperation. With the next Sprinter, which is currently in development, we will ultimately be dependent on the production capacities that we have currently made available to Volkswagen. That’s why our employees will only produce our own brands in the future,” said Volker Mornhinweg, Head of Mercedes-Benz Vans. The contract manufacturing large vans for Volkswagen by MercedesBenz began in 2005 with the model changeover for the Sprinter. By the end of 2012, around 280,000 large vans had been produced for the Wolfsburg-based company at the Mercedes-Benz plants in Düsseldorf and Ludwigsfelde. The agreements governing the contract manufacturing of large vans for VW were fixed to run until the end of 2016 from the outset. At the end of April 2013, Mercedes-Benz Vans celebrated the world premiere of the new Sprinter, see this issue).
Our VW insider has confirmed an all-new Crafter in 2016 but hasn’t a clue where it will be built or by who.
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CONTACT YOUR LOCAL DEALER TO LEARN HOW THE CAT CT630LS LUXURY SLEEPER CAN INCREASE YOUR PRODUCTIVITY.
©2012 Caterpillar Inc.
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NEW APP = PROFITS All you need is a smart phone THE NEWEST SMART phone and tablet app set to revolutionise the automotive industry has just hit the App Store. Known as ‘Dealer Drive’, the app is designed to support dealerships by automating the process of conducting test drives and managing loan vehicles. ‘Dealer Drive’ is the result of two years intensive research and development by
automotive industry executives, Michael Webb and Paul Wilson. Dealer Drive works by capturing important vehicle and customer data, allowing OEMs and dealerships to extract relevant, timely reports on the status of vehicles – including who is in a vehicle at any point in time. The app also has a built-in customer satisfaction
tool that provides valuable feedback on the performance of sales staff and vehicles during the sales process. “It enables dealerships to track and measure their operational effectiveness, reduce costs and improve sales. It also allows OEMs to measure the effectiveness of marketing campaigns, identify sales training opportunities and
monitor the overall performance of the dealer network”, says Wilson, joint CEO of Dealer Drive. For more information visit www.dealerdrive.com.au or call 0430 811 755. If calling from overseas, dial +61 430 811 755. Email: michael@Iformation.com.au or paul@Iformation.com.au.
FOTON UTE GETS SERIOUS And not before time FAA AUTOMOTIVE AUSTRALIA, distributors of the Foton Tunland one-tonne ute, has undergone a restructure and are now getting serious about the local ute market. To emphasise the point and to get some traction they have built up a generic mine spec’ version of the Tunland dual cab. The Mine Spec Tunland features a steel tube external ROPS (Rollover
Protection System) comprising an over-cab bar structure and a steel bull bar with aerial mounts, a heavy-duty anodised aluminium dropside tray, integrated UHF radio and various safety accessories and customized lighting required on mine sites generally. FAA director Grant Phelan said the Tunland had some notable advantages in the conventional cab
one-tonne ute class which suited modification for a tough life in the mines. “Tunland’s Cummins 2.8 turbo diesel engine also does duty in Foton’s bigger trucks up to 4.5 tonnes GVM so is under stressed in Tunland, a further boon to the Cummins’ longevity reputation,” he said. “Tunland also has a very stable
stance, with the longest cab-to-axle in the class which minimizes tray rear overhang and optimizes its tow ball positioning, plus it has the widest front track and second-widest (by 5mm) rear track of any nonEuropean ute in the class. Currently, FAA distributes the Tunland dual cab 4x4 and 4x2 ute through 20 dealers nationwide, more are expected to be added this year.
Of all the Chinese utes the Foton looks the most appealing, although they still have a thing for big blingy badges on the grille.
We've done the heavy lifting.
• Actros 2644 Prime Mover • Fully maintained operating lease • 12 months registration and stamp duty
Mercedes-Benz has made owning an Actros 2644LS 6x4 Prime Mover even more attractive with a simple weekly payment of $885 p.w.* This simple weekly payment covers the truck lease and maintenance and repairs for 5 years so you can take the guesswork out of running your business.# Our ‘Peace of Mind’ approach ensures there are no unexpected surprises for you.
To find out more about per-week-pricing across our entire Mercedes-Benz Trucks range, contact your nearest Mercedes-Benz Truck dealership or visit www.mercedes-benz.com.au/justdrive
A Daimler Brand
*This is a manufacturer’s ad. This offer is available from participating Mercedes-Benz Truck dealers to buyers only on new orders placed and delivered between 1 September and 31 December 2013. This offer is not available in conjunction with any other offer. Vehicle distributed by Mercedes-Benz Australia/Pacific Pty Ltd ACN 004 411410. Offer available on new Mercedes-Benz Actros 2644 LS 6x4 Prime Mover with hub reduction only on Safeguard Platinum Advantage. Offer restricted to approved business customers of Mercedes-Benz Financial Services Australia Pty Ltd ABN 73 074 134 517 on 60 month 100,000km pa fully maintained Operating Lease with monthly payments of $3,835 and total finance payable $230,100. $390 documentation fee is payable upfront. Standard credit assessment and lending criteria apply. # Exclusions apply. Full terms and conditions and details of Safeguard Platinum Advantage maintenance and repair cover available at your preferred participating Mercedes-Benz Truck Dealer.
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Good job they didn’t have a cake with candles
AN SLT WITH THE LOT
Now this is a truck! MERCEDES-BENZ TRUCKS is completing the introduction of its new truck model series featuring Euro VI in-line six-cylinder engines. The new family of Mercedes-Benz trucks for heavy-duty transport is available for the first time as the variants Actros-SLT with air suspension and Arocs-SLT with steel suspension, while the Arocs is also alternatively available with all-wheel drive. The SLT takes the best genes and components from the various model series of the new truck generation and fuses them together to create the jewelin-the-crown of truck engineering. The customer benefits from the huge range of possible heavy-duty transport vehicle variants - there are seven different wheel arrangements alone. Responsible for the development and production of the SLT with immediate effect is Custom Tailored Trucks (CTT), located in the Alsatian town of Molsheim and managed by the Wörth truck plant. The Mercedes-Benz SLT is currently the only heavy-duty transport vehicle on the market which boasts Euro VI certification, a turbo retarder clutch as standard, and the Mercedes PowerShift 3 transmission with a special “Heavy” transmission mode. With the OM 473 Euro VI-engine it is
the most powerful variant of the new OM 473 Euro VI in-line six-cylinder engine developing 460 kW (625 hp) and 3000 Nm of torque at 1100 rpm. The special features of the new Mercedes-Benz OM 473 include a technical speciality, the turbo-compound system. The term stands for a second turbine downstream of the exhaust gas turbocharger. The automated Mercedes PowerShift 3 transmission features a “heavy” transmission mode and is designed for high torque to handle loads of up 250 tonne. The SLT is the only vehicle in the field of competitors that has a 16-speed transmission and consequently the finest gear ratio spread in the heavy-duty transport sector. The Actros-SLT with air suspension is available with GigaSpace or BigSpace cab; the Arocs-SLT with steel suspension, with BigSpace (2.5 m) or StreamSpace (2.3 m) cab. Delivery of the basic chassis for the Actros-SLT with air suspension and the ArocsSLT with steel suspension begins in December 2013. The all-wheel-drive variants of the Arocs-SLT are available from April 2014. As yet, there is no word when or if they will be available in Australia.
DAIMLER’S JAPANESE SUBSIDIARY Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation (MFTBC) has celebrated a milestone in Australia with the sale of the 50,000th Fuso Canter lightduty truck. The freight and logistics company StarTrack is rounding off its customer fleet with the newly purchased anniversary vehicle. The fleet includes over 3,000 vehicles – more than half of which are Fuso Canter and Fighter trucks. StarTrack ordered 185 new vehicles from Fuso already in January this year. Richard Eyre, General Manager Fuso Trucks and Buses said in the first half of 2013, they were able to grow their market share in the lightduty truck segment significantly to
around 25 percent. “The positive orders position attests to the trust of our longstanding customers in the Fuso product range. We are proud to hand over the anniversary truck to our longstanding partner StarTrack,” he said. Stephen Cleary, StarTrack’s CEO said StarTrack has relied on the comfort, reliability and fuel economy of Fuso trucks since the 1980s. The vehicles help us to drive our business forward successfully. We are very pleased to be adding the 50,000th Canter to our fleet.” StarTrack also has several dozen eco-friendly Fuso Canter Eco Hybrid trucks in its fleet.
TALENT QUEST One for growing markets
UD Trucks, part of the Volvo Group, launched Quester earlier this year, a new heavy-duty truck range developed specifically for growth markets. Quester will address new market segments and marks a milestone for the Volvo Group in line with the Group’s truck strategy to increase sales by capturing profitable growth opportunities in fast growing markets across Asia Pacfic and other regions. With Quester, we are entering a new era by introducing an all-new truck range, specifically designed for growth markets”, says Joachim Rosenberg, Executive Vice President, Group Trucks Sales and Marketing and JVs, APAC.
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THE X FACTOR VOLVO HAS OUTDONE ITSELF WITH IT LATEST FMX CONSTRUCTION TRUCK. NEW AND UNIQUE INNOVATIONS, A WIDE RANGE OF SPECIFICATION AND SUPERB DRIVEABILITY MAKES IT A WINNER. GEOFF PARADISE REPORTS.
t’s a few months away yet, sometime in early 2014 Volvo Trucks Australia will launch their latest incarnation of the allwheel drive FMX, their robust, seemingly bullet-proof quarry, construction and off-road truck that rides, steers and stops like no truck this multi-skilled has a right to. The FMX is a by-product of Volvo’s more sedate on-highway FM model, a truck that is well known to local operators having been part of the landscape for many years. It too, has also been updated and a new model released. Although unveiled in the first quarter of this year it wasn’t until recently Volvo staged a release program in their hometown of Gothenburg so selected media could see and drive for themselves a selection of FM, FMX, FH, FE and FL trucks. While Australia won’t see the FE and FL – they fall into categories dominated by the Japanese and would struggle to compete pricewise - the new FM and FMX are on their way. The FH, of course, is already here.
Both trucks are excellent pieces of kit. The on-highway FM (see next story) can do pretty much anything its bigger sibling, the FH, can do although it does have its limitations with ‘only’ 500HP provides. Really? It’s not all that long ago that 500 was the magic number, now we take it as an average starting point. A rapidly changing world we live in! There are two engine options in either truck; an 11-litre or 13-litre in-line six , known as the D11 or D13. In the case of the FM power ratings for the D11 are 330hp/1600Nm, 370hp/1750Nm, 410hp/1950Nm and 450hp/2150Nm. Maximum power is delivered in the 16001900 rpm range while max’ torque is spread from a round 950 to 1400 rpm. A nice spread of choices in anyone’s book. A similar, but not quite as diverse range of power ratings is available for the D13; 420hp/2100Nm, 460hp/2300Nm and 500hp/2500Nm. In the 13-litre engine’s case max power comes into play between 14001800 rpm and, depending on the HP rating max torque can be attained from 860-1400 rpm (420hp), 900-1400 rpm (460hp) and
1040-1400 rpm with the 500hp engine. The FMX offers an additional power rating over its FM sibling and that is 540hp and 2600Nm, which in extreme duty cases would be appealing. In all cases Volvo’s brilliant I-Shift is available, and while much has already been written about these transmissions revised programming and other improvements have made a great gearbox even greater. Visually, the FMX is a no-holds barred, knock ‘em down, drag ‘em out truck. It’s the schoolyard tough guy and isn’t afraid to show it. This is a serious rig with a cab that is made from high tensile steel, coupled with the re-design of many components in the front end - and in some cases their removal or relocation - to reduce their susceptibility to severe operating conditions and the advent of electronically-assisted steering, but more on that shortly. Heavy duty bumpers, tow hooks, skid plates, mesh headlight protectors and extraordinary ground clearance all contribute to this trucks vastly different persona compared to its more urbane FM
sibling. Depending on the model FMX chassis heights range from approximately 900mm to 1240mm. Three cabs are available in Europe but it is yet to be confirmed which of those will be available here. The Day cab is a walk up start and quite likely the Sleeper cab, the Globetrotter is probably too much cab for this application but no doubt, more wizened heads at Volvo’s Australian head office will make those decisions shortly. But do you really want to be able to accommodate two people overnight in a truck like this? After all, who sleeps in a quarry or construction site? But while the FMX looks like a brute it rides and drives like an up-market passenger car thanks to revised rear air suspension technology and Volvo’s revolutionary electronically assisted steering, known as VDS, or Volvo Dynamic Steering that uses an electric motor attached to the steering box to substantially reduce the effort required to steer. VDS in the FMX is like power steering in a passenger car and makes the task
“While the FMX looks like a brute it rides and 1.
of driving a fully laden truck that much easier, particularly at low speed in tight and cramped surroundings. I urge you to go to You Tube and search for ‘Charlie the hamster driving Volvo truck’, not only is it a hoot to watch but demonstrates how easy VDS makes driving. These features, in conjunction with Volvo’s I-Shift automatic transmission makes the FM/X an exceptionally easy truck to drive, although one hardened veteran said it was too easy to drive, but chances are he said the same thing about automatics in trucks a decade ago. To emphasis the point, Volvo Group Australia’s Julie Skerman, who had never driven a truck like this before (or maybe any truck) was coerced into doing a lap of the rugged Jehander Heidelberg quarry in Kallered, Sweden. It was a breeze, she said. “I didn’t realise it would be so easy.” And therein lies my point; Volvo has made these trucks so comfortable, so quiet and so damn easy to drive even a novice can handle it. Another feature of the FMX is its ‘roll back alert’. Despite being fitted with hill-
start should the driver, for any reason, not move the truck forward and it does start to roll back on an incline it will activate a series of driveline braking events to minimise any danger and hopefully alert the driver that he or she is going in the wrong direction! Air suspension is traditionally avoided in trucks used for off-highway and construction work with operators preferring traditional steel suspension but Volvo think they have nailed it with their new air suspension and having driven a FMX with a full load around one of the most daunting quarries I ever seen I’m inclined to agree. Everything that was thrown at this truck it took in its stride with neither the truck or the driver being stressed. The air suspension features an automatic ride height control with up to 300mm ground clearance. It is available on 4X2, 6X4 and 8X4 axle configurations. All-wheel drive is available on trucks with 4X4, 6X6 prime mover and rigid and 8X6 rigid. The driven front axle has also been moved 100mm forward to the same position as a rear-wheel drive variant. Adding to the stability of the FMX is the anti-roll bar
positioned up in the bogie axle set, this also greatly improves ground clearance as the anti-roll bar does not protrude below the axles. The test units I drove complied with Euro 6 emission standards (mandated for Europe in 2014) engines meeting the current Australian standards will be available well into the future. The interior of the FMX belies its lot in life. While the driver isn’t swimming in acres of leather and lashings of rare rainforest timber it is, none the less, a top-notch environment in which to spend the working day. In typical Volvo fashion the materials used have been selected for their ability to stand up to tough conditions but at the same time provide a calming and comfortable work place. The second generation Volvo FMX is a quantum leap forward over the previous model. While technology for technology’s sake is often the norm, Volvo has judiciously applied recent innovations to a truck model where it will be at its most effective and productive. The queue starts over there, to the left.
drives like an up-market passenger car” 3.
1. Severe duty tow hook will come in handy at times 2. Headlamp protectors are a good idea. Mesh is also available 3. On land or water, the FMX doesn’t back away
THE I S HAVE IT '
VOLVO’S FM HAS ALSO BEEN REFINED AND UPDATED…
If this isn’t one of the most stylish cab-overs available we’d like to know what is. New FM hits all the right notes.
’ll resist the urge to try to link ‘FM’ to some radio station but if I had to, and only if I had to I would liken it to an ‘easy listening’ format, unlike its sibling on the previous pages that would be more in tune – sorry about that pun – with a hard rock station (uh oh, another pun). Anyway, you get the drift. After a day frolicking in a quarry that looked for all the world like movie set about to shoot Metropolis II it was time to take on a more urbane task and drive a sampling of FMs up the motorway to a charming town called Kungsbacka, north of Gothenburg. Yes, it was easy listening as I seriously doubt if there are any hills, much less mountains in Sweden. If they are there then I have never driven up any so for this exercise it was a bit of a tootle taking in the scenery. We had four FMs to drive starting with a 420 6X2, a 500 6X4 and a 420 6X2 rigid and with either a Globetrotter LXL or XL cab and weighing in at 40 tonnes. The rigid was loaded
to 26 tonnes. I-shifts were the order of the day. Like the FMX, Volvo’s Dynamic Steering was spec’d to these test trucks and while it was nice to have, the real worth of VDS was proven in the quarry, driving these these VDS-equipped FMs along the motorway made it extremely comfortable. In fact, Volvo Trucks president, Claes Nilsson, sums up VDS accurately when he says VDS benefits the truck driver in all operating conditions by creating a safer, more comfortable and more enjoyable working environment. “On the highway the dynamic steering system provides exceptional directional stability. At low speeds even a heavily-laden truck is so easily manoeuvrable that it can be steered with little effort,” he said. The FM is also available with updated I-See technology in conjunction with the I-Shift. To quote Volvo directly, I-See is mainly developed for long-haul applications and can save up to five per cent in fuel consumption.
The technology electronically records information about the topography of the roads on which the truck is driven. “In the extended version, information from other vehicles can also be downloaded in advance. This means that I-See can provide full benefit the very first time the driver uses a given road,” says Anders Eriksson, development manager for I-See. Using recorded road or downloaded road data, gear shifting, speed and auxiliary braking are automatically optimised the next time the truck covers the same route. All this techno’ wizardry of course converts to making the driver’s lot in a life more pleasant when behind the wheel and improving the bottom line for the operator. In safety terms Volvo – as you would expect – offers a active safety package that comprises an electronic stability program (ESP), lane changing support and adaptive cruise control with forward collision warning. Throw into the mix the visibility package
with headlight cleaning, static cornering lights, rain sensor and bi-Xenon headlights and you’ve got a nice ride. But wait, there’s more! No steak knives but there is a personal protection package that has an alarm, safe and a remote-controlled circuit shutdown. There is an ‘airflow’ package, which, as the name suggest, offers a roof airflow panel, side deflectors, chassis skirts for prime movers and side under-run protection. There is more available but again, it will be up to Volvo to determine what specifications and options are to be made available here. Five cabs are offered with the FM. The day cab, sleeper cab, low sleeper cab, Globetrotter and Globetrotter LXL, so it’s certainly not a case of ‘one size fits all’. Volvo’s desighn director, Rikard Orell, who, incidentially, worked at Holden for a period, says the new FM has a modern look with a strong Volvo identity. “It looks lower, more down to earth. The rear sloping, gently rounded corners radiate aerodynamic efficiency,” he is quoted as saying. The instrument panel and dash overall has also come in for some revision. The new instrument panel is angled toward the driver and all the buttons and controls are in easy view and within convenient reach. The steering wheel has integrated controls for several functions, including cruise control, phone, Dynafleet telematics
Ergonomically designed interior is a welcome place to spend the day - or night. Use of colour and materials is very Swedish.
and navigation, says the Volvo cab product manager, Ulf Andreasson. The flexible switch module can house a variety of controls. One example is the option to operate the I-Shift transmission via four buttons instead of the conventional shift control beside the seat. The instrument panel also offers a number of smart storage compartments. “The basic idea is that there should be plenty of storage space to make the driver’s job easier. Documents, freight papers, magnetic key-cards and personal belongings – everything has its own specially-designed space,” said Andreasson. Another neat option that can be ordered is Volvo’s wireless remote control for checking the trucks weight distribution. Samuel Nerdal, the product manager for electrical and electronics says the wireless remote control the driver can instantly check the cargo’s weight distribution as the truck is loaded. The remote control also makes it possible to carry out a number of other tasks without having to frequently climb in and out of the cab. The new FM boasts subtle but worthwhile changes and improvements that will put it in good stead with operators looking for a truck in this category. It’s style, build quality, efficiencies and name plate will ensure good value at the time of purchase and at re-sale.
“On the highway the dynamic steering system provides exceptional directional stability. At low speeds even a heavily-laden truck is so easily manoeuvrable that it can be steered with little effort,”
Red seat belts are not a style thing, it’s so the highway patrol can see more clearly if they are being worn.
Photography: Howard Shanks
CATCH OF THE DAY BASED ON THE PICTURESQUE TASMANIAN NORTH COAST, G&D TRANSPORT RELY ON OLD-FASHIONED VALUES, THE ADOPTION OF NEW TECHNOLOGIES AND PROVEN RELIABILITY OF WESTERN TRUCKS AND DETROIT ENGINES TO STAY AHEAD OF THE PACK. HOWARD SHANKS REPORTS FROM THE APPLE ISLE
rom their Devonport depot, G&D Transport run a diverse trucking operation from site clearing, scrap metal, stock feed, to aquaculture transport. They are even accredited demolition contractors. The affable yet fiercely determined business development manager Tony Dike, is the “D” in the G&D Transport. Easily stressed and far more vulnerable to climate conditions than any other animal, Tony confirms that the aquaculture industry demand particularly high standards of care during transport to ensure animal welfare and overall meat quality. Consequently, trailers purposefully modified for fish transport coupled with strict adherence to cleanliness and maintenance standards are paramount in keeping the customers satisfied.
“When we have the live-fish on board we need to be extremely reliable,” Tony said. “On the journey from the fish hatchery to pens in Macquarie Harbour we have to stop at regular intervals to measure the water temperature and ensure the oxygen is aerating the water in the tanker. Its important not to stress the fish.” “Hauling fish comes with its own issues. It’s different in heaps of ways to any other freight,” said Alan ‘Tiger’ Holden, the company’s transport coordinator. “It’s probably not for everyone and we certainly didn’t set out with a vision to specialise in fish transport, but we could see the potential in it as the world wide demand on Tasmania’s aquaculture industries grows. We work damn hard to make it work too,
however like most things in transport, it’s a job that still comes with competitive pressures.” “That’s why we’ve specified these new Detroit-powered Western Star 4800 trucks for our aquaculture operation,” Tiger said. “Traditionally our trucks are always purchased new and generally kept for about five years. By then they’ve clocked up between 750,000 and 800,000 kilometers at that time we either trade or sell them privately.” “The terrain here in Tasmania is very demanding on a truck especially down on the west coast where there are long steep climbs and descents, we need a truck that has plenty of power for those long pulls, a decent engine brake and something that will deliver good reliability with maximum economy,” he said. Under the hood of two new G&D Transport
“This operation is the only place in the world where the fish are harvested at sea and transported in a slurry of ice water” 024 www.truckandbus.net.au
4800 Western Stars is Detroit’s DD15 ERG 14.8-litre engine that’s rated at 560 horsepower and 1850 lb-ft at 1200 rpm. The transmission is an Eaton 18–speed RTLO20918B combined with a Meritor RT46160GP with a 4.30:1 ratio and cross-locks in the rear axle riding on the Airliner suspension. The chassis is 3/8” high tensile steel single channel with a 5,105mm (201-inch) wheelbase to accommodate the 40-inch Stratosphere sleeper. A 6.5 tonne Meritor MFS16 axle with 6.600kg taper leaf springs, that include threaded bushes and high capacity wheel bearings long was specified as was a TRW TAS-85 power steering box. “One thing that attracted us to the Western Star Constellation was the fact that the cabin finish is extremely well done and it is very
durable,” Tiger pointed out. “Our original 4800 Western Star is getting on a bit now and when all the trucks are lined up together its hard to tell which trucks are new and which ones are old. Each truck can spend up to four hours a day out at sea on the barge. When it blows up - and it quite often does - the trucks get pounded with seawater, said Tiger. Western Star salesman Phil Salter pointed out that the reason the Constellation cabins are so durable is because they made from double sided galvanized steel that is then treated with a 17 stage cathodic E-coat system and finished with aluminised wax rustproofing in all cavities. “The fiberglass bonnet and cab skirts are extremely durable and well suited for severe
service duties such as this one down the West Coast,” Phil said. It was still dark when driver Greg Direen began reversing his 4800 Western Star on to the Combie Trader II. He guided the tanker into a chute on the port side of the barge. That chute on the barge connects to a chute on the trailer, where the harvested fish are fed into the tanker. Because fish are naturally attracted to running water they literally swim up a pipe, which is connected to huge water pump, into the harvester then down the chute into the truck. It takes roughly an hour to sail out to the ponds where the fish are grown for up to two years. The Australian-designed onboard harvester, by Brisbane-based Seafood Innovations, can process 30 ocean trout
1. Once loaded the the 4800 is ready to disembark at the wharf. 2. The fish are farmed in these huge floating ponds in Macquarie Harbour. Hard work, but not a bad way to make a dollar!
a minute and up to 60 Atlantic salmon a minute. Greg explained that he normally carries 2000 Atlantic salmon or ocean trout depending on the demand. This operation is the only place in the world where the fish are harvested at sea and transported in a slurry of ice water to the processing plant at Devonport. So successful is the system that demands for Petuna Seafood’s fish are highly sought after and they have been granted additional fishing leases to expand their operation in Macquarie Harbour in the near future. In regards to his 4800 Greg said he can’t fault it. “The ride, comfort and road handling are absolutely fabulous,” he said. The Airliner suspension delivers a great ride and it simply gets the power to the ground far more smoothly.” “Even more surprising though, is the
turning circle, it is exceptional for a bonneted truck. I can turn the ‘4800’ in half the distance of the distance of the previous truck from a different stable and that’s important in our game.” Later that afternoon Gavin Saunders, driving a second 4800 explained how he likes the room in the 40-inch Stratosphere sleeper. He cited the insulation as exceptional as he can get a good sleep in the bunk even on the coldest nights. “And we get a few on them,” he adds. Gavin said that the power and reliability of the Detroit engine makes a huge difference as well. “We took delivery of these Western Stars earlier this year and so far they’ve clocked over 80,000 kilometers trouble free,” Tiger concluded. “The teething problems that normally come with new trucks simply haven’t happened with these Western Stars.”
“The ride, comfort and road handling are absolutely fabulous”
Serious truck envy. They say that beauty is only skin deep. They obviously havenâ€™t driven a new Western Star. Not only does it look like a serious truck, it performs like a serious truck. It loves to do all the work. A luxury interior, built to avoid fatigue with an engine that owns the road. You could have some serious thoughts about starting a relationship, platonic of course. westernstar.com.au
TOP OF THE TREE ONE OF THE NATION’S LARGEST VEGETATION SERVICES COMPANIES RELIES ON THE TOUGHNESS AND RELIABILITY OF ITS LARGE HINO FLEET TO GET THE JOB DONE WITH A MINIMUM OF FUSS. www.truckandbus.net.au 029
1. Not the sort of thing many of us would like to do but someone has to! Tree trimming is a growth industry, that’s for sure.
TS Vegetation Management (formerly Eastern Tree Service) runs a national fleet of around 280 trucks, and more than half of them are Hinos. “We currently run about 190 Hinos out of our depots around Australia,” said Bill Simmons, ETS National Fleet and Maintenance Manager. The majority are from the Hino 500 Series medium duty range, featuring fuel-efficient Euro 5-compliant engines, state-of-the-art multimedia unit and safety features like ABS anti-skid brakes, front under-run protection (FUPS), ISRI air-suspension driver’s seat and driver’s SRS airbag as standard. “At the moment we have a number of FD and FE medium wheelbase trucks and GH medium and long wheelbase 500 Series models,” Simmons said. “We also have nearly 30 500 Series GT 4x4 trucks and a couple of 300 Series light duty models too.” For Bill Simmons, the reasoning behind having so many Hinos in the fleet is simple. “The Hinos are a good, reliable, value-formoney truck with excellent support,” he said. “They do exactly what we need and they
trucks are running pretty much all day apart from breaks. “The chipper-tippers tow a wood chipper unit and crew members manually fed the off-cuts into the chipper, with the chips being deposited into the tray ready for disposal. “With a full bin and a chipper in tow they come close to reaching maximum load limits.” While its head office is in Victoria, ETS has been buying its Hinos from Sydney’s City Hino for the last 15 years. “Traditionally we’ve bought our Hino’s through Chris Geadah at City Hino, largely because most of the custom bodies were fitted in Sydney,” Mr Simmons said. “That’s starting to change a little. For example, our last lot of EWPs were Terex products supplied by Telescopic Tower Enterprises and built by Lift Industries on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, and we have had around 25 tippers built by Auslocka Sheetmetal in Melbourne now too. “Chris and the team at City Hino have always been good to us; they do all they can to help us out and follow through with every enquiry, so we couldn’t imagine dealing with anyone else.” All the Hinos in the fleet are maintained
“The Hinos are a good, reliable, value-fordon’t let us down: they’re super-reliable.” Most of ETS’ 500 Series trucks are fitted with either elevated work platforms (EWPs) for tree lopping, or are used as chippertippers to dispose of the offcuts. Eight have a truck-mounted Jarraff cab and boom that enables cutting along high voltage powerlines where an EWP cannot reach. ETS recently took delivery of its first tilttray 500 Series GH 1728 XXL wheelbase 6x2 (customised from 4x2) for transporting heavy equipment and recovering vehicles. A 300 Series 917 4x2 Cab Chassis tray truck carries a specialised track-mounted EWP that is operated via remote control for awkward, hard-to-reach jobs. “A typical working day would see the trucks leave the depot for an eight-hour shift, with crews cutting and clearing vegetation from poles, electricity wires and so on,” Mr Simmons said. “The cutting is mostly done with hydraulic tools, so even though they’re stationary the
by ETS’ own technicians who receive regular training at Hino Australia’s headquarters in Sydney. “Their mechanics are fully trained by Hino and they’re very self-sufficient,” said Mr Geadah. “They have their own workshops in all states, and every couple of years they send their maintenance staff to head office in Sydney to get the expert training and guidance they need to keep the Hino fleet running smoothly. “After so many years we enjoy a good working relationship with the people at ETS and they’re really happy with the Hino product,” Mr Geadah said. ETS began operations in Victoria in 1981 as a specialist power line tree clearing service. In 1999 ETS expanded into Queensland, followed by Tasmania in 2006 and New South Wales and Western Australia in 2009. It currently employs over 600 staff across the country.
2. ETS run a big fleet and has more than 140 Hino on the road. 3. Choose your weapon! Is this a case of dualing chainsaws?
money truck with excellent support,â€? 3.
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Photography: Scania & David Meredith
BABY NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH TOM WOLFE’S EPIC BOOK, THE KANDY-KOLORED TANGERINE FLAKE STREAMLINE BABY FROM THE SWINGING ‘60S, SCANIA HAS RESURRECTED ITS STREAMLINE NAME- PLATE FROM THE ‘90S. DAVID MEREDITH GETS BEHIND THE WHEEL.
n the early 90s Scania released its “Streamline” 113M 400hp cabover that established the brand as a fuel miser. It’s reputation was due to an effective combination of smooth exterior styling, and advanced engineering. Since then, engine and transmission technology has driven fuel efficiency rather than aerodynamics. But now the wheel of evolution has turned full circle, and Scania has re-styled it’s modular cab to reflect a new keenness for the slipperiest shape on the road. Scania’s R and G series cabs are already efficient aerodynamic designs, so the styling team had to look to details to improve the drag coefficient. The most noticeable changes are the new, sculptured panels directing the air around the side of the truck without interruption, achieving the same result as the previous air scoops but with less drag. A patented deflector lip located just above the headlights includes a duct that generates the right amount of swirl. The air enters above the light unit and on exit creates an anti-spray barrier. The deflector lip is adapted to the different heights of the G and R-series cabs. Sixteenlitre V8 models get a chrome insert to complement the other frontal V8 styling accents. Scania engineers claim the new aerodynamic corner treatment and sun visor reduce fuel consumption at cruising speed by up to one percent on the Scania R and G-series. The front sun visor has been changed to allow a flow-through of air while locating overhead lights to back up the new H7 headlights that incorporate LED park lamps, daytime running lights and indicators. The ends of the sun visor have been opened up to allow air to escape along the sides of the cab, a revision that also helps reduce wind noise inside the cab. Detail changes to the mirror stacks also contribute to reducing drag, and wind tunnel testing indicates the aero changes alone contribute to around 1.2 per cent fuel savings. Other styling changes at the front include the new headlight units, with bezels, LED indicators and daytime running lights freshened up. Light options include H4, H7 and Xenon, with H7 the standard for
Australian specification trucks. The new H7 headlamps have two bulbs, an H7 bulb for dipped beam and a supplementary H1 bulb that is turned on for main beam. The lenses are clear glass. The headlamp units incorporate direction indicators, LED Daytime Running Lights and LED position lights. Separate sideindicator lamps are located in the boarding steps. New unique LED tail lamps are being introduced as standard across the product range. They are shaped to mimic the Scania styling traits at the front, and provide an extra fuel saving of up to 30 litres per year (due to reduced power consumption), as well as a long service life and higher reliability. Aiming for lifelong durability, the lamp unit circuit board is covered with a special gel that will keep out water and dust. But it’s under the skin that the remainder of fuel saving measures have focused. The Scania Opticruise automated manual transmission is called a “low-drag” version, because it’s had an internal remake, reducing transmission fluid capacity by three litres and improving the oil movement to accelerate heat loss and reduce gear temperature by nearly 20oC. Combined with improved oil coverage on the gear sets, this new way of circulating oil in the gearbox reduces splash losses by 25%. This is done by combining the lowered oil capacity with implementation of new guiding plates for the oil that ensure full lubrication in all locations, ensuring the mechanical power loss is much lower. This alone has earned point four of one per cent in fuel efficiency, and when added to upgrades in the gear selection software brings an overall fuel savings of a claimed three to four per cent. A positive by-product for a project that set out just to improve gearbox lubrication. The change will be applied to all eight and 9-speed gearboxes, with the exception of some specific applications such as mining. The new gearbox will manage hilly terrain and hot climate situations better, despite the lower oil capacity. However, with less margin for error, operators will have to pay close attention to maintaining the correct oil level. The new low-drag gearbox has been
“the wheel of and Scania
1. Do the Europeans have a monopoly on excellent interiors? We think so. 2. Wind tunnel smoke stream indicates air flow around the side of the cab.
evolution has turned full circle, has re-styled it’s modular cab” 2.
subjected to exhaustive testing by Scania, including running ‘lifetime’ testing on 16% grades. The results have been positive. For the driver, Scania’s customers have access to a new range of premium seats. Incab enhancements include new upholsteries and more subdued trim colour schemes selected to create a calmer atmosphere in the sleeping area, as well as Bluetooth and a USB connection. The new seats, which are unique Scaniastyled designs produced by European seating specialist Recaro, offer an attractive combination of comfort, style and convenience, as well as typical Scania ergonomics. The new premium seat is standard on all Australian prime movers delivered with engines above 400 hp. The seats adjust in fine steps in all directions, and are available with two-stage ventilation. The seat squab is wide and the lumbar support is fairly pronounced for greater comfort. In conjunction with the introduction of the new seat range, the interior colour schemes have been reviewed to provide new choices and a fresh look. Wall and roof panels are manufactured in a new material and a darker shade is being introduced in the sleeping area to create a more subdued ambience. Special dashboard and sill strips are fitted on Scania Streamline. Scania’s pullout bed with extra-thick pocket-spring mattress is fitted as standard on Scania R-series sleeper cabs, and pulls out to full width even when the driver is seated on it. The bed adjustment doesn’t encroach on the fully adjustable driver station. From an operational point of view a new electronic level control system is being introduced for the air suspension equipped versions. The remote handset has four memory press switches. Two performance steps are offered – basic and fast – the latter suited to applications that require frequent operation of the air suspension system. A load handling function has been added and load transfer is being introduced on triple bogie axles. The two-step procedure first transfers from tag axle to bogie axles and then between driving bogie axles to provide extra traction.
ON THE ROAD I drove three versions of the Streamline around the Queensland’s Mt Cotton test track with fully loaded rigs on the back. A 440hp G model had a 45-tonne single trailer, a 620hp R version towed a B-double at 58-tonne, and the biggest Scania, the V8 730hp was hitched to a B-triple at 79-tonnes. Each truck displayed impeccable manners as we practiced hill starts and negotiated steep declines, using the full suite of electronic driver aids to preserve clutches, prevent rollback and maximize fuel efficiency. Three modes are available in the standard transmission set-up; auto, power, and eco modes. With ‘auto’ selected on the 730, I engaged ‘Drive’ and released the park brake.
The rig held fast on a steep uphill slope until I squeezed the throttle and the electrics took over. Eighty tonnes never moved so smoothly and powerfully off line with the gearbox gently changing up through the ratios. I was still on the hill when I got to third but the ‘box still skipped to fifth. Up to ninth gear the V8 delivers 3300Nm of torque, increasing to 3500Nm when 10th gear arrives. Once under way, the five-stage retarder almost made the service brakes unnecessary. Downhill the cruise control system blended the retarder and service brakes to keep the triple from running over my self-imposed limit. Scania buyers get four hours of specialist driver training included in the truck price,
no matter what the fleet size. Additional follow-up training is at a cost, but is essential to secure the top value of the training. It’s a combination of driver skills and a howto course on the wide range of fuel saving technologies embedded in the truck’s electronic systems. I’d suggest that an operator who buys one of the new Scanias and doesn’t use up every minute of this training time is a fool. Just the optimised use of the huge range of driving features at the driver’s fingertips is worth the time investment, and then some. Scania’s Streamline makes a premium truck an even sharper business proposition, particularly if you’re in the habit of doing a whole of life cost on your purchase.
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Every new truck or bus now comes with 12 months comprehensive insurance included at no extra cost. Itâ€™s just one of the ways you get more with Fuso. Call 1300 429 134 or visit fuso.com.au to find out more. This offer is available from participating Fuso dealers on new orders for new trucks and buses placed between 1 May and 31 December 2013. Excludes national fleets, government and rental buyers. Insurance arranged by Fuso Financial, a registered business name licensed by Mitsubishi Fuso Truck & Bus Corporation to Mercedes-Benz Financial Services Australia Pty Ltd ABN 73 074 134 517 AFSL 247271 as an agent of the underwriter QBE Insurance (Australia) Limited ABN 78 003 191 035 AFSL 239545. Please see the Product Disclosure Statement and Policy Wording booklet for full terms and conditions. Insurance cover cannot be exchanged for cash or a discount off the purchase price of the vehicle. Full terms and conditions available from participating Fuso dealers or www.fuso.com.au. Fuso is distributed by Mercedes-Benz Australia/Pacific Pty Ltd ACN 004 411 410.
Photography: Geoff Paradise,Toll, Smith
WE BROKE THE NEWS OF THE SMITH ELECTRIC TRUCKS COMING TO AUSTRALIA AND WERE THE FIRST TO DRIVE A 10-TONNER LOCALLY. THE QUESTION IS; WHAT’S IT LIKE DRIVING A TRUCK THAT CAN BARELY GET OUT OF ITS OWN WAY? GEOFF PARADISE FINDS OUT.
kay, no prizes for guessing whose fleet this truck is in. The forward thinking Toll Group seized the opportunity to put a Smith electric truck on their fleet in Brisbane to see how it measures up in running costs, maintenance and most importantly, driver acceptance. They hope to have a good idea of its operational and economical value in December. I drove the truck earlier this year in Melbourne before Toll took delivery and I have to admit to mixed feelings after the drive around the greater Dandenong region. But more on that in a moment. Inside it differs little from a conventional truck. The most obvious omission is a recognisable gear-shift lever. For a truck that attracts a massive price premium over a diesel or diesel/hybrid truck – I’m told this truck is $180,000 - the controls used for the electric conversion look like they have been purchased from
Dick Smith Electronics. While Czech truck maker Avia may have spent time building the basis of the Smith truck any suggestion that Smith has applied any semblance of installing controls that appear integrated with the cabin are nonexistent and very much an afterthought. The gear-lever could have been seconded from an arcade game while the kill switch appears to have come from an military surplus shop. I’m sure I’ve seen the trio of warning lights at the aforementioned DSE outlet. All of this, plus a knob that again looks like it came from a Radio Shack, are mounted on a crudely finished black plate panel and installed with a handful of black Phillips head self taping screws. It reeks of a 1960s kit car. Overhead, there is a box that provides information on level of charge and how the re-charge of the batteries during regenerative braking via the Vector control system is fairing. The positioning of this
box requires the driver to regularly take his eyes off the road to monitor the level of charge, something he or she will need to do regularly lest they want to be stranded far from the nearest power point. There is also a GPS unit that Smith Trucks Australia say will be standard in all trucks, not a big selling point given more portable GPS units are available for under a hundred bucks and most smart phones are equipped with GPS anyway. And, would you really need it? These trucks are intended for fixed route deliveries so I imagine the driver should know where he is 99 percent of the time. Driving the Smith electric truck is no different than any other medium duty truck, except for two things; it is eerily quiet and as slow as a wet week. Imagine a 10-tonne golf cart and you’ll get the picture. I drove the truck without a load of any description and while it moved away reasonably promptly building up speed to stay with traffic was like whipping a
1. Technicians prepare an Avia truck for the Smith electric driveline. This is one of their US facilities 2. Centre console houses switches and gear lever. 3. Voila! Toll test truck is on the beat in Brisbane as you read this.
“The absence of noise and emissions is the future – but we think the future is not with the Smith” Clydesdale into action. Once on the move and combined with momentum the Smith managed to reach 90 km/h – happy days! But getting there could have been timed with a calendar. And this was in an empty truck, imagine if it was fully loaded! Since there is no gearbox in the truck – it has direct drive - moving off requires the driver to push that short chrome lever in the centre console to the forward position and ease down on the accelerator pedal. To reverse, simply pull the lever back through neutral and voila! You go backwards. It’s as simple as that. On the upside it’s nimble, seems to steer better than a conventional truck because there is no lumping great diesel engine over the axle and it brakes exceptionally well. It also seems to handle and ride better than a conventional truck. This could be largely due to the low centre of gravity the chassismounted lithium-ion batteries provide. That may change with a few tonne above the battery packs. Both Smith Electric Vehicles and the local importer like to cite statistics from Smith owners in the US and the UK but we have been unable to substantiate these figures, but it is claimed fizzy drink and snack
food manufacturer, PepsiCo, will save 1.89 million litres of diesel fuel a year when they have their full 176 vehicles on their fleet. I’d take those claims with a large dose of salt. The Smith truck starts life as a Czech-built Avia and its quality and fit and finish is on par with some Chinese-made trucks. The conversion to all-electric drive takes place in either England or the US, depending on what side of the cab you want to steer it and is delivered to Smith minus its engine, gearbox, fuel tank and anything else that a diesel engine may require. The motor is a Smith proprietary drive that utilises a brushless permanent magnet motor. The actual electric motor and ‘transmission’ weigh a negligible amount by comparison to a diesel engine. It should also be noted the company says the electric motor requires just one litre of oil annually and minimal maintenance for the rest of the time. They say silence is golden and that is quite true in this case and while the truck itself doesn’t create emissions its source of recharging does – coal fired power stations. That alone may make some environmentally conscious fleet operators abstain from spending an additional $90,000 per truck, not to mention the increase in their power bills that will accompany it.
Photography: David Meredith
MINE, ALL MINE!
SPECIALISED APPLICATIONS CALL FOR SPECIALIZED SPECIFICATIONS AND THIS WESTERN AUSTRALIAN COMPANY IS FILLING A NICHE IN THE MINING AND OFF-ROAD SECTOR. DAVID MEREDITH REPORTS.
n recent times there’s been a significant downturn in the up to 30-seat bus market in Australia. The rot started last October, with the sub 20-seat sector down 23 per cent compared to the same month in 2011. At the end of November, the same group was down another 32 per cent and the over 20-seat group had also fallen off a cliff – down 37 per cent. December 2012 was worse, down 40 per cent and 58 per cent respectively against December 2011. So far this year, these bus sectors are running 19 per cent and 39 per cent below the volume for the first four months in 2012. It’s no coincidence that such a marked drop has happened as the mining sector has gone off the boil. In the WA goldfields, widespread retrenchments have quietly gone ahead, even in the seemingly bullet-proof gold sector. The need for transporting the workers to the rock face has suddenly diminished, and employment contractors, as well as mine owners don’t have the desperate need for rotating their fly-in, fly-out workers on and off site every working day. But in the face of that dismal news, plus the savage cuts on the manufacturing front nationally, a WA company based in Canning Vale is frantically busy dealing with existing business and developing new products for this highly selective market. If you’ve visited WA recently, and behaved like an idiot, you may even have been a guest in one of their
3. products â€“ the WA Police Booze Buses. Omnibus Services builds bus bodies that are engineered and fabricated in WA specifically for local conditions. Their success is marked less by fanfare and more by the longevity of their handiwork. A recent repair job on one of their products that has been in service for nearly 20 years involved some minor panel work and a light replacement. All this after the bone-rattling grind of a country school bus route. In contrast, the company is busy dealing with major repairs to some buses that have been built in Asia and are not coping well with WA conditions. Cracking along the window frame bases is a common occurrence, and warranty work on these products seems to be growing. Mine services is a specialist area that requires highly detailed work and absolute compliance to vigorous health and safety regulations. With that in mind, Omnibus has recognised an opportunity to capitalize on its skills and has now built the first of a new series of 30-seat bus bodies on an Isuzu FTS 4x4 chassis. The frame is a Dura gal galvanized roll hoop design that is ADR 59/00 Rollover
compliant, and is trimmed in a blend of (almost) luxury and practicality. The interior is fitted out to the level of a coach, except for floor trimming, which is designed to cope with the standard issue steel caps loaded with mud and grit. Panels, window fittings and roof trim reflect a quality control process that is spot on â€“ no loose ends and glue runs here. The build schedule fits comfortably into the companyâ€™s bus build program, where in-house expertise that is utilised extensively by Transperth and other major operators is available. The market is presently too specialised and small for imported products to play a major role, however sales manager David McLaurin is aware of some manufacturers who are trying to get approval for rollover certification. But Omnibus has a significant lead in this sector as all its bus body construction is already rated as compliant. A purchasing executive from one of the major mining companies crawled all over the bus recently and was very impressed. The first thing he did when he got on board was to walk to the back of the bus and check the air-conditioning flow at the furthest
point from the air-con’ unit. “That’s the first complaint we get,” he said. “We don’t want a bus that has the guys fighting to get the front seats because that’s where the air is the coldest.” Because of the high ambient temperatures that the bus will be operating in, Omnibus installs a Thermo King X700 heat/cool air system that is designed for a standard 45seat cabin. The result is an excess capacity that will maintain cool air from front to back in the face of the hottest that the Pilbara can throw at it. The key design objective was to get buyers who need off-highway capable personnel transport to think of a bus-type body from a recognised bus builder rather than a poorly adapted truck. Ken Gillam is general manager and latest family member to head up a private business that started in Kojunup, in WA’s south-west in 1977. The company has built over 200 buses, mainly for school charters, and because of the growing need for bus repairs and modifications, expanded to the present facility in Canning Vale in 2000. It’s
presently the largest bus repair outfit in WA. The Isuzu chassis on the first model is rated for a gross weight of 13-tonne, but even with a full load of substantial blokes it will still only gross at eight-tonne. Some suspension mod’s are being discussed with the local dealer to tone the suspension stiffness down a notch, as the 4x4 capability is more for traction on dirt roads rather than any kind of mountain goat capability. I drove the bus on a short run and despite being empty, it was quiet and rattle free. The hatch through to the passenger compartment is large and well trimmed, and there was no squeaking or engine noise leakage into the cab. The FTS has an unblemished record operating on some of the toughest tasks that face medium duty trucks, and by matching it with a class leading body construction, operators should be able to look forward to utilization levels that are difficult to match with products built in Asia. Additionally, all the body parts are available off the shelf in WA, and with the Isuzu’s reliability record, downtime should be minimised.
“Mine services is a specialist area that requires absolute compliance to health and safety regulations”
1. Underfloor storage is generous and easily accessible. 2. Lap/sash seat belts are a must. 3. Additional step makes it easier for boarding and alighting, steps and hand rails clearly marked in safety yellow. 4. These ‘truck/buses’ are all about function, not beauty.
4. www.truckandbus.net.au 047
Photography: Howard Shanks
ROADTRAINS 2014! IT’S BACK - THE MOST SOUGHT AFTER TRUCK MAGAZINE IN THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE.
SNEAK ! W E I V E PR
From on-highway to off-highway GART will bring you the men and the machines in 2014.
It’s been a long time between drinks – and there’ll be a few more consumed – but Great Australian Roadtrains is in production and scheduled for release in the first quarter (Q1 as the boffins like to say) of 2014. Compiled by roadtrain tragic and professional truck wrangler, Howard Shanks, Great Australian Roadtrains will feature the biggest, gruntiest multi-trailer trucks ever to hit the highways (and off-highways) of this great land. Howard has scoured the countryside over the last 18 months to bring together an assortment of big rigs that will gladden the heart of all heavy-duty truck operators, drivers and spotters. From the tip of Cape York to the far reaches of Western Australia barely a road has remained untravelled in the search for Australia’s ultimate mode of road transport. Around here, we call it GART for short, and are mightily impressed – as you will be – with the stunning photography by the master shooter Shanks. To whet you appetite and get your interest, over the next couple of pages is smattering, a taste, a glimpse of what you will see in our 80+ page special in the new year. Do not miss it!
“Howard has scoured the countryside over the last 18 months”
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ONE MAN'S JUNK YOU’VE GOT IT… IS ANOTHER MAN’S TREASURE. EXCEPT IN THIS CASE THE CASH REGISTER IS RINGING FOR JUSTIN KING WHO OPERATES THREE JUNK REMOVAL FRANCHISES. www.truckandbus.net.au 053
1. The company runs about 17 Isuzu’s nationally. 2. Why wouldn’t the team look happy? They’re driving Isuzu’s! 3. They never know what they’ll have to remove!
hat saying that rang true for an 1800-GOT-JUNK? rubbish collector who removed two cases of ‘off ’ 1991 French Bordeaux Chateau Laffite which ended up being the finest wine he ever tasted. However, that hasn’t been the only out of the ordinary job that full-service junk removal company, 1800-GOT-JUNK? has worked on. According to Melbourne, Brisbane and Gold Coast 1800-GOT-JUNK? Franchise Owner, Justin King, his exclusively Isuzu truck fleet has been loaded with every imaginable item, including some of what the company calls, ‘weird junk’. “Some of the weirdest junk we’ve seen includes coffins from a morgue, a full McDonald’s playground set and a truck load of denture moulds,” Justin said. “Once we removed 12 truckloads from a hoarder which amounted to 120 square metres of old junk accumulated over a 20 year period. “We also rescued a one-month old kitten
“All our trucks are Isuzu NPR 300s and are well
Loading into the A.H Peters and Pica high side bodies makes life easier.
suited for transporting any sort of junk” named Freon from a fridge at another job. “Our removalists never know what they will find when they arrive onsite!” 1800-GOT-JUNK? prides itself on providing a complete service. The removal team does all the lifting, loading and recycling of the items to be removed and they charge only by the space the customer’s junk takes up on the truck. The company’s clients include offices, retail locations, residential houses and farms. All the collected junk is either recycled, donated or disposed of responsibly. The company boasts saving almost 900,000 kilograms of rubbish from landfill since it was established over two decades ago. The company was founded in 1989 in Vancouver, Canada, by Brian Scudmore who started out with a second-hand pick-up truck. Since 1998, the company has grown to approximately 200 locations across three countries, having adopted franchising in 1999 as the way to achieve rapid market penetration and revenue growth.
The company arrived on Australian shores in 2006, and today there are 75 employees spread across the company’s Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Perth and Adelaide based operations. 1800-GOT-JUNK? have 17 Isuzu trucks on the road in Australia. “All our trucks are Isuzu NPR 300s and are well suited for transporting any sort of junk that comes our way,” Justin said. “As with all fleet-based companies, there are many considerations when deciding what manufacturer to entrust your business to. “Price is an obvious decision maker, but you have to look at quality, reliability, resale value and dominance in the light-duty truck market – everything that Isuzu offers and more.” The NPR 300s are fitted with custom built container bodies that include an electrichydraulic hoist and electric tarp system. The bodies are built by A.H Peters and Picca bodies, located in Condell Park, New South Wales and take up to eight weeks to build.
Justin is impressed with the high quality features included in the Isuzu NPR 300 model. “The truck’s engine (SiTEC Series III 155) has not let us down, especially with its power output (114kW @ 2,600 RPM),” Justin said. The NPR 300s are tough little trucks, he added. “Most of the time, they are seen driving on roads and freeways around the city areas. However, they also drive through mud, loose metal, and assorted debris to get to landfill locations several times a day. According to Justin, the relationship with Isuzu has been very successful. “We’ve been very happy with our choice in having an exclusively Isuzu fleet. “As we look towards the future, we are excited about keeping Isuzu as our regular workhorse regardless of where we expand in the world. “With Isuzu we have quality and reliability, which makes it easy for us to deliver our value promise to our customers.”
BUDDY, CAN YOU
SPARE A DME?
VOLVO’S BACKING DME BIO-FUEL FOR ITS NEXT GENERATION OF US-BASED TRUCKS, WITH A POSITIVE OUTLOOK FOR ADAPTING ITS USE ELSEWHERE IN OTHER MARKETS FOR OTHER VEHICLES. FABIAN COTTER INVESTIGATES. www.truckandbus.net.au 057
DME technology is being keenly observed by the world’s media
“...bio-fuel can never be ruled out if it plays a key role
It all sounds quite wonderful, really, this electric vehicle technology thingamajiggy and the implications for commuters and the environment by adopting the stuff, but there’s a consistent theme from those manufacturers and experts involved in spreading the news of that direction and that’s the logistics involved is the problem. An expensive problem. The difficulty with any new technology, especially one that’s pursued to ‘fix’ a certain problem – in this case cleaner-running truck (or bus) propulsion systems to reduce carbon footprints per bus and for the industry – is that the R&D involved costs mega bucks, and then the testing is time-consuming and expensive, and then comes the fun part of actually rolling it out – not cheap. That is if a new development even gets that far. And this is all in the context that it will theoretically get cheaper the longer more people use (read: pay for) it, with often those time frames needing to pass to achieve any kind of cost effectiveness being yonks away. Yet that’s just the way it is, there are no easier ways to implement something properly
or more expediently. Unfortunately it seems. Thus whether it is developing lighter, more improved longer-lasting bus batteries or setting up the re-charge points on a city grid system, or even making roads that can actually recharge buses as they drive along it – as reported in issue 10 of our sister magazine, Coach & Bus– they’re all often ‘good in theory, bad in practice’. At least in the shorter term anyway. That is why when alternative ideas or fuels come out or are improved for realistic commercial use, regardless of where they were intended to be used, it doesn’t hurt for different industries and market segments to have a squiz at them and keep things in mind for their own future use. And if the bum falls out of the whole electric propulsion systems on buses idea for whatever reasons, things like bio-fuel can never be ruled out if it essentially means playing a key role in improved diesel-reliant systems. Recently, Volvo Trucks took another important step forward with vehicles running on alternative fuels. Within a couple of years, trucks running on DME – an energy-efficient
fuel with low environmental impact – will be introduced into the North American market. “It’s clear that DME technology shows great potential for North America and allows Volvo to further its commitment to both our customers and the environment,” said Göran Nyberg, president of Volvo Trucks North American S and Marketing. There are two things above all others that make DME highly interesting as a vehicle fuel, according to Volvo. First, it is energy efficient. Secondly, emissions of air pollutants are extremely low. It is currently produced and used all over the world, but for other purposes than as a fuel for vehicles. What is more, DME can be produced from both fossil energy sources and from renewable sources (biomass). Behind Volvo Trucks’ decision to start commercial production of DME trucks in the USA for both Volvo and Mack trucks, lies many years of development work, cooperation with scientists and fuel producers and excellent results from field tests in Sweden and North America. “With high energy efficiency and good environmental properties, DME is one of the
most promising alternatives to today’s diesel fuel. By offering trucks running on DME we also hope to hasten the expansion of DME production and distribution - essential in order to establish a presence on other markets too,” said Lars Mårtensson, director Environmental Affairs at Volvo Trucks. So just what is DME, you might ask? Well, we are glad you asked. Sincerely. Undoubtedly you are still paying attention. DME (dimethyl ether) can be made either from fossil energy, such as natural gas, or from biologically renewable raw materials such as forestry industry waste. DME is currently produced all over the world, but is used for other purposes than as fuel for vehicles. Today the most common use of DME is for domestic use, such as a propellant in spray-cans and as a fuel for cookers and ovens. DME from bio-renewable raw materials (biomass) is known as bio-DME. Irrespective of the source material, DME provides a high degree of energy and low emissions of particulates, says Volvo. What is more, bio-DME gives up to 95 per cent lower climate impact than
conventional diesel fuel. DME is a gas at room temperature and normal pressure, but becomes a liquid at low pressure (5 bar or 72.5 psi), which facilitates handling and transport, it’s claimed. Apparently, Volvo Trucks has worked with DME since the early 1990s. In cooperation with customers, fuel producers and distributors, the company conducted field tests with DME in Sweden and the USA. In Sweden, 10 such trucks have been in regular operation since 2011, in a project partly financed by the Swedish Energy Agency and the European Union. These trucks have now covered more than 1,000,000km. In the USA, the tests began in early 2013. Both field tests are still on-going. The development of DME trucks is part of Volvo Trucks’ long-term strategy of conducting research into alternative fuels. Volvo Trucks’ work with vehicles running on alternative fuels and alternative drivelines also encompasses methane gas and bio-based synthetic diesel, as well as electric hybrids. FYI, Volvo’s DME technology in the USA will be available in a Volvo VNL powered by a D13 engine.
in improved diesel-reliant systems.” 3.
1. DME? Thius guy is beside himself with excitement. 2. Who would have thought that tree trunks could ever power a diesel engine? 3. The new ‘black gold’? The Clampett’s would be very surprised 4. Volvo and Mack will offer DME-powered engines in the US next year.
'A' FOR ASSISTANCE
MERCEDES-BENZ CONTINUE TO IMPROVE AND ENHANCE THEIR VAN FLAGSHIP, THE SPRINTER, WITH A PLETHORA OF NEW SAFETY INNOVATIONS AND REVISED INTERIOR. 060 www.truckandbus.net.au
“The new Sprinter continues to set standards, boasting five new safety systems and a striking appearance”
f you are looking for a big van then chances are the Sprinter, particularly in its LWB specification – will be on your shopping list. Yes, there are other similar vans in the market place, the VW Crafter being the closest to the Sprinter (for now, see News item) and others from Renault, Iveco and Fiat but for sheer size and load capacity the Sprinter is up there with the best of them. So, a van is a van, right? Well not quite. It depends on what you are looking for and what your expectations are. Mercedes-Benz pride themselves on building the safest vehicles possible and if you’ve got a day to spare you can scour the spec’ charts of all the big vans and do your own comparison of those statistics. But with the 2014 Sprinter the chaps from Stuttgart have gone out of their way to boast about five new safety systems offered with this vehicle. The new Sprinter continues to set standards,
boasting five new safety systems and a striking appearance. Five new assistance systems — including several van firsts — will help reduce the number of accidents even further in the new Sprinter, say Mercedes-Benz. Sprinter now offers Crosswind Assist, Collision Prevention Assist, and Blind Spot Assist. Other new features are Highbeam Assist and Lane Keeping Assist. Now you know why we gave it an ‘A’ for assistance! The engineers at Mercedes-Benz say they are convinced that these electronic assistants will play a key role in helping to reduce accidents in the van sector. In addition, Mercedes-Benz has improved the Sprinter’s handling even further. The lowering of the chassis has improved the van’s drag and fuel consumption and makes it easier to load and unload cargo. Power is transmitted either by the EcoGear six-speed manual transmission or the 7G-Tronic Plus seven-speed automatic transmission with lock-up clutch, which is
the only system of its kind to be found in a large van. The new Sprinter’s appearance has also been substantially enhanced and made more striking. In line with Mercedes-Benz’ current design, the van’s radiator grille is now more vertical and in keeping with its passenger car relations. The grille’s three slats are perforated and wedge-shaped. Not only does this change create a more dynamic impression, it also increases the airflow. In addition, a frame surrounds the brand’s distinctive radiator grille, making it more prominent. Another change involves the headlights, which are now more angular. The covers on the reflector housings are particularly striking, dividing the headlights into separate segments. The new bonnet is higher and the more distinctly shaped bumpers have finely worked lower edges similar to those found on SUVs. The new Sprinter is immediately recognizable from the rear, due to its double-
segmented taillights. Comfort has been boosted by the new upholstery and seat coverings, the thicker steering wheel makes gripping easier, and the fresh air nozzles boast chrome applications if the customer opts for a multifunctional steering wheel. The Sprinter is also fitted with a newgeneration radio system that equips the van not only with state-of-the-art electronic entertainment features and Bluetooth telephone equipment (including a telephone keypad and phonebook), but also the optional Becker Map Pilot navigation system. The developers of the new Sprinter made sure that the van was thoroughly tested. More than eight million kilometers of endurance testing and extensive customer trials in everyday use had fully demonstrated the new Sprinter’s high quality by the time series production was launched. The new Mercedes-Benz Sprinter will be launched in Australia in Q4 2013.
Revised styling in the frontal area gives the new Sprinter a fresh look that will last it for another generation.
1. Hard wearing cloth on typically supportive ‘Benz seats. A number of seat configurations are available. 2. Cavernous interior will take the bulkiest of loads. Ideal for mobile workshops or a motorhome. 3. High-roof LWB offers side running lights and protective strips.
MONEY MATTERS PAUL CLITHEROE
KEY MAN INSURANCE - WORTH UNLOCKING
here are more than 2.1 million active businesses operating in Australia and, according to government figures, almost 9000 new ventures sprang into life last year. Clearly, running our own show remains a popular option for many people, but along with the general pitfalls all businesses face there is one risk that poses a particular threat to small ventures. It’s estimated that 70 per cent of all businesses in Australia are family-run enterprises. For those who run the ventures they can be an excellent investment, providing jobs for trusted family members and generating the funds to build wealth across several generations. However, many small businesses are especially vulnerable to the loss of a key person through injury, illness or death. In many family businesses – and, indeed, plenty of small-to-medium enterprises - one person can be central to the success of the business. They can be a great strategist, a finance whizz, a great sales person, or have some other key ability.
and I’m aware that when you’re in business it’s important to keep a lid on costs. As it stands, businesses already face several compulsory insurance costs including workers’ compensation. Nonetheless it’s worth thinking about whether your business relies on a key person - and how well the venture would cope if anything happened to them. You may feel that having life insurance for family members working in your business is sufficient, though this may not be the case. Business can chew through cash very quickly and, besides, it always makes sense for a venture to keep personal and business matters entirely separate. As business insurances are generally tailored to your particular enterprise it’s almost impossible to provide an indicative guide as to what you could expect to pay in premiums. The cost of ‘key man cover’ will vary according to the nature of your business, how much cover you choose and the insurance company you use. When you’re in business, time is money, so it can be a good idea to speak with your
unemployment, sickness, injury or death. For consumers, this type of cover calls for some thorough research. Recent research by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) into how CCI claims have been handled showed a very mixed bag of experiences among borrowers who took out CCI. To be fair, some consumers had their claims dealt with promptly while other consumers, who had paid for CCI, were shocked to find their claims were dismissed. This happened for a variety of reasons including the presence of a pre-existing medical condition, the consumer’s age, or because they were a contract worker or had been in casual employment, which was excluded by their policy. I should point out that statistics from the Financial Ombudsman Service show almost 12 per cent of claims made on CCI policies are denied. This is a high rate of denial compared to most other general insurance products, which generally see between 1-5 per cent of claims denied. The message for anyone being offered CCI is
“Key people can be insured for death, trauma and/or total and permanent disablement.” Whatever the case, if anything were to happen to this key person it’s a fair bet the activities of the business would be severely interrupted. In the worst-case scenario the venture may never recover entirely, or fold. Worryingly, as many small enterprises rely on funding secured by the family home, the loss of a key person could jeopardise the roof over your head. While assets like plant and equipment can be easily replaced this certainly isn’t the case with human assets. Yet it’s possible to protect the business - and possibly your family’s welfare - with ‘key person’ insurance. This type of insurance is designed to protect businesses if anything happens to the key person. Key people can be insured for death, trauma and/or total and permanent disablement. Yes, the premiums are an extra expense
accountant or solicitor to get some referrals to a reputable insurance broker. And while we are on the subject of insurance the next time you apply for a personal loan, mortgage or credit card there’s a good chance you’ll be offered what’s termed ‘consumer credit insurance’. It’s designed to help you repay the debt if you can no longer work due to illness or injury, or if you lose your job or die. This type of insurance can be worthwhile, but a recent industry review found there is significant room for improvement when it comes to the way claims are handled. Consumer credit insurance (CCI) is marketed under a variety of product names. The common thread is that it’s designed to provide policyholders with a payout if something happens that affects their ability to meet credit repayments - typically involuntary
to take the time to consider whether this type of cover is right for you. And, most importantly, read the policy document. In fact, I would urge you to do that with any type of insurance. The last thing you want with insurance is to be ‘fine printed’ - and it does happen. In particular, look at what events you’ll be covered for, how much you’ll pay in premiums, whether you are eligible for cover in the first place, and whether you have a pre-existing medical condition that could exclude you from making a claim. Bear in mind, if you have income protection you probably won’t need insurance that applies for one particular type of debt. Paul Clitheroe is a founding director of financial planning firm ipac, chairman of the Australian Government Financial Literacy Board and chief commentator for Money magazine. Visit www. paulsmoney.com.au for more information.
HAVE FUEL, POWER, RELIABILITY.
BRIAN WILLIAMSON MANAGING DIRECTOR - PORTHAUL
“I run a mixed fleet of b-doubles hauling wood chips and the Scania’s consistently return better fuel figures than the other trucks in the fleet.”
So contact your local branch or authorised dealer to find out how a Scania Total Transport Solution can work for your business. Victoria Scania campbellfield Tel: (03) 9217 3300 Scania Dandenong Tel: (03) 9217 3600 Scania Laverton Tel: (03) 9369 8666
South auStraLia Scania Wingfield Tel: (08) 8406 0200 NeW South WaLeS Scania Prestons Tel: (02) 9825 7900
Scania Newcastle Tel: (02) 9825 7940 K&J trucks, coffs harbour Tel: (02) 6652 7218
Scania richlands Tel: (07) 3712 8500
Scania Kewdale Tel: (08) 9360 8500
Scania Pinkenba Tel: (07) 3712 7900
Scania Bunbury Tel: (08) 9724 6200
Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles. A strong team for tough jobs.
An exciting lineup of tough workers at amazing deals. The Volkswagen Commercial Vehicle range covers business requirements across all types of industry. Your nearest Volkswagen dealer has every configuration covered to match your needs, with purchase and operating costs that make your decision an easy one. This incredible range now features Volkswagen Amarok – 4x4 Australia Magazine’s 2012 Ute of the Year – in both Single Cab and Dual Cab models. The Crafter covers off cargo requirements up to a massive 17 cubic metres, while the legendary Volkswagen Transporter and the hugely popular, urban friendly Caddy Van are the vans for all your needs. And 3 year unlimited kilometre warranty and Capped Price Servicing# across the range means added peace of mind. Get the commercial vehicle you want and the deal you deserve today at your local Volkswagen Commercial Vehicle dealer. To find out more visit www.volkswagen-commercial.com.au today.
Capped Price Servicing is available on Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles first registered in Australia on or after 1 January 2013 and applies to the first 6 standard scheduled services of your vehicle. Exclusions and conditions apply. For details on pricing, items not included in the capped price and for full terms and conditions please see www.volkswagen-commercial.com.au. Volkswagen Group Australia reserves the right to at any time modify or discontinue the Capped Price Servicing program.