John G. Smith is the editor of Today’s Trucking. The award-winning journalist has covered the trucking industry since 1995, when he was named the editor of our sister publication Truck News. Since then he has been a contributing editor to industry publications across North America, served as a frequent speaker on industry topics, and been honored for his coverage of business and technical matters alike.
Ian Wright co-founded Tesla Motors and developed the fastest street-legal electric car in the world. But these days he has set his sights on something bigger – an electric powertrain for commercial vehicles.
Wrightspeed’s range-extended electric powertrain known as the Route enters production in a matter of months, and the company CEO boldly predicts that electric waste trucks will overtake the sale of diesel models in as little as five years.
There have been other attempts to electrify trucks in the past. One thing that sets the Route apart, however, is its Fulcrum turbine.
Ear worms are funny things. You know them. They’re the songs that invade your thoughts. The one ringing through my head right now is crooned by none other than Kermit the Frog. Yep. The Muppet. The one who taught us, “It’s not easy being green, having to spend each day the color of the leaves.” If you want to know how tough it is to be green, look no further than the environmental rules and regulations affecting today’s trucking industry.
Metro Truck Group seems surprisingly reluctant to tell its story. When a meeting is finally scheduled, senior managers spend much of their time explaining that they don’t normally do this sort of thing. The Freightliner dealership group based in Ontario’s Niagara Region rarely participates in interviews. When its Brantford dealership moved into a new building this winter, it even did so without the fanfare of a grand opening. No ribbons were cut. No speeches made. But there is no escaping the spotlight of a reality show.
When it comes to vehicle safety, a lot of attention is being focused on the one truck component that actually touches the road. The Rubber Manufacturers Association proclaims the first week of June as Tire Safety Week. Days after this concludes, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance begins a special focus on tires as part of the annual Roadcheck inspection blitz.
Recruiters in Canada’s trucking industry appear to be overlooking massive labor pools, and a recent report from Trucking HR Canada is making the business case to connect with several under-represented demographic groups. “We just want the industry to be aware of the demographics; that these are the labor pools we need to tap into,” says CEO Angela Splinter, whose trucking-focused organization promotes best practices in human resources.
A Class 1/A licence falls well short of proving that someone is ready to work as a truck driver. Ask any industry recruiter. Hang around a busy loading dock long enough, and you’ll likely have the chance to pick up a few extra dollars from frustrated newbies, all eager to hand the keys to someone who can actually reverse into tight spaces. This is especially true for people who, with a minimal amount of training, managed to learn just enough to earn the licence itself.
I’m experiencing a new day and new job at Today’s Trucking, but there is no escaping the sense of déjà vu. Yes, I still lean on my GPS to find the office, and I think it will be several months before I remember the phone number, but something feels oddly familiar. Too familiar.
Gene Orlick’s tenure as chairman of the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) can still reasonably be counted in days. The owner of Alberta-based Orlicks Inc. assumed the role just last week, during the alliance’s spring board meeting in Arizona. But his mandate already includes one issue that will define the nation’s largest trucking organization for years to come. Who will replace David Bradley?
Volvo’s Canadian dealers are celebrating. Goran Nyberg, president of Volvo Trucks North America, noted that the company’s retail share in Canada hit 16.3% in 2014, complete with 54% of the sleepers that have 10-13-litre engines. Employees responded to numbers like that with chants of “all time high”. And today they represent the first wave of North American dealers to learn about several powertrain enhancements available to buyers in 2017.