Elon Musk’s dream of an electric semi has yet to become a reality. A rollout that was first expected to take place in September has been pushed back to November, while Tesla looks to address production delays with its Model 3 cars.
As strange as the concept sounds, this essentially describes the ultimate goal of off-peak deliveries – the route planning strategy that schedules shipments at times when there is less traffic on the road.
There are significant savings to be realized by those who embrace the idea.
COLUMBUS, IN – In a dramatic demonstration of technological agility, Cummins finished off a press conference here yesterday by unveiling its all-electric, zero-emissions class-7 tractor. Obviously, it’s a first for the 98-year-old diesel manufacturer that wants to become known as a powertrain provider, not an engine builder. It was a surprise to many, even to those of us who knew electric power was in the cards at Cummins, as well as being a small slap in the face to Tesla, which has been threatening to introduce an electric tractor next month.
Called the ‘AEOS’ electric commercial vehicle demonstrator, and built by Roush on what seems to be an International ProStar base, it’s a working 4×2 regional hauler, not just a concept shell. Cummins sees its role in vocational applications like urban delivery, port drayage, and terminal container handling.
It’s claimed to achieve over 30 miles per gallon in diesel-equivalent terms while accelerating 25-35% faster than the same tractor powered by an 11- or 12-liter diesel (depending on rear-axle ratios, of course).
A few months ago I wrote a couple of times about headlights, complaining that the standard lamps offered in most vehicles — from cars to heavy trucks — are insufficient. Meaning, it’s too easy to over-drive your lights at what are pretty ordinary speeds nowadays. The light just isn’t thrown far enough down the road, reducing the ability of a driver to see far enough ahead to avoid an obstruction and maybe a catastrophic accident.
Distribution centers and jobbers couldn’t possibly afford to stock every single part that a truck owner might need at a given point in time. The massive inventory would tie up far too much space and capital. The best they can do is play a numbers game, focusing on parts used in the widest volume of vehicles, and trying to limit investments in the components that are likely to gather dust on a storage rack.
Volvo has been mighty busy of late. Back in late April it chose our very own Expocam truck show in Montreal to unveil its new and long overdue VNR regional tractor. Promoted as the “shape of trucks to come,” it was joined this week by another much updated truck, the long-haul VNL, replete with all manner of safety technology as standard equipment.
The role of a road warrior on the Today’s Trucking editorial team takes me across North America, and at times these stops don’t include a personal car. If I want to keep moving, the options have been limited to the kindness of companies I visit, shoe leather, or taxis.
It is impossible to talk about engine oils without tapping into the benefits that have emerged with new CK4 and fuel-efficient FA4 formulas. The story was no different when Total invited members of our editorial team to visit a blending facility in Montreal, where the world’s fourth-largest oil company prepares and bottles lubricants for a wide variety of industries and applications.
A few days ago we got our first glimpse of what might be Tesla’s Electric Semi, as company CEO Elon Musk calls it. It looks futuristic, but it also looks like a high-roof over-the-road sleeper truck – which is exactly the wrong application for a fully electric drivetrain.
If the signs are any indication, municipalities would rather find a way to live without trucks. No parking. No idling. No Jake brakes. No trucks on this street or that. It’s like we’re living in the midst of a song by the Five Man Electrical Band. Remember the lyrics? “Do this. Don’t do that. Can’t you read the sign?”
So I had some fun last week in Arizona with a few of Western Star’s latest trucks and the continuation of the company’s anniversary celebrations. They refer to it as ‘Celebrating 50 Years of Legendary Awesomeness’. No hyperbole there.
Should “professional” drivers be held to a higher standard when it comes to care and control of their vehicles, and indeed, the actions they take or don’t take to avoid a collision? An Ontario appeals court judge thinks they should be and has ruled accordingly. I think the decision opens some dangerous doors for Ontario truck drivers.
At about the same time North Americans were awaking to the news that President Trump had lobbed 60 Tomahawk cruise missiles onto a Syrian air base an apparent terrorist stole a truckload of beer and crashed it through the front of a Swedish department store. The death toll in the Stockholm department store crash stands at four at the time of this writing.
Bucket-list item ticked: I finally got to India. In fact I’ve just returned from spending two weeks in that astonishing country, where I couldn’t keep up with anything that was going on here in the world of trucking, so this edition of my report will borrow heavily from work my colleagues have been doing in the last while.