Today's Trucking
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Daimler forecasts 440,000 Class 6-8 trucks

October 30, 2018 by John Smith

AUSTIN, Texas — Roger Nielsen, CEO of Daimler Truck North America, discussed electrification, autonomy, the state of the economy and the supply chain during a round table at the American Trucking Associations Annual Management Conference and Exhibition in Austin, Texas.

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Mack offers video option, explores electrification

October 24, 2018 by John Smith

TORONTO, Ont. – Reports of hot Class 8 truck sales tend to focus on the on-highway market, but don’t think about trashing the opportunities being realized in the refuse segment. “It’s been a very strong year for the refuse market […]

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Euro Zone: New and future truck tech at IAA show

September 20, 2018 by John Smith

HANNOVER, Germany — The scope and scale of the IAA Commercial Vehicles show in Hannover, Germany, is like no other. Daimler and Traton – the recently rebranded Volkswagen Truck and Bus — stake their claims to entire buildings rather than individual exhibit halls. Some of the aisles in the halls are as wide as streets. The individual buildings are divided by actual streets. And did we mention the Ferris wheel?

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Motoring Along: Understanding the role of motors in electric trucks

September 18, 2018 by John Smith

TORONTO, Ont. — Do you know who makes the motor in your washing machine? Do you care? Do you know who will make the motor on your first electric truck? Will you need to care? That’s just one of the many paradigm shifts we’ll be dealing with as electric drivetrains emerge in the trucking industry.

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Volvo showcases an electric future

June 20, 2018 by John Smith

GOTHENBURG, Sweden – Volvo Trucks has revealed a vision of the future, and it involves plugging into the power of electricity – especially when it comes to electric trucks.

This spring the global manufacturer announced that it will produce electric versions of European FL and FE models beginning in 2019, initially focusing on refuse and urban distribution applications.

These are hardly Volvo’s first foray into electric vehicles, though. The company has already produced about 4,000 electric-hybrid and battery-electric buses, and the trucks and buses will share many underlying technologies such as electric motors and charging systems.

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Daimler rolls out electric trucks for North America

June 6, 2018 by John Smith

PORTLAND, Ore. – Daimler Trucks North America has unveiled electric Class 8 and medium-duty trucks today, with plans to have a 30-truck “innovation fleet” working in selected applications before the end of the year.

“It is our target at Daimler to have the broadest – the absolute broadest – e-truck fleet in North America by 2021,” said president and CEO Roger Nielsen, as an electrified version of the Class 8 Cascadia rolled by.

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DAF adds to Europe’s electric trucks

May 24, 2018 by John Smith

EINDHOVEN, the Netherlands — DAF Trucks, Paccar’s European counterpart to Peterbilt and Kenworth, has unveiled its first series of CF Electric trucks – adding to the battery-powered nameplates on the other side of the Atlantic.

The 4×2 tractor is developed for urban distribution applications. It’s based on the company’s DAF model, with a 210-kW electric motor at the heart of the powertrain. Power is stored in a 170 kWh lithium-ion battery pack, offering a range of about 100 km, which the company says is appropriate for high-volume distribution applications. Torque reaches up to 1,475 lb-ft.

Quick charges can be completed in 30 minutes, while full charges are possible in 1.5 hours.

The trucks for field tests will be manufactured by DAF, and the full electric installation will be completed by VDL Groep.

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Volvo building share in hot truck market

May 18, 2018 by John Smith

NEWPORT, R.I. – Per Carlsson has been here before. The global senior vice-president of Volvo Trucks’ strategy and transformation office was president of Volvo Trucks North America from 2008-09, and now he finds himself serving as interim president to fill a role vacated by Goran Nyberg, who has taken a senior position at Volkswagen’s MAN Truck and Bus business unit.

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More electrification coming, but it’ll take time

May 2, 2018 by John Smith

LONG BEACH, Calif. – Commercial battery electric vehicles (CBEVs) will play an increasing role in moving freight, but mixed fleets will likely be the norm through 2050, the North American Council for Freight Efficiency concludes.

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Video: The promise and challenge of electric vehicles

April 23, 2018 by John Smith

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — Julie Furber, the executive director of electrification at Cummins, sees promise and limitations when it comes to the electrification of commercial vehicles. “We do believe in the future,” she told a crowd at the recent Canadian Fleet Maintenance Summit. But technologies like batteries will need to continue to evolve.

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Volvo unveils electric truck in Europe

April 12, 2018 by John Smith

GOTHENBURG, Sweden – Volvo Trucks has unveiled its first all-electric commercial truck in Europe, with the Volvo FL Electric that will begin production in 2019. With a gross vehicle weight of about 35,000 pounds, the model is designed for applications like urban distribution and refuse collection.

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Final mile introducing new maintenance demands

March 7, 2018 by John Smith

ATLANTA, Ga. – Evolving delivery models are leading to a new generation of vehicles as fleets look for new ways to serve the all-important final mile of e-commerce orders. Against the backdrop of dense urban centers that are demanding an end to emissions, the trucks and vans are also more likely than ever to be electric.

“The economics of those are starting to become positive in some applications,” said Thomas Dollmeyer, Cummins’ director of electrification technology, during a panel at the annual meeting of the Technology and Maintenance Council. Electric urban buses are already economically viable, while the same could be said about electric Class 4-7 distribution vehicles as early as 2020, he said.

But changes like that will lead to new challenges on the shop floor.

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Eaton taps into electric, connected expertise

March 4, 2018 by John Smith

ATLANTA, Ga. – Eaton’s commercial vehicle group is leveraging broader automotive and electric expertise as it prepares for a future that is increasingly electrified and connected. A newly launched e-mobility business segment – combining elements of the company’s vehicle group and electrical business – is one of the latest signs of that.

“There’s going to be a requirement for more power electronics on board,” observed Larry Bennett, director of vehicle technology and innovation, referring to the possibility of three-voltage systems on commercial vehicles. Eaton Electrical, currently responsible for 60% of company revenues, will help to apply lessons from buildings, leading to new smart power management tools and power distribution strategies, he said.

There’s already been an increase in electric powertrains for buses and lighter vehicles, of course. And Eaton expects fully electric valvetrain actuation to be a reality within a decade. Hydraulic lash adjustments, now used in passenger cars, could soon manage intakes and exhaust in heavy vehicles as well.

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Mercedes-Benz Sprinter keeping connected

February 7, 2018 by John Smith

DUISBURG, Germany – Mercedes-Benz Vans chose the inland port city of Duisburg, Germany, to reveal is third-generation Sprinter, which adapts to a rapidly evolving world where delivery vehicles are expected to be a constantly connected piece of the Internet of […]

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Context: Understanding electric trucks

January 16, 2018 by Jim Park

Electric trucks seem to be all the rage today, just as natural gas was to be the industry’s salvation just a few years back. There’s not much excitement in natural gas today, though it remains a viable alternative fuel. Electric trucks, on the other hand, are just beginning their climb to prominence. Interest in electric trucks peaked in November with the world’s first look at Tesla’s Electric Semi. Whether Tesla can carry the torch for battery-powered heavy trucks remains to be seen, but Elon Musk isn’t only player in the market.
Transpower’s electric Class 8 tractor uses a conventional drivetrain, but with a 400-horsepower electric motor. It has a range of up to 160 kilometers at full load.
I drove a fully electric plug-in Transpower USA Class 8 tractor back in 2015. That truck had been in field tests at the port of Long Beach, California, for two years prior to that. The company made headlines recently announcing a partnership with Meritor that will make its technology commercially available in the spring of this year.