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Tesla Motors to expand into trucks and buses
The electric car company has confirmed plans to build commercial vehicles from 2017
Tesla Motors co-founder and CEO Elon Musk has confirmed the electric vehicle company is developing its own commercial vehicle prototypes.
As part of his second ‘Master Plan’, Musk has detailed his company’s plans to develop two other types of electric vehicles alongside the current consumer vehicle focus.
"In addition to consumer vehicles, there are two other types of electric vehicle needed: heavy-duty trucks and high passenger-density urban transport," Musk says.
"Both are in the early stages of development at Tesla and should be ready for unveiling next year."
Labelling the new electric truck range as ‘Tesla Semi’, Musk says they "will deliver a substantial reduction in the cost of cargo transport, while increasing safety and making it really fun to operate."
The move into electric trucks has grown momentum in recent months, with the current trials of hybrid regenerative technology by Adgero and the potential launch of the Nikola One later this year – the latter of which has already seen a large takeup by the American transport market.
Musk’s vision for the bus prototype, thanks to advancing autonomy, would see the removal of the driver and much of current vehicle designs.
"With the advent of autonomy, it will probably make sense to shrink the size of buses and transition the role of bus driver to that of fleet manager," he says.
"Traffic congestion would improve due to increased passenger areal density by eliminating the centre aisle and putting seats where there are currently entryways, and matching acceleration and braking to other vehicles, thus avoiding the inertial impedance to smooth traffic flow of traditional heavy buses."
The entrepreneur’s vision would also see a large infrastructure change in the way people use public transport.
"It would also take people all the way to their destination," he says. "Fixed summon buttons at existing bus stops would serve those who don't have a phone."
He says the vehicle’s design also "accommodates wheelchairs, strollers and bikes."
In terms of smaller commercial vehicles, Musk says the company has plans for "a new kind of pickup truck", but provides no more details.
The forward looking announcement from Musk is the second of its kind, and both adds to and retrospectively looks at his first master plan document released 10 years ago.
Biggest Scania Built for Australia
A new R 730 V8 8×8 converted to 10×8 by adding a lazy axle is the biggest Scania built for Australia. The new truck is working for Qube Bulk on its PBS Quad Road Train fleet in Western Australia’s North, in Port Hedland. The Quad sets being used are the largest on-road vehicles in Australia
The new Scania is intended to run at masses up to 220-tonnes when further developments in the PBS combinations are made.
“We selected the Scania R 730 and 10×8 configuration to assist us achieve improved tractability and performance for PBS Quad road trains in the Pilbara,” said Todd Emmert, Director of Qube Bulk. “We have designed this truck to give us the flexibility to take advantage of payload improvements under PBS now and into the future. As it stands now, a standard Quad Road Train can pull 175-tonnes, or 200-tonnes under PBS.
“We anticipate that in the near future we should be able to raise this to 220-tonnes, once permission is granted by the relevant authority. The most important factor leading to the purchase of this vehicle was safety on the road. We have safety as a number one priority. Safety drives performance and quality outcomes.”
The quads haul bulk iron ore out of mine sites to the bulk terminal at Port Hedland. A one way trip from the mine can be as far as 450 km, so the Scanias can be expected to clock up close to 1 million km over the first 3 years of their working life on the job.
“This new prime mover will improve our productivity and efficiency and this will allow us to provide a better service to our customers, some of whom are junior miners in the iron ore export market,” said Emmert. “Boosting efficiency is critical for our clients, while for us safety is our priority.
“One of the benefits of the higher payload is ultimately a reduction in the number of truck movements on a given piece of road. Reduced interactions between cars and trucks, and having trucks with higher levels of safety will all combine to make these roads safer for all road users.
“We have gathered a degree of experience working with Scania on our other WA operations, pulling quad trailer combinations, so we know what to expect.”
The 10×8 vehicle is the prototype for future iron ore PBS Quad haulage Scania hope to deploy more widely in this market. The truck’s specification includes 4700 mm axle and 1450 mm bogie distances.
The engine meets Euro 5 with EEV enhanced environmentally friendly vehicle specification, and can run on biodiesel. The Scania fully automated Opticruise gear change system comes with Standard, Power and Off-road modes as well as Ecocruise.
The hub-reduction bogie-drive axles deliver traction, running a 4.27:1 ratio. The fifth axle is a tag unit fitted at the very rear. Braking is by drums all round using traction control, ABS/EBS, while suspension is all steel multi-leaf. The fifth wheel is a heavy-duty Jost DR38C-1 rated to 260 kN.
Opinion: Politics giveth and politics taketh away
The RSRT is gone for the next three years but, for those not intimately affected, it was always one swatch of a bigger picture
The Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT) has been the transport and logistics story of the decade.
And it’s been a little unhealthy in an observational sense because these developments have all but sucked the life out of others of similar importance.
Moves are afoot to give official recognition and, therefore, legal weight, to codes of practice formulated by industry representative groups, as well as to adjust the executive responsibility regime.
These are generally supported by the broad industry.
Known commonly by the sobriquet ‘lobby groups’, industry groups are regarded by some more broadly as leaches on the body politic.
In a society where blindness to the transport industry it stares at every day through the windscreen is a given, it is easy for its enemies to paint the ‘road lobby’ as all-powerful.
This fallacy, ironically bolstered by its RSRT win, is difficult to shift while the indispensable service industry provides government is too often ignored.
Ignorant commentary and base accusations will doubtless arise should populists, in the media and elsewhere, wish to tar and feather a transport executive, blameless or otherwise, if something goes wrong under any new responsibility regime.
For the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) is being amended with regards to executive officer liability and the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) will run the rule over industry systems such as the Australian Trucking Association’s (ATA’s) TruckSafe program.
Such initiatives can act as plates of armour for transport executives but, like armour, they don’t just put themselves on.
And it’s important to know from which direction the slings and arrows are coming so they can be fitted properly but, then, it’s always better to avoid needing them if at all possible.
Speaking of direction, where the RSRT went had a certain inevitability to it.
It just took so long to happen that many wondered if the government had the gumption to make it happen.
After all, the Jaguar Report, which by itself suited the government’s agenda enough to be all it needed to prosecute the case for abolition, had been sat on for two years.
We might be generous and say that waiting for the mandated review by PricewaterhouseCoopers, which has reasonable weight as PwC wrote the regulatory impact statement, was just the sort of probity we would hope our politicians would always engage in.
With an election campaign in the offing, the execution ended up being very swift indeed.
Labor and the Transport Workers’ Union (TWU) have each suffered a nasty black eye.
It may well be a speed-bump for Labor but it will also count as a setback, albeit minor, for Bill Shorten, given the RSRT was his baby.
For the TWU, it and the election are disasters, though by no means an existential ones, and the campaign for its return will continue.
The RSRT poisons further the water with a huge proportion of owner-drivers, perhaps for decades to come. And, despite a sometimes bilious campaign to woo public support, it failed to gain wider traction.
Crossbenchers old and new will be wary of easily supporting any TWU-backed initiatives in future and Labor hard-heads will have reason to be a bit more so when examining the opportunity costs.
Meanwhile, when eyes are lowered in scouring all that RSRT detail, it can be easy to lose the wider perspective.
Linfox and Toll, who have always been alive to the ‘realpolitik’ of industrial relations, have lost some reputational skin in this game.
The transport segment of the so called ‘big end of town’ will be glad their mega-customers, along with the banks, are severely on the nose, with the bigger headlines that entails.
Where some on the far Right see friends being made of an ‘enemy’s enemy’ purely in transport competition terms, that view fails to appreciate the need for options when there is are hefty power imbalance in a markets ruled by duopolies or something close to them.
An east African tribe has a saying: "When elephants fight, the grass suffers."
Time out has been called on the RSRT trampling, but only on one side and the fight isn’t over.
Will Turbo be taken off TV?
Memes about Turbo are flowing on Social media.
PEOPLE want Turbo taken off TV, but will Prospero Productions the makers of Outback Truckers listen?
Peter Teatoff or Turbo, as he is known, has been on reality TV show Outback Truckers for two seasons and last night was outed on A Current Affair for owing money, ripping off a truck and being jailed for fraud.
Prospero Productions often made Turbo's money troubles into story lines for the show.
In the wake of the news the memes have started flowing on social media and so have the comments about how he shouldn't be representing the transport industry.
On the Prospero Facebook page posts about Turbo have been taken down including links to the ACA expose.
"What don't like the truth prospero productions, deleted my post about your so called star turbo. You're as bad as he is," said Geoffrey Price.
He also comment that "Turbo is a fraud and thief" and "boycott this show everyone".
Cher Gordon said "He might make good ratings but Turbo has always been an embarrassment to the Australian trucking industry. He especially is now!"
Meanwhile on the Big Rigs facebook page Eugene Cassar said "Exactly what this industry needs is someone like that to represent the decent operators out there".
"Shame on channel 7 for giving this goose air time. What a clown"
Ben Farr said "Good, hope that's the last we ever see of him".
"There's plenty of better operators out there then him who prospero could of put on the show. There's been a few others on there as well that haven't done our image of truck drivers any favours."
And Ingo Oliver Zacharias said "He always depicted that sort of Trucker that I don't want to represent my profession. I don't want the public to believe we are all like Turbo".
Big Rigs has tried to get into contact with Prospero, who in the past has been happy for us to promote the show, to find out if Turbo will be taken off air for good, however so far we've been unsuccessful in getting a response.
New support for Tarcutta Truck Museum
The completion of a five-bay shed at the NSW town of Tarcutta and the forming of a new committee is evidence the Tarcutta Transport & Farming Museum is no longer just a pipe dream.
Bunny Brown has built the first shed at the Tarcutta Transport & Farming Museum and has formed a committee to help him complete the project.
Doug and Pam McMillan, Denis Robertson and George Goold recently agreed to form a committee with Bunny to advance the project. Bunny and his wife Diana spent $50,000 of their own money to construct the five-bay shed at Tarcutta, New South Wales.
Several historic trucks were already assembled at the site recently when Owner//Driver visited Tarcutta which is a popular change-over destination on the Hume Highway.
Bunny was a member of the Australian Road Transport Heritage Centre (ARTHC) committee which was formed in 2008 to build a truck museum at Tarcutta. But he parted with the group when ARTHC decided to relocate the project to Gundagai, NSW.
He has persisted with the Tarcutta proposal and convinced Wagga Wagga City Council to lease land to the Australian Long Distance Owner and Driver Association (ALDODA). Bunny, who lives nearby at Adelong, is National President of ALDODA.
The new committee members have a wealth of experience. Doug is Chair of the Australian Truck Drivers’ Memorial which is located in Tarcutta. Pam is Chair of Transport Women Australia. Denis is a Past Chair of the Australian Trucking Association. George was among hundreds of truck drivers stranded at Tarcutta in 1956 during the famous Tarcutta bog.
"I wouldn’t get a better committee," Bunny says. "It’ll go ahead real big now, with these people on board."
Bunny says the first stage of the museum will possibly open later this year. Anyone wishing to assist the committee, especially by donating funds or exhibits, is invited to phone Bunny on 0438 072 494 or Doug on 0407 835 115.
ComVec: Early autonomous opportunities
According to the TIC, there are short- to mid-term opportunities for autonomous transport in Australia
The Australian transport industry is ready to take advantage of two short- and mid-term autonomous technology advances, according to Truck Industry Council (TIC) chief technical officer Mark Hammond and, depending on regulations, possibly a third.
Presenting as part of the Heavy Vehicle Industry Australia’s ComVec 2016 event, Hammond says while the technology – platooning especially – appears to have little short-term benefits for on-highway use until Australia’s unique challenges are overcome, it does offer the chance to implement ‘green corridors’ and take advantage of off-highway, low-speed autonomous functionality.
Green corridors, currently being trialled in New South Wales and seen in parts of Northern Australia, would see heavy vehicles communicate with traffic lights and receive favourable treatment when it comes to traffic light phasing.
Hammond says the changes would see a reduction in fuel use, time wasted at red lights, and also in CO2 emissions expelled during acceleration.
"A heavy, fully-loaded truck takes a lot of stopping and a lot of starting," he adds.
"If a fully-loaded truck can communicate with the traffic lights and can extend the green phase to keep those trucks moving, then that’s a good thing for the freight companies."
It would also be a win for other road users because it would tackle congestion.
"A lot of computer modeling shows congestion, in the likes of Sydney or Melbourne, would be cut by 20-25 per cent," Hammond says.
"It’s fairly significant.
"I think short- to medium-term this technology could be a real winner."
Low-speed autonomous technology
The second positive that could be realised by the industry in the coming years is the off-highway use of driverless technology.
In a move away from highway and into the depot, the technology could see drivers no longer needed on-site for loading and unloading of the vehicle, rather they would enter and exit the truck at the front gate and the truck would organise itself.
In such a circumstance the truck’s autonomy would only extend across the depot or port, but it would mean the driver is able to begin their break as soon as they reach the destination.
The move could see a reduction in the limited fatigue management hours per day used at each end of the trip or remove any unpaid work for the driver.
Suggesting the move would offer productivity and safety improvements, Hammond says there are "some real applications for the system in Australia".
Hands and Eye Off Operation
The TIC believes the short- or mid-term benefits of a third technology, selective on-highway driver ‘hands and eyes off’ truck operation, will depend on how the regulators react.
The technology, such as Daimler’s Highway Pilot and shown in Freightliner’s Autonomous Vehicle, allows drivers to leave control of the vehicle to the vehicle during highway driving and complete other work or rest in the cab.
Already being testing in America and Europe, Hammond says the technology’s productivity and financial advantages sit with the possibility of altering fatigue management laws and extending driving hours.
"It’s all well and good for the driver to be able to rest while he’s driving along … but what’s the real advantage?" he asks.
"The driver still has to be in the truck and you still have to pay the driver."
However, should the regulations be altered to extend a driver's allowed hours behind the wheel, it may be worthwhile.
"The only advantage will be if the driver’s rest time – when he’s not actually concentrating on driving the truck – ... can be accrued and … his driving hours can be extended," Hammond says.
"And that’s going to largely be up to the regulator.
"They are going to have to get their head around things like: what is a restful activity when the driver is not hands and eyes on the road?
"For every hour of autonomous driving, will they give the driver an extension of one hour?
"It’s not going to be as good as a normal rest break, the driver’s probably not going to be in the sleeper cab asleep.
To answer these questions, trials are necessary.
"There’s going to have to be a lot of studies to work out how fatigue management can be modified and what gains there might be," Hammond says.
"While I can see this is potentially a short- to medium-term application in Australia, I don’t know whether its got a lot of specific gains for operators or for drivers at this stage."
Truck makers fined A$4.3 billion
EU fines truck makers A$4.3 billion for colluding on truck prices, and the timing and cost of emissions technology
MAN, Volvo/Renault, Daimler, Iveco, and DAF have all been found guilty by the European Commission of breaking EU antitrust rules and colluding over a 14-year period to fix truck pricing and passing on the costs of delayed emissions technology.
The result is a €2.93 billion (A$4.3 billion) fine spread across the companies, excluding MAN who avoided a fine of around €1.2 billion (A$1.76 billion) by being the whistle-blower.
The biggest fine was for Daimler, which copped a number just over €1 billion (A$1.5 billion) for its involvement, followed by DAF with a €753 million (A$1.1 billion) fine.
Volvo/Renault was charged €670 million (A$984 million) and Iveco was handed the smallest fine at €494 million (A$725 million).
All parties received a 10 per cent discount for acknowledging their involvement and settling the case.
All parties except Scania, which continue to be part of an investigation.
According to commissioner for competition Margrethe Vestager, the imposed fines were for a "serious infringement."
"It is not acceptable that MAN, Volvo/Renault, Daimler, Iveco and DAF, which together account for around 9 out of every 10 medium and heavy trucks produced in Europe, were part of a cartel instead of competing with each other," she says.
"For 14 years they colluded on the pricing and on passing on the costs for meeting environmental standards to customers.
"This is also a clear message to companies that cartels are not accepted."
The commission found that the truck makers, from 1997 till 2011, coordinated prices at ‘gross list’ level, meaning the factory cost of vehicles were set; they coordinated the timing of emission technology introduction, covering Euro 3 to Euro 6; and also passed on the cost of the technology onto the consumer.
Details organised at trade events and through online communication, the findings say.
"Between 1997 and 2004, meetings were held at senior manager level, sometimes at the margins of trade fairs or other events," the commission says. "This was complemented by phone conversations."
"From 2004 onwards, the cartel was organised via the truck producers' German subsidiaries, with participants generally exchanging information electronically."
The commission says the truck makers made no effort to avoid or manipulate compliance with the new emission standards nor did it find any links between this cartel and any efforts to circumvent the anti-pollution system fitted to certain vehicles.
Reunion for Phillips Transport employees
Former staff of Shepparton’s Phillips Transport will converge on the rural Victorian city on October 29 for a long-awaited reunion.
Around 400 people are expected to attend the Phillips Transport Employees Reunion at Shepparton on October 29.
Organised by former Phillips driver Len ‘Dodger’ Welsh, the reunion will take place at the Peppermill Inn in the Shepparton suburb of Kialla.
The origins of Phillips Transport go back to late 1935 at Bunbartha, just north of Shepparton where Edward ‘Ted’ Phillips began hauling fresh produce with one truck. Shortly after World War 2, the business grew with the acquisition of eight KS5 Internationals.
Ted’s sons Ian and Gary both became involved in the company, and the business expanded interstate with depots in Sydney and Brisbane, as well as Melbourne.
Dodger began work as a driver in the 1960s, driving Leyland Comets and later 1418 Mercedes-Benz trucks. Phillips Transport went on to own more than 100 Kenworth trucks and 165 trailers and employing around 200 people.
"They were the greatest family transport company to ever work for," Dodger says.
However, he says it was difficult for newcomers to get a job at Phillips, as staff turnover was low.
"You would have to wait until someone left, or worse died, before you could get in."
Ted Phillips passed away in April 1994, and Phillips Transport was eventually sold to Patrick in 2003.
Dodger says the Phillips Transport Employees Reunion will be restricted to former Phillips employees, including mechanics and drivers, and their families.
Why Driver Comfort Is An Important Factor In Improving Safety
Safety is one of the major considerations in the purchase of a new vehicle, and features that add to the safety of your vehicle make driving easier and more comfortable. Driver comfort impacts the driver’s productivity and long-term health, but it goes much further than how nice the seats are. Hino understands the importance of these two areas and considers the following key design principles when developing its trucks.
The Isringhausen (ISRI®) driver’s seat is the first thing you’ll notice when getting into the cabin of a medium-duty Hino 500 series or heavy-duty 700 series model. These industry-leading seats feature a high back, multi-adjustable air suspension and dual stage air lumbar support system for the ultimate in driver comfort and safety, while saving the driver from lower back pain in the future. The most noticeable feature of this seat is the fully integrated seat belt system, which allows the seat belt to move up and down in parallel with the seat suspension. Providing a consistent and comfortable seat belt tension even in the roughest terrain, it completely eliminates the common problem of the belt chafing on the driver’s shoulder.
The passenger seat also has a high back, reclining seat with adjustable air suspension fitted as standard on the Wide Cab 500 Series models, and as a dealer fit option on Narrow and Crew Cab models. And of course, all Hino trucks include a driver’s-side SRS airbag to provide protection to the head and chest by absorbing energy in the unfortunate event of a collision.
Now that you’re buckled in and comfortable, you will need to make sure all your controls are easily accessible and suited to your driving position. The tilt and telescopic steering column is fully adjustable, offering multiple driving positions for greater driver comfort.
Comfort can extend to things you may not even notice. The modern additions of automatic or automated (two-pedal) transmission reduces maintenance and saves fuel while allowing drivers to keep both hands on the wheel. The smoother transmission reduces fatigue by making the truck less physically demanding to drive.
Quality audio systems and Bluetooth connectivity add safety and enjoyment. The multimedia unit includes a 6.1-inch high definition touch screen, DAB+ digital radio, AM and FM radio, plus CD, DVD, USB and SD functionality giving access to digital photographs, video and audio files. Hands-free phone connectivity through the Bluetooth enables the driver to stay focused on the road with the use of voice dialling. The multimedia system can also be optioned with a ‘truck specific’ navigation system developed specially for the Australian truck industry. It allows the driver to plan routes specific to their application (encompassing axles, weight, dimensions and even the cargo carried), to alerting the driver of required rest times.
There are also exterior features that have been designed to offer safety and comfort for you or your driver. The cab is constructed of high strength steel and meets the ECE R29 crash test regulations. Accessibility into the cab has also been considered with a generous sized door opening offering ease of entry and exit. Three-point contact steps and handles also provide safe entry and exit. Crew and Wide Cab Models have an electro/hydraulic forward tilting cab for greater engine access and ease of repair, lower maintenance times and higher safety. A warning light and buzzer notifies the driver if the cab is not fully secured and locked in place.
Visibility is important for any driver and our trucks are built with large, flat, heated and electronically adjustable mirrors with a separate adjustable heated convex spotter mirror, while the additional kerb observation mirror gives the driver a comprehensive view of whatever is behind, below and to the side of the cabin. Additional visibility features include the large, aerodynamically designed windscreen, halogen headlamps and integrated fog lamps. If that is not enough visibility, you also have the option to install up to three cameras to provide a 360-degree view around the truck.
One of the most important safety features is the anti-lock braking system (ABS). The ABS brakes are designed to coordinate brake pressure to each wheel, preventing lock up and skidding and allowing the driver to keep control of the vehicle in braking situations and reduce the likelihood of an accident.
Make sure these features are among the first things you check when purchasing a new vehicle. Comfort simply for the sake of comfort is just not good enough. Hino Australia’s wide range of trucks are built with safety in mind, and comfort as a bonus.
Cummins announces X15 and X12 engines
New heavy-duty engines will hit the US in the coming years
Engine manufacturer Cummins Inc has launched two new models for the US market this week, unveiling the heavy-duty X15 and X12 engines.
Both the X15, which is effectively a rebranded and upgraded version of the current 15-litre ISXe5 engine used in Australia, and the X12, which is the new name for the ISG12 12-litre engine that has been trialled in Australia for some time, are currently scheduled to hit the US market in 2017 and 2018, respectively.
Cummins says the next-generation X15 engine boasts emissions, fuel efficiency and consumption, service interval, and performance gains and will ship in two configurations – the X15 Performance Series and the X15 Efficiency Series.
The Performance Series, rated at 485hp to 605hp, is aimed at heavy-haul, vocational, and emergency vehicles.
Cummins says it provides faster pedal response thanks to an upgraded high flow air-handling system, it has a peak torque of up to 2050 lb-ft "across a very wide engine rpm range", and has "over 450hp engine braking at just 1,500rpm and up to 600hp at 2,100rpm."
The Efficiency Series (right), rated at 400hp to 500hp, is aimed at line-haul and regional-haul applications.
As the name suggests, Cummins says it provides "an unmatched level of fuel efficiency and payload productivity … with up to 1,850 lb-ft of peak torque available at 1,000rpm."
The economic-focused range also features DEPT, SmartCoast, and Predictive Cruise Control (PCC) functions, which Cummins says, offer a 3 per cent fuel economy improvement.
Across both models is a redesigned cam profile, a greater focus on over-the-air connectivity and data retrieval, and oil-drain intervals extended out to 50,000 miles (80,500km) or, in some cases, 80,000 miles (128,700km).
The X15 range also takes advantage of the company’s new Single Module aftertreatment, which is 40 per cent lighter and up to 60 per cent smaller than current aftertreatment designs.
Cummins executive director of on-highway business Brett Merritt says the company is "unleashing unprecedented levels of dependable performance and fuel efficiency delivered by two segment-optimised engines that realise the full potential of our 15-litre platform."
"Over the past few years we have been delivering 2 per cent better fuel economy per year, and the new X15 Efficiency Series will deliver that and more," he says.
Both models will undergo a 9 million mile (14.5 million km) test before production begins in January 2017.
The smaller of the two new engine ranges is the X12 Series (right), a 12-litre engine targeted at regional-haul, intracity delivery, and vocational trucks.
Rated up to 475hp and providing up to 1,700 lb-ft peak torque at 1,000rpm, Cummins says the X12 has "the highest power-to-weight ratio of any engine in the 10-to-16-litre class".
Weighing 930kg, the new engine has a sculptured block design and features high-strength composite materials for the oil pan and valve cover.
"During the design process for the X12, we evaluated every opportunity to reduce size and lower weight, but importantly, we achieved this with no compromise to structural strength, so that our next-generation 12-litre comes with all the durability associated with a Cummins Heavy-Duty engine," Cummins vice president of engineering Jim Fier says.
It’s "an ideal fit for shorter-nose conventional cabs," he says, and the "very low weight makes the engine a great power solution for sleeper trucks sensitive to front axle weight."
For specific restricted applications, Cummins says a higher 500hp rating will also be available.
Like the X15, the X12 Series will utilise over-the-air connectivity, the new aftertreatment design, and incorporate Cummins ADEPT, SmartCoast, and PCC technology.
The X12 will be available in 2018 after its own test period.
Takeovers Panel says McAleese move a 'legitimate' deal
The Takeovers Panel has published its reasons for refusing to conduct proceedings in the McAleese recapitalisation deal.
The decision had come in response to an application by existing shareholder Gilberto Maggiolo’s Havenfresh, which applied to the federal review body to order a general meeting vote before the proposed rescue deal was finalised.
Havenfresh had claimed that the proposed deal favoured McAleese MD Mark Rowsthorn, while the timing exerted "unacceptable" pressure on existing shareholders to approve the deal.
The Panel notes under Chapter 6 of the Corporations Act 2001 "shareholders have few, if any, rights when there is no equity left and control of the company has passed to creditors.
"Looking at the senior debt acquisition, we do not think there is evidence of unacceptable coercion."
The Panel adds that "based on the information presented, it appears that the senior debt acquisition is part of a legitimate commercial transaction".
Havenfresh had earlier called for the senior debt deal to be delayed until after the shareholders’ meeting and dismissal of Rowsthorn and chairman Don Telford, to be replaced by two new directors.
However, the Panel rejected the application on the grounds that it was "premature" to conduct the proceedings.
"The notice of meeting and independent expert report setting out details of the options issue have not yet been released," it states.
"In our view it is premature to assess whether the options issue may give rise to any unacceptable control effect.
"In this respect we note that the parties have clearly considered the prospect that they may not get the options or notes.
"Lastly, we note that shareholders currently have (limited) choices – they can decide that they will subscribe for notes and wait to see if they get value in the future (in which case they can convert into shares) or they can sell their existing shares on ASX now.
While the Panel states the proposed delisting of the company is a noteworthy aspect, it did "not need to consider this further at this time".
Valor announces Australian projects manager
Joe Ray has joined Valor as Australian projects and programs manager, to further develop their growing portfolio of regional and national accounts within Australia, New Zealand and New Caledonia.
Joe Ray brings a wealth of knowledge and experience within the heavy machinery, earthmover and trucking industry after having spent the last 15 years at Michelin Australia and Tyres4U – where Joe was instrumental in acquiring numerous large corporate accounts in the OTR mining, commercial trucking, bus and agricultural field.
Valor director of Global OTR and Mining Technologies, Birnie Campeau, said, “Joe’s wealth of experience and industry knowledge makes him a key addition to the VALOR team. We view his appointment as a sign of our commitment to being the leading company in our industry. Our new innovations and the increasing demand for our products have led us to look for local representation in the Australian market.”
Valor is a research and design institute as well as a manufacturer of advanced Tyre Pressure Monitoring Systems. Its TPMS is designed and manufactured with the latest technology. Its product cover a wide range of applications from passenger vehicle, RV, bus, and commercial truck to OTR mining
Australian singer-songwriter Jayne Denham: ‘Addicted to the Diesel’
Singer-songwriter Jayne Denham has made quite an impression on the Australian public over the last decade. Her brand of rocking country will no doubt be familiar-sounding to U.S. ears, but what’s truly exceptional is just how high-profile her work has become down under, given much of its subject matter has to do directly with the stories of truckers and the trucking industry there.
Denham will be performing at the Red Eye Radio booth at the Great American Trucking Show Friday, Aug. 26, in what will be her U.S. debut. If you’re going to be at the show, don’t miss it. I’d be willing to wager it’ll be one heck of a performance.
While she’s been to the United States before to collaborate with a variety of songwriters, this will be her first official show, for a community she hopes will welcome her as one of its own. “I’m really looking forward to it,” she says. “In Australia, I’ve sung at every trucking event there is here. I’ve gotten to understand the industry here.”
With any luck, she says, she’ll be able to do the same in the United States.
While Denham’s never worked as a driver, when she was a girl her family’s business included ownership of several on-highway trucks. As the song in the video above goes, Denham “grew up around trucks.”
When her first record was being put together a decade ago, she says, she found some of her best material “writing songs about other people,” she says. “Growing up, I was always out in trucks and going on the road with my family. I heard about this girl that drove a truck” who cut quite a figure among other, mostly male drivers.
“She looked a bit like Sandra Bullock,” Denham says. “I wrote this song called ‘Cousin Jude.'”
She found Australians responded strongly to the story of the “girl that drives a truck,” she says. “There were some other guys here writing about the trucking industry, and I just kept doing it.”
It took off, Denham garnering sponsor-partners in, first, Wickham Freight Lines. “The next minute I’m on the side of one of their trailers. Next minute, with a new record, they offered to put the artwork from the album on another trailer.”
Things proceeded from there to the somewhat recent release of the follow-up to her well-received “Renegade” disc. On the tour supporting “Renegade II,” a big attraction at shows was the Western Star pictured here, one of the “most awarded show trucks in Australia,” she says. Owned by the Scuzz Trans fleet, which started with just a single truck years ago, its theme is the history of Ned Kelly — if you’re not consummate with your Australian history (I’m not either, but the Internet is a fine help), think of Ned Kelly as the Australian Billy the Kid, the fabled late 19th-century upright outlaw. (Find further pictures of it on the Scuzz Trans site.)
“The fans love it,” Denham says. “When we do a show we’ll have a competition” of a variety of types. “At the end of the show, fans can win a ride in the Ned Kelly truck.”
Unfortunately, it won’t be able to make the flight to Dallas for GATS, but be sure to catch Denham’s show Friday. It could be the start of more work in the U.S. for the singer.
“The last trip when I came over,” earlier this year, “to write songs and see what the industry is like, it certainly far outweighed my expectations,” she says. “I need to look at doing more. I definitely want to come back and do my next record [in the U.S.]. Our plan is to release a song and put the wheels in motion … within the next 12 months.”
T&L is Australia’s second most dangerous industry
New data suggests transport and warehousing industries are among Australia’s most risky for workers
The team at Finder.com.au has meshed Safe Work Australia’s Australian Workers’ Compensation statistics with the Work-Related Traumatic Injury Fatalities report stats to create a ‘risk score’ for each industry, by examining the number of serious injury claims and the number of fatalities as a percentage of the total working population.
The transport, warehousing and postal industries were tied second on the danger list.
This segment’s position is notable as it contains just 9.44 per cent of the employees covered by the data, yet accounts for 24 per cent of workplace fatalities.
The data also showed that within the industry, two-thirds of the fatalities involved the use of a vehicle.
Sitting above the logistics sector and taking the crown as Australia’s most dangerous segment, according to the numbers, is agriculture, forestry and fishing with a risk score of 30.65.
It is worth noting that across the entire data set, 47 per cent of all workplace fatalities came from these two segments.
The findings also show that those under 25 are over four times as likely to die in the workplace as those aged over 55.
The construction industry came in third place, the manufacturing sector came in fourth and the mining industry was fifth on the list.
Although it sounds like all bad news, the findings also showed that over the last seven years the fatality rate has decreased 47 per cent.
The last year recorded in the data, 2014, had the lowest number of fatalities of any year recorded.
ComVec: National truck safety survey launched
NHVR details the first national survey of heavy vehicle roadworthiness at ComVec
About 9,000 heavy vehicles will be randomly inspected in August and September for the first national survey to check the mechanical state of the nation’s fleet.
From August 1, trucks will be pulled into inspection sites and buses will be checked in depots.
Vehicles will be visually inspected by 50 specially-trained state compliance officers – most of them mechanics by trade – in nine teams, working in both metro and regional areas.
Vehicles will be put over brake roller testers, but not suspension shakers. Inspections are expected to take 20-45 minutes.
The NHVR says the survey will help the regulator to understand the health and roadworthiness of the more than half a million heavy vehicles in Australia.
Currently, the states and territories each have different inspection and data regimes, which means the condition of heavy vehicles nationally is unclear.
The NHVR says this is a "fundamental roadblock" to achieving national consistency.
The survey inspections in August and September will test against criteria in the new, consistent National Heavy Vehicle Inspection Manual which came into effect on July 1 (except in WA and the NT).
"Each vehicle will have a comprehensive visual inspection and depending on the condition of the vehicle some may take on average 45 minutes," NHVR CEO Sal Petroccitto says.
"We are encouraging operators to be aware of the survey when scheduling to allow appropriate time for inspections.
"We understand the importance of the supply chain and where possible will ensure minimal disruption occurs."
The NHVR says there will be no queuing at inspection sites.
"Theres been a little bit of noise from some sectors of the associations saying we’re going to be holding up the supply chain," Petroccitto adds.
"I think that’s just rubbish.
"I think this is a really important initiative and if the supply chain can’t find 20 to 30 minutes to actually get an understanding of the condition of the fleet, then we’ve all really got to go back and look at what we’re doing as an industry.
"Wherever possible we will endeavor to ensure that we don’t delay tasks, but I suppose I’m concerned if you have operators that are tracking right down to the minute, are they really scheduling properly in terms of issues that might be occurring on the road, because there’s roadworks and other stuff like that."
ComVec is organised by Heavy Vehicle Industry Australia, which represents manufacturers, distributors and suppliers of heavy vehicles and their equipment and technology. HVIA was formed last year from Queensland’s CVIAQ.