Thanks to the good folk at the UK’s Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), Tachoblog can bring you a roundup of Commercial Vehicle news for this week…

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Smith’s 90th at CV Operator Show

Smith Electric Vehicles has taken a 400m2 stand, one of the largest in the Commercial Vehicle Operator Show, to celebrate 90 years of making low carbon commercial vehicles.  The stand number is 5740.  This year is the firm’s 90th anniversary and the third birthday of its Smith Edison electric van.  Based on the Ford Transit chassis and launched with Ford at the CV Show in 2007, the vehicle has done well, giving Smith plenty of sales to celebrate.  The firm will also show a ten tonne Newton, the world’s largest road-going electric truck, which is also proving a sales success.

More from Dan Jenkins on +44 (0)7 536 092 682 or

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SENTA site works well

The SMMT’s web-based whole vehicle approval advice service, SENTA, has attracted an encouraging level of interest within hours of its appearance on the Society’s website,  The initials stand for SMMT European and National Type Approval and the service will launch on the SMMT stand 5702 at the CV Operator Show in April.   “We published the service early so that bodybuilders and others customers can get a preview of what we’re offering.  We’re impressed by the number who’ve visited the site and registered their interest,” said Allan McKenzie, senior technical manager at SMMT.  “We expect a lot of demand for the service from across the industry and hope to see even more people at the Show.”  Once launched, the SENTA service will be free to SMMT members and cost non-members £900 a year.

More from Allan McKenzie on +44 (0)2 073 449 202 or

Webasto dealership for Sewell of Leeds

Automotive heating, air conditioning and ventilation system maker Webasto just appointed Sewell of Leeds Ltd as a product dealer for the van, truck, trailer, coach and bus market.  Founded in 1943, Sewell is a family firm that specialises in auto-electrical, fuel injection engineering and motor factoring work.  It operates from 22,000ft2 modern factory on a 1.75 acre site near the centre of Leeds.  The ISO:9002 registered firm distributes Lucas, Bosch, Delphi, Hella, VDO, Prestolite and Waeco products from a stock of over 85,000 items.

More from Steve Powell on +44 (0)1 302 322 232 or

Save fuel, save cost, save the planet

The SMMT’s half-day seminar on telematics is attracting a wide range of delegates, “keen to discuss the technology’s role in cutting fuel use, costs and CO2 emissions for van operators,” said Sharon Clancy, editor at M-Logistics, the UK’s leading magazine for telematics and vehicle tracking who will lead the seminar.  The event aims to start discussion and make people aware of the big savings in fuel use, emissions and cash that are available right now from the intelligent use of telematics.  Richard Turner, leader of the Commission for Integrated Transport’s van study group will give the keynote speech.  There will be contributions from systems suppliers Microlise and TomTom Work and from operators..  The seminar is on Wednesday 24 March at the SMMT’s London head office.  The cost is £50+VAT a head, but SMMT members go free.

More from Natasha James on +44 (0)2 073 441 621 or

RHA welcomes report on ‘high-risk’ foreign trucks

The Road Haulage Association says it welcomes the report from the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee which says that foreign trucks are more likely to cause truck accidents than those run by UK operators.  The RHA particularly liked the report’s comment that foreign trucks contribute little revenue and are a “particular challenge” for enforcement authorities.  “We have been campaigning for stronger enforcement for many years,” said Geoff Dunning, RHA chief executive.  “Until May 2009 foreign operators had a free ride; no penalties were imposed in practice unless someone was actually killed.”

More from Kate Gibbs on +44 (0)1 932 838 917 or

More tail lift parts on show

Parts4taillifts says its recent expansion means it now holds an even wider range of tail lift and shutter parts.  “Expanding our warehouse space by around 75% has been essential to help us cope with the increasing demand we’ve seen over the last 14 months,” said David Conman, managing director.  “Having this space also allows us to buy in even greater bulk and has significant commercial benefits, as you’ll see for yourself on our stand number 5601, just to the right of the main entrance to Hall 5 at the CV Operator Show.”

More from David Conman +44 (0)1 482 504 444 or

WashTec to shine at Show

Fleet washing firm WashTec will be at the CV Operator Show in April, on stand 5435.  It will show full-size pictures of its wide range of fleet washing kit and plans a VIP event on the stand.  Michael Harris, MD, says the firm will use the Show to promote its aftersales support as well as its advanced technology.  “We can deploy 70 field engineers, working 364 days a year to ensure that vehicle fleets always shine,” said Harris.  The firm also offers advice on relevant regulations and has many blue chip firms as customers.

More from Dawn Frazer on +44 (0)7 968 878 008 or

Approved minibus at CV Operator Show

Euromotive’s third vehicle approved under the UK’s Indvidual Vehicle Approval rules will be on Ebespacher’s stand, number 5530 at the CV Operators’ Show in April.  Based on a long wheelbase VW Crafter the vehicle can carry up to 15 seated passengers, or five in wheelchairs and one seated passenger.  It has a plug-door, climate control, rear view camera, air-assisted rear suspension, Rescroft Nevis seats and a Ratcliff tail lift.  With only 20 months before compulsory Type Approval for vehicles like this, Mike Jones, the firm’s production director says Euromotive is getting experience that will give it an even bigger commercial advantage.  “In this context, our SMMT membership has delivered valuable information and practical advice.”

More from Mike Jones on +44 (0)1 303 267 900 or

Light, safe roof-racks

Prime Design will use stand 5236 at the CV Operator Show in April to show its light and ergonomically designed aluminium roof rack range.  The Belgian firm says the patented, price-winning systems are “valued for their operating efficiency and low cost” as some of the most user-friendly products on the market.  “The ErgoRack saves time, money and ensures safe operation, because you can load or unload a ladder from the top of a van while standing on the ground beside the vehicle,” said Koen Bessemmans, managing director.  “This cuts the risk of injury by eliminating the need to climb on the vehicle with a heavy or awkward load..”

More form Natalie Kamers on +32 (0)16 22 60 99 or

Healthy Living choose Volvo

Blackburn with Darwen Healthy Living recently asked Volvo Bus to help in its search for a suitable bus to promote a new health scheme.  The firm has now bought a former school bus, a Volvo D10M Double Deck City Bus from a Scottish operator.  The bus has been refurbished with state-of-the-art gym equipment and a food preparation area.  Healthy Living will call it a Health Buzz and use it to promote healthier living.  Taking 16 visitors a session, with eight people in the kitchen and eight in the gym, the bus offers a safe and secure environment to learn about healthy lifestyles.

More from Don Johnston on +44 (0)1 926 414 553 or

Daimler wins Sardinian bus order

Daimler Buses says it has once again won the Sardinian bus contract.  The deal is for 239 buses, to be delivered by the end of July this year.  The orders were placed by four Sardinian transit authorities: CTM Cagliari, ATP Nuoro, ASPO Olbia and ATP Sassari.  The new buses will replace some 60% of the companies’ city bus fleets.  The order includes 217 Mercedes-Benz Citaro and Citaro K city buses as well as 22 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter City 65 minibuses.

More from Elizabeth Cole on +44 (0)2 476 626 082 or

Seven Transcan sees recovery

Seven Telematics, the UK based maker of Transcan Temperature recorders says that demand from refrigerated body builders for its products has “significantly increased” recently.  “The upturn in the market is really heartening news,” says Michael Kane, sales director.  “We are seeing greatly improving numbers coming through from all sectors of the refrigerated market; this is a very good sign for us all as we are representative of the whole temperature control industry.”  The firm plans a new product in its standard range of recorders this Spring, aimed at the van and small truck market.

More from Michael Kane on +44 (0)1 636 642 891 or

London 2010 coach parking map

Transport for London has just launched a new map to show coach parking at key places in London, including the massive Westfield shopping centre and Shaftesbury Avenue.  The map takes London’s cultural heritage as its theme and ties in with a key mayoral priority to improve access to London’s iconic sites and buildings for visitors to the city.  The new map features St Paul’s Cathedral on the cover to coincide with the 300th anniversary of its completion.

More from Vicky Morley on +44 (0)2 071 264 978 or

Stoneridge offers a tacho deal

Tachograph maker Stoneridge is so confident about its new SE5000 digital tachograph that it is offering £100 vouchers to fleets that fit one.  This means a firm can now upgrade a tachograph to an SE5000 and get £100 off the cost.  “They simply log onto and fill in the online form,” said Amanda Robertson, central sales and marketing manager.  She says the SE5000 offers “significant savings” in download times, as well as “having probably the best manual entries available”.  Many fleets now want to replace analogue tachographs to have a fully digital fleet.  “This offer now makes it even more affordable.”

More from Vicki Giacopazzi on +44 (0)1382 866 400 or

Access platform win award

The MAP3 mobile access platform from Abex has won the UK Fork Lift Truck Association’s 2010 Award for safety.  The unit was developed for high level work in the bus and coach sector.  Launched in October last year, the firm says there are already units working in many depots across the country.  “We designed the MAP3 as a much safer alternative to ladders and scaffolding,” said Martin Connop, MD.  “HSE figures show these are the most common pieces of equipment involved in injuries and fatalities.”  The electric powered platform carries up to three people and a typical bus or coach windscreen.

More from Martin Connop on +44 (0)8 003 582 623 or

Roller brake tester from Stoneridge

Stoneridge Electronic has launched a new dual functional 9600 Brake Tester.  This allows class V and VII brake testing and tachograph calibration facility in the same bay.  It is a Vosa approved system and comes complete with a full PC system preloaded with the Vosa MoT database.  It also has standard features including infra-red remote control for one man operation, heavy duty 15kw motors and a bi-directional capability.  After installation, customers get full on-site training and a customer support helpline.

More from Vicki Giacopazzi on +44 (0)1 382 866 400 or

Steeton Test Station closes

The Steeton Goods Vehicle Test Station in Yorkshire closed on 12 March as the government agency which runs the site tackles over-capacity within its estate.  The Vehicle and Operator Services Agency stopped taking bookings for the Steeton site on 26 February, but the site remained open for a further two weeks to cater for vehicle re-tests between 1 March and 12 March.  Three other test stations have been closed and 10 test lanes have been decommissioned across the country as part of the plan.  The Driving Standards Agency will expand driver-testing at the site.

More from Luke Bigwood on +44 (0)1 179 543 208 or

New truck and trailer battery from Thermo King

Thermo King announces the launch of the new EON battery designed for truck and trailer use.  With an expected five to eight year service life and backed by Thermo King’s four year warranty, the EON battery saves time and money of battery replacements.  The five-second cranking power of the EON is greater than that of equally sized conventional batteries, even at extremely low temperatures. Thermo King says the EON offers the characteristics of two separate batteries but in one box.

More from Annick Van Oosterwijck on + 32 (0) 274 61751 or

Berlingo-based Panino from Jiffy

Jiffy Trucks, the UK’s largest mobile catering vehicle maker has just launched its new Citroën Berlingo-based Panino model.  This will make its public debut at the Food & Drink Expo next week at the NEC.   Based on the Berlingo 1000, the Panino is set to become Jiffy Trucks’ best-selling model, taking over the number one position from its highly successful Berlingo First-based Fresco catering vehicle.  The financial and operational benefits of the Jiffy Panino are a product of the unique Berlingo platform cab, the only compact van of this configuration available in the UK.

More from Phil Reed on +44 (0)2 086 684 048 or

Transport minister supports quiet night-time deliveries

“Quiet out-of-hours deliveries can reduce congestion, cut pollution in local areas and save businesses time and money,” said Paul Clark MP, parliamentary under secretary of state for transport.  “With the adoption of best practice in quiet delivery technology and techniques, a balance can be found between protecting residents and relaxing curfews for a range of locations and store types.”  He was speaking at the Freight Transport Association’s recent Urban Logistics Conference.  January saw the launch of the Quiet Deliveries Demonstration Scheme an initiative backed by the Department for Transport the Noise Abatement Society and FTA.

More from Jo Tanner on +44 (0)1 892 552 255 or

New test fees

On 1 April the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency will introduce new fees for the statutory and voluntary testing of trucks, buses, coaches and trailers.  At the same time Vosa will abolish some operator licence fees and make refunds to some operators.  It says there will be no general fee increase in 2010 and 11 but it will hike fees for trucks, trailers, buses and coaches as part of its plan to move the funding of enforcement from operator licences to test fees.  “We are working hard to ensure our testing transformation programme provides the best possible service for operators,” said Alastair Peoples, Vosa chief executive.

More from Luke Bigwood on +44 (0)1 179 543 208 or

Navistar-Caterpillar to sell trucks in Australia

Transport Topics reports that Navistar International Corp. said its joint venture to build trucks with Caterpillar Inc. will begin selling vehicles in Australia by the middle of this year.  The joint-venture, under the name NC2 Global LLC, based in Lisle, Illinois, will give more details soon, according to Navistar.  It will set up a truck assembly plant in Tullamarine, Victoria, Australia, in an existing Caterpillar factory and has appointed Australian marketing, manufacture and finance staff.

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MAN Plaxton for Cotswold Green

Local bus operator, Cotswold Green in Gloucestershire, has put its first new MAN Plaxton Centro low floor bus to work.  This joins a 16-strong fleet, running throughout Gloucestershire and South Gloucestershire.  It is working on the firm’s Bath, Yate, Chipping-Sodbury service.  “This is our first new vehicle,” said MD, Robert Arkell, “and I knew we wanted to avoid all the hassles of using AdBlue.  With a fleet of our size especially, AdBlue would add significant cost and complication.”

More from Paul O’Malley on +44 (0)1 263 715 900 or

60,000 milestone for Transport News Brief

This issue of Transport News Brief goes to 60,071 subscribers, a record for the newsletter.  People who know about these things tell us that we should count on an average of three ‘pass on’ readers for each subscriber.  That suggests that we have some 180,000 readers each week.  We started what we then called CV News Brief ten years ago, with 250 subscribers.  The SMMT’s aim was for its commercial vehicle arm to offer a free news service to help the road transport industry.  Now with a much bigger circulation, the aim is the same.

More from Robin Dickeson, editor, on +44 (0)2 073 449 222 or

And finally

New Scientist’s Feedback page has another of its frequent reports from the department of the blindingly obvious.  Robert Rogers bought an “Elegance Touch-control illuminated beauty mirror” for the bathroom.  Among the 16 warning instructions was Number 15:  “Never use while sleeping.”  He wonders what he would see in the mirror if he did.

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