Grahame Neagus, Head of LCV, Renault Trucks UK: As our city streets get more congested, for the vehicles that keep UK plc moving there’s a constant drive to innovate.
Over the next ten years, road-based logistics is set to increase by almost 60 percent globally, fuelled by the Last Mile Logistics sector which is growing some 8 percent year-on-year in Europe. More vehicles on the road and increased regulation means the pressure is on vehicle manufacturers to deliver greater efficiencies with safer, less polluting, more productive vehicles. For logistics operators, the squeeze on margins means optimisation – of payload, loadspace, fuel costs, labour utilisation and delivery cycle times across the fleet. And this is where size can make the difference.
Moving more product in fewer vehicles offers real efficiencies – take some of the Scandinavian countries where drawbar rigs can run at 50+ tonnes; yes the fuel consumption is higher than at 44 tonnes, but the efficiency gains in reduced journeys and goods carried per load delivers reductions in emissions, congestion and operating costs. Moving up from 3.5 tonne vans into larger vehicles can offer similar advantages, taking both vans and drivers off the roads.
While the 7.5 tonner remains the UK’s most popular truck and is a stalwart in the logistics sector, it has experienced continual decline over 20 years following the changes in driving licence entitlements. Another challenge at this weight is that you get a lot of truck at the expense of payload and fuel consumption. So the move down from a traditional 7.5 tonne 4×2 HGV to a larger van type product can make good sense.
Taking a look at both sides of the argument, a product like the innovative new 6 tonne Renault Trucks Master 6×2 optimises both loadspace and roadspace. Its footprint is 37 percent less than two LWB panel vans, but with the same payload of over 3 tonnes (depending on body) – which also means it can take on a 7.5 tonner whilst delivering savings on fuel spend, typically up to 8mpg better*. Its low cab and cargo access can make a real difference when it comes to loading and unloading – over 45 minutes saved per day compared to a 7.5 tonne truck in a recent trial*; and when combined with its car-like drivability, the 6 tonne van can make tangible differences to logistics businesses operation in congested city streets.
As with all things in life, size matters – but sometimes you need to think outside the box to get the bigger picture.
*Savings achieved from actual performance comparisons in operation of a Renault Trucks Master 6×2 with 165ps engine and a 7.5-tonne Renault Trucks Midlum.