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It’s the final countdown

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It’s the final countdownWith Truck Test 2015 little more than a month away, the excitement is palpable. CLAIRE RENCKEN talks to some of the participants and suppliers about what lies ahead.

Hino has been involved with each of the Truck Test events to date. “We have learned many valuable lessons and gained lots of experience in the process. We are now even more positive about the event than we were in 2012, when it was held for the first time,” says Gert Agenbag, product planning and development manager at Hino South Africa.

Adrian van Tonder, a senior manager at Barloworld Transport, has also been involved with the event since its inception. He has the following to say: “Over the years we have never had any major hiccups, but we have learnt a lot about putting together a truck test that has credibility. Every time we start planning the next test, we immediately apply what we have learnt from the previous year, and we try to keep it as simple as possible.

The first Truck Test, in 2012, featured extra-heavy vehicles – which make a triumphant return this year.“This year we are going to be testing extra-heavy truck tractors and that’s always exciting. We have some great vehicles participating and we have managed to standardise all the trailing equipment for both categories this year. This will, therefore, be the first time that it will be a true performance test of the truck tractors.

“Extra-heavy commercial vehicles are the lifeline of road transport between all the major hubs in South Africa. Understanding the performance of these vehicles and the cost of ownership numbers are key factors in ensuring that the correct vehicles are selected for the correct applications.”

For others, this year’s event is a first. This is the case for Alcoa South Africa. MD, John Jewiss, says: “For Alcoa, this is a great platform to give fleets and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) a true, unbiased reflection of day-to-day measurable aspects that impact the transport industry.

“Alcoa wheels can save up to 255 kg on an extra-heavy truck (just over 23,5 kg per wheel compared to steel) so on a full rig of 26 wheels, you can, theoretically, increase your payload by 611 kg. Since the extra-heavy commercial vehicle segment is the only one we sell into in South Africa, this year’s event is of paramount importance to us.”

It’s the final countdownHino will be entering two vehicles in the test this year. Agenbag explains: “First, the Hino 700 Pro 229 2845 steel suspension with single sleeper cab will be combined with the three-axle trailer at a 49-t gross combination mass (GCM). Our goal is to achieve good fuel consumption with this combination.

“Second, the Hino 700 Pro 229 2848 air suspension with double sleeper cab will tow the interlink combination trailer at a 56-t GCM rating. With this combination, we hope to achieve a good productivity figure.”

Van Tonder concludes: “This year we have selected a very interesting and challenging route, so I cannot wait to see how the trucks perform. It’s also great to be part of the team spirit that comes to the fore between all the participants at Truck Test. For the rest of the year they are fierce competitors in the marketplace, but, at Truck Test, the guys work well together and have some fun while doing it.”

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