UK first for Rory J.Holbrook with new DAF FAWs

HOlbrook

Aggregate supply specialist Rory J.Holbrook has taken delivery of two DAF CF 410 FAWs, rendering it the first operator in the UK to adopt the manufacturer’s latest 8x4 rear-steer tridem chassis. 

The firm has four more units on order and all six are kitted out with rear-steer capability, sleeper cabs, air-suspension, lightweight highway chassis and Fruehauf’s Aggri-Roll Mk III non-tipping V body, which dispenses aggregate via a conveyor floor to distribute loads directly to the road surfacing machine.

The trucks are being supplied by Ford & Slater of Norwich and the inaugural pair has been deployed for the operator’s contract with road construction company, Kier Highways.

DAF claims the fixed V-shaped body is safter than traditional tippers when the vehicle is close to power lines, trees and other overhead road furniture, while the 16 cubic-metre hopper can allegedly pump out almost 20-tonnes of aggregate in less than two minutes.

The FAW is the latest of the manufacturer’s multi-axle models, has a 10-tonne front axle and is said to mix four-axle payload potential with 6x4 manoeuvrability.

“After my contact at Kier saw a conveyor floor on one of our trailers, he asked if the methodology would transfer onto an eight-wheel rigid,” said managing director, Rory Holbrook, “we sat down with DAF, Ford & Slater and Fruehauf and the answer was ‘yes’… Apart from the health and safety and productivity benefits, the new truck is a massive hit with the drivers – especially the [TraXon] auto-box and the high-spec CF sleeper cab.”

“The introduction of the non-tipping DAF with the conveyor floor body for our surface dressing operation has delivered a significantly safer working environment,” said Kier Highways general manager Andy Mayos, “we no longer contend with overhead cables and the associated risks of cable strikes. Also, our clients no longer need to undertake time-consuming overhead cable surveys, and there’s no requirement for us to implement ‘no tipping zones’.”

Volta Trucks reveals Volta Zero official details

Volta Zero

Swedish start-up Volta Trucks has revealed the official details of its Volta Zero purpose-built full electric truck.

The 16-tonne two-axle truck has been designed with last mile deliveries in mind, but will be capable of a 95 to 120mile range thanks to a choice of two battery packs – 160kWh or 200kWh.The 37.7cu m body is made from a composite material derived from flax and biodegradable resin made from rapeseed oil which Volta says produces 75% less CO2 in the manufacturing process than carbon fibre. It’s also extremely lightweight enabling a payload of 8,600kg. In addition to the box body, Volta plans to introduce a refrigerated option running off the batteries and will house the cooling unit in the front portion of the aerodynamically sculpted roof in order to preserve the load volume.

Measuring 9,460mm in length, 3,470mm high and 2,550mm wide, Volta says the Zero does the job of three to four 3.5-tonne vans while taking up significantly less space, reducing congestion in the process.

Power comes from a single electric motor, details of which Volta are keeping quiet about, but is contained within the rear axle assembley in a “compact e-Axle unit” which Volta says is lighter and more efficient than other options enabling more space for the lithium iron phosphate batteries within the chassis rails.

You have to question if the designer has spent any real time speaking with drivers

Volta also believes that being able to design the vehicle from the ground-up has given them an advantage when it comes to safety. The central seating position enables a 220-degree view around the vehicle from the central driver's seat, while a rear view camera system completes a 360-degree picture of the surrounding area. Two passenger seats located behind the driver ensures that there is unhindered cross-cab access through the sliding doors which step down to kerb level.

Customer trails involving 12 vehicles with a number of companies including DPD in the UK and France will begin during 2021 but as many as 500 units are expected to be produced once full production begins in the UK in 2022.

Opinion: What the Volta Zero is like inside

The Volta Zero lays claim to some impressive statistic, reducing CO2 and creating numerous jobs, as many as 130, from its UK-based supply chain.

Sitting in the central seat you get a commanding view of your surroundings with narrow A-pillars of around 250mm and similarly size B-pillars, for the door uprights, being the only obstructions in a view that lets you look beyond 180-degrees behind you thanks to the forward driving position. The seat height also puts you in the direct eye-line of pedestrians, which should hopefully increase safety.

Build quality on this production models appears high, with large upright display screens (currently Apple iPads) either side of the steering wheel for navigation and vehicle information and more traditional readouts on a horizontal digital dash ahead. One thing missing, however, is storage.

While this might be an urban distribution vehicle, its driver won’t be devoid of possessions and three coat hangers, as well as two cupholders either side of the steering wheel, and a cupholder next to each of the rear passenger seats are unlikely to be sufficient – you have to question if the designer has spent any real time speaking with drivers.

As an early production model it shows promise and while impressive overhead lighting panels and chunky grab handles on the dash at the side of the cabin add to the aesthetics, the functional aspect of the left and right steps being different sizes (altering your head height on entry or exit) could be cause for concern if during a busy multidrop shift the driver were to misjudge their approach.

Like the electric powertrain technology it is championing, the Volta Zero is in its infancy as an HGV.