The Witness - Wheels - - TRANSPORT -

IM­PE­RIAL Lo­gis­tics has in­vested R1,6 mil­lion and de­voted 12 months to test which truck works best on South Africa’s main de­liv­ery routes.

Fran­cois Eh­lers, tech­ni­cal ex­ec­u­tive at Im­pe­rial, ex­plains that the year-long pro­ject fo­cused on 10 pre­mium brand 6x4 trac­tor trail­ers, which were tested twice on five dif­fer­ent routes across South Africa us­ing the same group of test driv­ers. Each driver left the start­ing point at the same time, to re­move vari­ables like the ef­fect of air tem­per­a­ture on fuel con­sump­tion and each truck car­ried the same, full, test­ing load, and not a pay­load.

Im­pe­rial’s ul­ti­mate goal was to de­velop a cost of own­er­ship model for each dif­fer­ent ve­hi­cle over five years, which fac­tored in its fuel con­sump­tion on the dif­fer­ent routes. Driv­ers also scored the trucks’ com­forts in the each cab as well ease of ac­cess to check fil­ters in and out­side the cabin, but the trucks emerged more or less even in er­gonomics.

Eh­lers said the fi­nal score showed some trucks were more fuel ef­fi­cient than oth­ers at al­ti­tude, and like­wise, some out­per­formed oth­ers at sea level. There are clearly dif­fer­ent trucks for dif­fer­ent oper­a­tions and dif­fer­ent routes. The ve­hi­cle se­lec­tion model now en­ables the group to short­list trucks from the pre­mium brands that are best suited for each route, and fo­cus on adding these to its sub­stan­tial fleet of more than 5 300 ve­hi­cles.

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