Yesterday marked the official announcement from the DfT to permit controlled trials of High Volume Trailers (HVT’s) and Wincanton has been working closely with Don-Bur to design and manufacture its first 15.65m long Teardrop pillarless tri-axle in readiness for the VSO (Vehicle Special Orders). The new 2.05m longer trailer benefits from an average 15% additional load capacity, or four extra pallets; a feature that will significantly increase efficiency and reduce fuel consumption and harmful CO2 emissions as a result of fewer deliveries.
The DfT’s research says that by 2015, the trial of HVT’s is predicted to "reduce lorry miles by 100 – 180 million per year", meaning reduced congestion, reduced air pollution and reduced carbon emissions (by around 100,000 tonnes a year reduction).
The new aerodynamically designed HVT benefits from a similar effective wheelbase to that of a standard 13.7m long trailer, offering drivers a familiar sense of manoeuvrability. To cater for the extended load distribution, the Daimler Chrysler axles have been configured with a greater spread and the rear steer ‘self-tracking’ axle will all but eliminate wheel scrub. In addition, the introduction of Knorr-Bremse’s "iCorner" system lifts the front axle at lower speeds which reduces the effective wheelbase and enables tighter cornering.
A key part of the bespoke design was to limit the increase in unladen trailer weight, as the current maximum 44T GVW will not be increased and potential payload cannot be compromised. The weight increase caused by an extension in length and the addition of a steer axle has been heavily offset by using stronger yield steel and clever use of lightweight components.
Wincanton’s first HVT will be one of 900 2.05m longer trailers trialled in the UK for a period up to 10 years.
Welcoming the DfT announcement Dave Rowlands, technical director at Wincanton, said: "Longer semi-trailers will be integrated into Wincanton’s fleet almost immediately as a key element of our sustainable transport strategy and our commitment to reduce our impact on the environment. "Not only will the introduction of longer trailers drastically reduce the amount of CO2 into the environment, it will also ease congestion on UK roads, improve productivity by some 15 per cent and reduce crippling fuel costs which, in turn, can help us limit our customers’ exposure to rising costs."
David Burton, managing director at Don-Bur added: "We were always keen to be at the forefront when the trials were announced and our partnership with Wincanton offered us an excellent opportunity to showcase our abilities."