The first virtual Commercial Motor Show conference hosted a discussion of a broad base of presentations on the common theme of future technology, and in particular, how technology in different fields is helping to increase the operational efficiency of truck fleets.

Bridgestone technical manager – north region, Gary Powell opened by highlighting the ways in which tyre choice can help both fleet and global issues by using the labelling system which rates truck tyres in respect of fuel economy, wet grip and external noise levels.

Fuel economy is rated according to rolling resistance tyre, with an A rating rapidly become the benchmark, and likely to be more significant as the VECTO system becomes more established. Powell highlighted its first steer tyre rated A for wet grip, the Duravis DURS2.

He went on to reveal how retreads such as its Bandag brand save up to 20kg less steel and 57kg less oil per tyre during production compared with a brand new product, and concluded with a look ahead with details of how it is involved in the development of a sustainable alternative to traditional rubber, guayule, extracted from bushes grown in the Americas.

With the removal of the fuel duty concession on red diesel for road transport likely to be imminent, Eco Truck Refrigeration’s MD Graham Usher provided a reminder of why self-powered diesel fridges are a bad thing, with their lack of efficiency compared with a modern truck engine leading to high emissions and noise.

Calculating that a diesel fridge increases a Euro-6 truck’s overall NOx emissions by 400%, he explained how the potential issues can be overcome by specifying the Hulstein Ecogen range of engine PTO-driven systems, which originate in the Nordic region, are used to generate electricity to power the fridge without any increase in emissions (pictured).

Chevron senior staff engineer, Shawn Whitacre, joined the seminar from California to deliver a look at what low-ash engine oils, such as its Texaco Delo range, are and how they can save costs in a number of ways. Modern oils are a cocktail of chemical additives, each one with a specific role to play in protecting the engine.

Even on a perfectly healthy engine, a small amount of oil finds its way into the combustion process, but some constituents are incombustible and find themselves trapped in the DPF as soot and ash which cannot be removed by regeneration, but only by physical cleaning.

By reducing the ash-forming additives from the traditional 1% to around 1.4%, there’s a corresponding reduction in the rate of DPF blockage. The effect is to reduce the frequency of time and fuel wasting regeneration to a third, increasing time between DPF stripping by a similar amount, and also saving fuel by preventing exhaust back pressure build-up, which forces the engine to work harder.

Road Tech director Adrian Barrett rounded off the proceedings with an overview of the latest Generation 2 digital tachographs, explaining how operators’ wariness of the devices was misplaced.

  • All the presentations were recorded and will be available to watch again until the end of October. Log in to the Commercial Motor Show website and click on Conference to replay all three days' sessions.