Truck Test 2015 will see the return of extra-heavy commercial vehicles (EHCVs). It also promises to be the best event yet. GAVIN MYERS reveals the plans.
It’s probably safe to say that the annual Truck Test programme has become one of our industry’s “must attend” events. It’s a proving ground for vehicle original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to show what their vehicles can do, and it’s taken more seriously each year.
Since 2012, FOCUS, in partnership with Hellberg Transport Management (HTM) and Engen, has run tests in the medium, heavy and extra-heavy segments. What could we do next, we thought? The answer: go back to where Truck Test started and – as we’ve done each year – make the event more stringent, so as to return the most accurate figures possible.
So, EHCVs are up again. That’s not a bad thing as – since we first ran them to Ballito and back in 2012 – the market has changed a bit: we’ve seen the introduction of numerous new models, with some more to come before next year’s event.
The way the test is run has also changed somewhat. All was detailed at a breakfast briefing, kindly sponsored by Engen, in July.
As these vehicles are aimed at the long-haul market, a single, laden return run will be completed – as with our original EHCV test.
In 2015, the vehicles will run from Roodepoort, on Johannesburg’s West Rand, along the N4 to Komatipoort, Mpumalanga – the total distance being around 950 km. The starting point will be AfriSam’s Roodepoort cement factory. The company has kindly come on board to sponsor a standard load for all participants.
This is the first of numerous important changes to the Truck Test programme: all vehicles will be loaded to the same maximum gross combination mass, which will be 500 kg less than the legal limit for the two applicable rig configurations. These rig configurations are also vitally important to Truck Test 2015 …
Two trailer options will be available: curtain-side interlinks and van-body tri-axles. These will be supplied by Afrit and GRW, respectively. Each type will be built to the exact same specification. Trailer performance, then, is nullified.
And that is what will make Truck Test 2015 the most significant, and accurate, yet … It will be a test of the tractor units alone – which have to be standard, off-the-shelf units. Aerodynamics will also be strictly controlled; limited to a standard aero kit with no additional side-skirts or wheel covers allowed.
Numerous entries have already been received for the test, and we expect that up to 20 vehicles could depart from Johannesburg on Wednesday April 15, 2015. They’ll return on Thursday April 16, each participant having done their utmost to return the best results possible.
We can’t wait!