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Volvo truck gets four axles for Plantspeed

The UK’s first two Volvo FH16-700 8x4 heavy-haulage tractor units have entered service with Bristol’s top-weight transport specialists Plantspeed Ltd.

Plantspeed operate 16 trucks of which eight are Volvo’s. Paul Lomas, director, said: ‘We run them for the same reason we always run top kit. It’s an advert for the business. It ensures that people remember us when they want something heavy moving. High-quality kit also helps retain drivers. Volvo trucks have robust technology and we don’t have any problems. Loads and by extension, trailers, are getting heavier and longer, so the high torque of the FH16-700’s is very useful.’

Fuel economy is as much an issue for the heavy-haulage sector as any other. Paul also commented: ‘It’s all about fuel. The FH16-700’s deliver more torque at lower revs, which helps the economy. Fuel usage is relative; if three or four miles/gal at 120 tonnes is the industry norm, we’re more than pleased with the FH16-700’s five to six miles/gal. We’ve now got an all-Euro 5 fleet and it is more fuel efficient than Euro 3 or 4.’

The vehicles are fitted with Volvo’s Dynafleet transport information system, which Plantspeed use it to help reduce fuel usage; they have the engines set to shut down after three minutes idling. The company also use Dynafleet to compare the fuel performance of the two 700’s, which are on similar duties.

The FH16-700’s rear air suspension also allows them to be used on more general work. The back end deflects sufficiently for them to be coupled to more standard trailers.

Plantspeed will keep the FH16-700s, which were supplied by local Volvo Dealer Wales and West Truck and Bus of Avonmouth, for four to five years, during which time they will each cover around 500,000km.

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