DAF in Action
DAF XF, XG, XG⁺: “A new industry benchmark in efficiency, safety and comfort"
DAF in Action - winter/spring 2022
‘UK style’ challenges in Europe?
Shortage of truck drivers
In recent months the shortage of truck drivers led to dramatic newspaper headlines in the United Kingdom. However, the British are not the only ones suffering from a lack of drivers.
By: Bert Roozendaal and Richard Simpson
While the problem may not have reached ‘Crisis Britannica’ proportions yet in the EU, without a shift in policy a similar situation may arise on the continent within a few short years, including long queues at service stations and empty shelves in the supermarkets. The pool of truck drivers is rapidly getting older and there is very little fresh blood coming in.
This is nothing new, of course. There has been a shortage of drivers for many years. In 2016 the shortage was almost as bad as it is now and three years later the International Road Transport Union (IRU) once again warned that the problem was getting steadily worse all across Europe. Covid brought some temporary relief, as the demand for transport fell and the shortage of chauffeurs also fell to only 7 per cent. However, as a result of the fast rate of economic recovery, this figure is expected to rise to 17 per cent very soon. It is clear that action is required, something that both employer organisations and politicians have been saying for years. But despite the implementation of some measures – including at the European level – it appears that little progress has been made.
The large group of drivers aged fifty and over will be retiring within the next ten years.
An ageing sector
From a global perspective there is no shortage of young people, as the IRU has already pointed out. But the situation is different in Western Europe, where the population is ageing fast and the pool of truck drivers faster still. Out of the entire pool of European drivers only 5 per cent are under the age of twenty-five. There are a number of reasons for this. In some European countries transporters lay the blame on financial and legal restrictions. Getting your truck driver’s license can cost up to €10,000 and in some countries employers also have to grapple with high insurance costs and legislation that makes it difficult for those under the age of 21 to become a truck driver. However, this is not the whole story, as other countries where these restrictions are not as severe are still facing the same problem: a shortage of good drivers. And all this in the knowledge that the large group of drivers aged fifty and over will be retiring within the next ten years.
Recruitment and retention
Since the 1990s, many West European transport companies have been able to employ drivers from other countries within the EU thanks to the free labour market in Europe. In the short term this provides a solution to the problem of driver shortage and is also less expensive for the transport operator. However, the lower costs have a price tag, too. According to the unions, by providing transport at an increasingly lower price the sector has weakened its own negotiating position with respect to its clients. And lower revenue is a poor position from which to propose higher wages, which puts the wage structure in the transport operator's own country under pressure as well. Ultimately, none of this facilitates the effort to recruit new drivers and retain those still under contract.
EU drivers not returning
While this problem is becoming more worrying in Europe, in Britain it has already precipitated a crisis. Foreign drivers were responsible for driving a large share of British trucks until Brexit became a reality and they left the UK. The Covid pandemic only made things worse and there is now a structural shortage. There are serous doubts as to whether the tide can be turned by the British government’s announcement of a temporary easing of restrictions for workers from countries outside the United Kingdom. Most of these workers have since found work closer to home, as drivers are now in great demand in almost every country in Europe.
The European Commission has made an urgent plea to its member countries to provide more (and most importantly secure) parking spaces. This would also encourage more women to consider a career as a truck driver.
Better wages could also be a solution. The cry for higher wages rings out in every sector every time there is a shortage of workers. But every employer knows that the appeal of a higher salary is quickly forgotten if the working conditions do not improve as well. As a result, the EU is working on both aspects, with a mandatory minimum wage and measures to tackle wage dumping on the one hand and efforts to deal with the social aspect on the other. However, despite the good intentions behind such measures, the question remains whether they will really solve anything. It’s all well and good when you decide that a driver who has worked 14 days in a row must stay out of their cab for at least 24 hours. But where is he or she supposed to go then? Thankfully, trucks are becoming more and more comfortable. And while it will never be possible to fit a cab with a shower unit, just one look at the new series of DAFs reveals the unprecedented level of luxury that is helping to make the driver’s life and working conditions a whole lot better.
With regard to facilities on the road: despite the fact that Europe has 300,000 parking spaces along its main transport routes, the number still falls short by 100,000 in terms of actual requirements. As a result, the European Commission has made an urgent plea to its member countries to provide more (and most importantly secure) parking spaces. This would also encourage more women to consider a career as a truck driver. In addition, the call for more intermodal transport is becoming louder in the European parliament. However, most of the rail network is already close to full capacity and building more railways can take years. This kind of transport must also be able to meet the specific requirements of the industry, which often employs just-in-time models, an area where intermodal transport is less effective. There is still a considerable gap to be bridged to meet the needs of the transporter, who ultimately prefers to solve problems today and not tomorrow.
A good and spacious road infrastructure can help make the profession more attractive.
While higher wages may provide a short-term solution and encourage more young people to become truck drivers and remain in the profession for the long term, it appears that improved working conditions actually hold the key to lasting success. And this requires some serious re-thinking within the sector. With regard to international transport, it may be possible to improve the conditions for drivers in terms of social isolation by allowing them to decouple their vehicle more often than is currently the case. This would allow drivers to make shorter journeys and be at home more often. Advances in IT mean this should be possible. However, decoupling is not always an option for domestic distribution, which makes up the lion’s share of all transportation. Again, we will have to turn to IT for the required solutions and this is an area where improvements can be made in many countries in Europe. Together with a good and spacious road infrastructure and sufficient facilities on the road, this can help to ensure that the domestic driver will know not only what time they will be setting out in the morning but also when they can expect to return home again. And this is a very important aspect particularly for young people nowadays.
DAF in Action - winter/spring 2022
Perfect silence. In the cab and in the street
Electric garbage collection
Electric vehicles are quietly taking over the streets on two fronts, with electric cars stealthily establishing their place in society on the one hand and going about their work in perfect silence on the other. The results of a pilot project that Rotterdam City Council is running with electric refuse disposal vehicles have been very positive. The council’s refuse collection division has not only begun using the DAF CF Electric, but the employees were also involved in its development. “The reactions have been very positive.”
By: Guus Peters
Photos: Marieke van Grinsven
The slogan on the sides of the white and green DAF CF refuse collection truck approaching silently along the Spartastraat in Rotterdam translates as “I am positively charged”. The truck stops directly opposite the stadium of Sparta FC – or ‘The Castle’, as it is known locally. Driver Paul Keijzer gets out and straps on the truck’s remote control. The enormous arm on the HIAB XS 211 W crane springs into action and it only needs a few seconds to lift a large refuse container up out of its underground location. The container hovers above the truck and empties its contents before Keijzer replaces it neatly in the square cavity in the pavement. Keijzer then gets back into his truck and drives off.
The most remarkable feature of the whole operation is how quietly it all happens.
The most remarkable feature of the whole operation is how quietly it all happens, with nothing but the gentle zoom of the truck breaking the silence in the street. This is because the DAF CF in question is an electric model. For its pilot project, the Rotterdam City Council has acquired four fully electric refuse collection vehicles that have been used on a daily basis for the past eighteen months. “The European Union has decreed that we all need to cut down on our CO2 emissions. EU commissioner Frans Timmermans has set a number of goals to which we at Rotterdam City Council are fully committed,” says Paul van Emmerik, manager of sales at the council’s transport and materials department. “Our fleet consists of around 1,500 vehicles, all of which need to be emission-free by 2050 and that is why we have started a number of pilot projects with electric vehicles. This DAF CF Electric is our first fully electric refuse collection truck.”
Rotterdam City Council has its own charging infrastructure for the vehicles.
We meet Van Emmerik for a chat at Rotterdam City Council’s service location on the Kleinpolderplein. Diesel vehicles come and go in the background, but those with their eyes (and ears) peeled can’t fail to notice the silent passage of fully electric vehicles as well. Road sweepers and the e-scooters of the parking management service whizz silently past as the council’s fully electric Nissan LEAF scan cars wait their turn at the charging stations. The DAF CF Electric has its own on-site fast charger and it is in constant use. “This vehicle has been specially acquired for emptying hopper containers. We also have a number of rear loader garbage trucks for emptying mini containers, such as the ones you find in public spaces,” explains Van Emmerik.
During our conversation with Van Emmerik, the word ‘capacity’ is used more than once in reference to two separate things: firstly to indicate the maximum load that a vehicle can carry and secondly in reference to the charging of the battery in electric vehicles. Van Emmerik: “This truck can transport up to five and a half tons of refuse. With an electrically driven truck, the weight of the battery means you have to sacrifice some of the loading capacity. It’s a compromise you have to make. We are hoping for major improvements in battery technology, a process that is already underway, in fact. In the development of this truck, for example, the capacity of the batteries was doubled for the same mass and volume.”
Obviously, an electric truck has to recharge more often than a diesel needs to fill up. “One of the biggest challenges in the development of electric trucks is the charging of the battery,” says Van Emmerik. “On the one hand because you need a certain amount of kilowatts – charging capacity – and on the other because the charging process takes time. The driver is the most expensive part of a truck, so we want the greatest charging capacity possible in the shortest space of time. And that can be a problem for us here in Rotterdam. We have a spare battery in a container that can be used when things get very busy. However, they don’t have that kind of problem at the HVC Group in Alkmaar, for example, where they also use electric DAFs. The HVC waste disposal company has its own power station right next door: the incineration plant in Alkmaar. We don’t have that luxury.”
Paul van Emmerik: “During the development process the batteries have acquired twice the amount of capacity using the same mass and volume.”
It is no coincidence that Van Emmerik refers to HVC because the Rotterdam City Council and HVC in the Dutch town of Alkmaar are working closely together with the waste management firms Cure in Eindhoven and Rova in Zwolle on the development of DAF’s electric refuse collection vehicles, such as the ones in use here. “For this project a submission has been made for a subsidy that the RVO (Netherlands Enterprise Agency) makes available for innovative projects.” So, do the parties involved share their experiences with each other? “Yes. We hold evaluation meetings and discuss our findings and possible areas of improvement. For instance, the regeneration energy from the brakes has been greatly improved over time,” according to Van Emmerik.
Peace & quiet
Rotterdam handpicked a number of drivers for the e-trucks. “These are all people with a deep commitment to CO2-neutral and emission-free trucks. Drivers who have long had a genuine interest in these kinds of vehicles. This is one of the reasons why we presented the truck as a prototype so that the driver is aware that not everything will always be as they expect it to be,” says Van Emmerik, who adds that many drivers are very happy with the peace and quiet the cab offers and that makes their work even more enjoyable. “And they also appreciate the fact that they get zero complaints from residents about the noise when they have to set out early in the morning. On the flip side, drivers do have to stop more often to recharge and get used to using energy in a different way. That takes some time and effort. Accordingly, a greater battery capacity is desirable and the evolution of the technology is already making that possible. This is also one of the reasons why the truck will soon be returning to DAF.”
The CF Electric does produce some noise, partly for the sake of warning others in the vicinity, but the noise level is far below that of a diesel truck, according to Van Emmerik. “In addition, Rotterdam City Council has signed the ‘Green Deal Zero Emission City Logistics’ with the aim of establishing a zero-emission zone in the city centre by 2025, a hugely important project for Rotterdam. The council plans to introduce an emission-free-vehicles-only policy in the centre of the city. The public transport buses are already fully electric, for example, and in addition to being emission-free also make no noise. That’s a real breath of fresh air for the city.”
The DAF CF Electric in action on the Spartastraat in Rotterdam.
Paul van Emmerik has heard plenty of good reactions to the electric refuse collection trucks. “Most people say they look great before adding: ‘must be very expensive though’. And that is true, these trucks are relatively expensive, which is why the Dutch government needs to support the development of the vehicles and promote their use. Individual transport companies won’t see a business case in the truck, but if it becomes even cleaner and more efficient it won’t be long before the electric garbage truck starts to take over from the diesel. It’s really only a matter of time.”
Driver Paul Keijzer, who has been working for the council for 33 years, has also received a lot of positive reaction to his electric DAF.
“Sometimes people come up to me in the street to ask me about the truck. Recently, another driver of a garbage truck came up to me in the city centre and was so interested he could hardly stop asking me questions.”
DAF in Action - Winter/spring 2022
A truck is a living thing
Taiwan loves driving trucks from ‘Hélán’
It is perhaps a little-known fact, but DAF has been the best-selling European truck brand in Taiwan for many years. The economy of this highly developed island relies heavily on logistics, an aspect in which DAF has played an important role thanks to its state-of-the-art, efficient and very clean Euro 6 commercial vehicles.
By Bert Roozendaal
The clean technology of DAF’s trucks dovetails perfectly with the deep attachment of the Taiwanese people to their island’s history, culture, scientific heritage and natural beauty, a fact that is brought home to us when we meet up with Tom Wu Xinjun, director of YI SIAN Transport Inc. to talk about ‘his’ Taiwan. “I live on a beautiful island that was once called Formosa and that has a rich history. It doesn’t matter where you go on the island – the mountains, the coast, the cities – it is equally beautiful everywhere. The Taiwanese are a friendly people and completely at one with their environment.”
The pursuit of prosperity
There is one thing above all else that the Taiwanese people have in common: their pursuit of prosperity. They have worked extremely hard over the past few decades on the development of the economy. It is a very densely populated country, with 23.5 million people living in an area of only 36,192 km². In addition to their respect for traditional values, the Taiwanese also possess a tremendous entrepreneurial spirit. There is a well-known Taiwanese proverb that says, ‘If you want God’s blessing, you must first learn to stand on your own two feet and move forward.’
Taiwan has many ports, of which Kaohsiung in the south is by far the largest
Made in Taiwan
This firm belief in one’s own ability has been very beneficial for the island. In 2020 Taiwan was ranked 19th in the list of richest economies in the world, ahead of Australia. ‘Made in Taiwan’ is a much-used phrase around the world, regardless of where the goods are made; at the start of the 21st century, domestic production in Taiwan began to grow so rapidly that much of the actual production had to be performed on the Chinese mainland, which lies only 97 miles away across the sea.
In 2020 Taiwan’s export of goods and services was valued at 304 billion euros while imports were valued at 252 billion. This resulted in a very healthy trade surplus. The enormous extent of Taiwan’s economic activity means that transport and logistics are crucial to the island’s success. In fact, they are the lubricant of the economic engine. In 2019 transport contributed no less than 7 per cent to the country’s Gross Domestic Product. The sector is one of Taiwan’s biggest employers because the country only has one railroad and the vast majority of goods have to be transported over the roads of this 400-kilometre-long island. Much of that transport is between the island’s ports, of which Kaohsiung in the south is by far the largest.
YI SIAN Transport Inc. transports automobile parts, chemicals, water and beverages for its customers in Central and South Taiwan
Trucks from Hélán
Formosa Plastics Group has benefited from the island’s predominant use of its road network for the transport of goods. The company introduced DAF to the island and it was not long before it had been established as the ‘leading European brand’ in Taiwan. Every week DAF Trucks ships a new consignment of parts and components from its factories in Eindhoven and Leyland to Taiwan, where they are assembled by Formosa Plastics at an ultramodern plant in Dadu. Taiwanese transporters are always keen to drive the modern trucks from faraway Netherlands, or ‘Hélán’ as they call it themselves. One of those transporters is the 43-year-old Tom Wu Xinjun. His company, YI SIAN Transport Inc., transports automotive parts, chemicals, water and beverages for its customers in Central and South Taiwan. “We have 10 trucks weighing between 18.5 and 46 tonnes. The DAF CF tractor makes up most of our fleet but we also have a number of rigids.”
Transport in the blood
Tom Wu Xinjun has transport in his blood. “Our family has been in the road transport business for many generations. I learned how to drive a truck before I had even left high school. I can drive every kind of vehicle actually, except perhaps a railway locomotive”, he says, displaying none of his usual shyness as he gets to talk about his favourite subject.
A truck is a living thing
“Our family was very poor. But thanks to the income our truck generated we could buy enough food and clothes and I was able to go to school. I am very attached to my trucks. To me a truck is a living thing”. In Taiwan it is not unusual for transport operators to offer up a prayer for the safety of a truck when taking possession of a new vehicle.
Tom Wu Xinjun still likes to take a truck out on the road himself whenever his job as company director allows.
Tom does not put all his faith in the wisdom of the gods, however. “It costs 100 drops of sweat to produce one grain of rice,” he says. “If I want to be successful, my trucks must drive not only often and far but safely, too. So I make sure that each vehicle is serviced on time and checked by the driver before they go out on the road. The maintenance service that Formosa Automobile Sale Corporation provides is worth its weight in gold. And that’s why DAF is definitely my favourite brand, alongside its excellent performance and fuel efficiency.”
At the top of our game
Proper maintenance, good training for drivers and excellent aftersales are the cornerstones of YI SIAN Transport Inc. "We can only earn and retain the trust of the customer when we deliver their goods safely and on time. We must always be at the top pf our game,” explains Tom Wu Xinjun, who still likes to take a truck out on the road himself whenever his job as company director allows. As he says himself, while he may also have a passion for things like good food, to him transport is ‘a way of life’.
DAF in Action - winter/spring 2022
Interview with Richard Zink, director Marketing & Sales
With the launch of the New Generation DAF XF, XG and XG+ - recently voted ‘International Truck of the Year 2022’ - DAF is ushering in a new era in road transport. The new flagship represents the largest investment project ever made in the company’s history. Not only in terms of product development and new production facilities but also in terms of services, an aspect in which DAF continues to invest, according to Richard Zink, director Marketing & Sales.
By: Henk de Lange
“The truck is actually only one part of the total logistics package that we can offer our customers,” says Zink. “We deliver not only trucks but added value as well.” And according to the Marketing & Sales director, this all starts with the DAF dealer.
“Long before we launched the New Generation DAF we provided our dealers with extensive training,” he explains. “And not only the dealers themselves but also the mechanics in the workshops.” Speaking of dealers, DAF has also invested heavily in this aspect in recent years and customers can now avail of its services at more than 1,000 locations worldwide.
“Almost every DAF dealer operates as an independent business. As a result they all have the kind of entrepreneurial spirit that makes them go the extra mile for the customer.”
Director Marketing & Sales
“DAF is a premium brand and a premium brand deserves a premium dealer network,” continues Zink. “This means that quality, service and customer experience have to meet the highest standards. We want to be able to deliver the same quality all over the world.” How do you do that? “In 2020 we redrafted our dealer standards,” explains Zink. “Because the needs and demands of the customer have changed down through the years. The new dealer standards encourage dealers to invest more in their business to enhance their customer experience, and to improve on a continuous basis. This results in a win-win situation: the quality of the dealer organisation goes up and this in turn leads to greater customer satisfaction. Which is the ultimate goal, of course: happy DAF customers.”
Customers can now avail of DAF’s services at more than 1,000 locations worldwide
Simultaneously with the launch of the XF, XG and XG+, important steps were taken with regard to the services that accompany this new generation of trucks. The list of innovations is long, says Zink. One example is the DAF Connect online fleet management system. “A platform that provides continuous updates on a fleet’s performance,” he explains. “This helps the customer to maintain a clear picture of the logistic processes and to get the best out of their people and vehicles. For instance, DAF Connect enables the navigation system to display real-time traffic information and allows the home base to provide drivers with the best routes. Imagine how much fuel, time and frustration that can save.”
Unique in the industry
With the introduction of the New Generation XF, XG and XG+, DAF introduces over-the-air updates for the engine and EAS systems, the vehicle ECU, the Central Security Gateway (CSG) and DAF Connect. A completely new infrastructure for vehicle diagnostics was also developed for the ‘New Generation DAF’. Zink: “An extended service interval of up to 200,000 kilometres means that maintenance is often required only once a year. That’s five times around the world before the truck has to come in for a service. Unique in the industry.”
And speaking of maintenance, DAF MultiSupport offers packages for maintenance and repairs on a Pan-European basis. “This helps to keep the fleet perfectly maintained and always ready to move. Ideal for the customer, who can then focus on their core activities.”
Peace of mind
Peace of mind – that is the common theme in the conversation with Richard Zink. “Yes, that’s what we want to give our customers,” he confirms. “And that goes for financing, too. When you finalise a financing deal with PACCAR Financial after acquiring a vehicle you only have to sign one contract for the whole package and your truck is ready to drive straight away. You can’t get faster than that.” He concludes by saying, “We have embarked on a new era of increased integration between vehicles and their accompanying services. And in that regard our ambition remains the same: to exceed the expectations of our customers.”
DAF in Action
The second and third life of a DAF
“More and more dealers are offering Used Trucks to their customers in addition to new vehicles so that they can provide them with tailor-made solutions.”
Previous editions of DAF in Action magazine:
DAF in Action - Winter/spring 2022
Test the Best
Transporte Evertz GmbH
After covering over 30,000 kilometres in the DAF XG+ Michael Evertz is completely convinced. The new generation of DAF trucks has made a terrific impression on this German transport operator whose company carries out field tests for the Dutch truck manufacturer. The truck impresses not only with regard to space, comfort and performance but particularly in relation to fuel consumption.
By: Frank Hausmann
Photography: Steffen Löffler
Michael Evertz is the managing director and owner of Transporte Evertz in Mechernich in Eifel, Germany. He was lucky enough to be able to try out the new generation of DAF vehicles before almost all of his colleagues. His company was also one of the very few that were given the opportunity to test DAF’s new flagship on the road as part of a major field test before the official launch of the truck.
Cement and lime
With a fleet of silo semi-trailers and a tipper truck, Evertz transports cement and lime for his clients in the concrete industry. One of them is Zieglowski, which explains the striping on his truck. He does most of his work in the area around Aachen, Cologne and Koblenz but also transports goods to the Münster and Saarland regions as well as to the Benelux. His company transports raw materials for businesses specialised in soil stabilisation and the treatment of wastewater in sewage plants.
15 years ago, Michael Evertz and his wife decided to take the plunge and start out as an independent transporter with one truck. Within twelve months they had acquired a second tractor trailer and since then the fleet has grown steadily thanks to a continuous increase in the number of orders. Their fleet currently consists of 15 silo semi-trailers, one tipper truck and 13 tractors.
No bad luck
The fact that Evertz operates 13 tractors has not brought him any bad luck. Especially when you consider that not everyone gets the chance to test the new XG+ extensively before the official launch of DAF’s new flagship. The relationship between Evertz and DAF began four years ago when the firm was looking for tractors that were both fuel efficient and readily available. Michael Evertz eventually found his way to the DAF service and sales partner Loven in Eschweiler. They set him up with his first DAF, a XF 530, and today there are four of these DAF vehicles equipped with the most powerful PACCAR engine available in the fleet of this bulk transporter.
This is all down to the excellent relationship that Evertz enjoys with the Loven team. “Naturally, purchase price, total cost of ownership, quality, performance and reliability are the most important factors for us when acquiring a new truck. And DAF ticks all the boxes. We also place great value on our relationship with the dealer behind the product, and everything runs so smoothly between our company and Loven that we are 100% sure we have chosen the right brand of truck,” says Michael Evertz.
Evertz is very generous when it comes to giving his drivers the opportunity to have their say regarding the truck’s interior. They are fully involved every time a new truck is ordered and this translates into a high level of driver loyalty to both the employer and the brand. Michael Evertz also knows exactly what he’s talking about with regard to his trucks. “I still drive them regularly myself and I really appreciate the comfort of a DAF each time I take one out, especially for a long drive. This is all because of the enormous amount of space in the cab, the comfortable seats, the superbly designed dashboard and the power of the engine. The kind of things I want my drivers to have, too, as they are often out on the road for several days at a time,” according to Evertz.
“One of Evertz’ largest customers is Zieglowski, which explains the striping on his truck.”
The 55-year-old transport operator was also involved in defining the specifications of the DAF XG+ for the field test. “I wanted a truck with the largest cab and the most powerful engine. The DAF XG+ 530 offers everything a trucker’s heart could desire. The longer cab boasts an enormous amount of space. No other truck cab can offer 2.20 m of standing room, endless storage space and 80 cm-wide beds across the full breadth of the truck that can be operated electrically,” says Evertz with great enthusiasm.
He is also very impressed by the high-quality materials used and the seats that can be swivelled during rest periods to give the cab the feel of a living room. No to mention the digital cockpit, the adjustable steering column that can be parked far forward for optimal ease of access and the fully integrated Park Airco.
Safety and sustainability
“Safety and sustainability are very important to us,” explains Evertz. “And that’s why I am very happy with the amazing mirror configuration and the perfect all-round visibility it offers. This is down to the beautifully slim design of the mirror housing,” adds Evertz, who has already driven over 30,000 kilometres in the new DAF.
“During the night-time trips I really enjoyed the full LED headlights that together with the LED Skylights offer superb illumination on the road. I’m also very happy that DAF has installed the full range of its driver assistance and safety systems in this truck.”
Managing Director and Owner of Transporte Evertz in Mechernich in Eifel, Germany
Evertz still has to smile when he thinks back on the surprised looks he encountered when making deliveries in the new DAF. At first, his fellow drivers were unable to identify the truck he was driving. This was because the new truck had been heavily camouflaged and even had its logos and grilles hidden. As a result, the vehicle was unrecognisable as a DAF. What couldn’t be hidden from view, however, was the enormous size of the cab, a feature that resulted in many curious and admiring looks in Michael Evertz’ direction.
In addition to the vehicle’s outward appearance, spacious interior and superb finishing, Evertz is also highly impressed by the new DAF’s roadholding, steering and driveline. “DAF has managed to make the PACCAR MX-13 engine even more efficient,” he says. “In the new XG+ we use up to five litres less diesel per 100 kilometres compared with our current generation of DAF XFs. Just imagine how much that is going to save us on a truck that drives up to 120.000 kilometres a year! It will mean a significant reduction in our fuel costs.”
The new generation of DAFs has helped Evertz to make an important decision. “From now on I am only going to expand my fleet with the newest generation of DAFs. This test has convinced me of the excellence of the driving performance, fuel efficiency and comfort of the DAF XG+.” It is a decision that will be warmly welcomed by his drivers because they all want to drive the truck with the biggest cab on the market. And the sooner, the better, too. Some of them will have to wait a little longer, but the first two trucks have already been ordered and will be delivered to Transporte Evertz soon.
DAF in Action - winter/spring 2022
The beginning of a new era
Interview with Gianenrico Griffini, chairman of the jury ‘International Truck of the Year’
‘International Truck of the Year’ - it is without doubt the most prestigious accolade a truck manufacturer can receive in Europe. “As the first trucks to be developed according to the new European regulations for masses and dimensions, the DAF XF, XG and XG+ herald a completely new era,” said jury chairman Gianenrico Griffini. “They deserved to win.”
By: Rob van Tilburg
Every year, the announcement of the ‘International Truck of the Year’ is an exciting moment that the entire truck industry looks forward to. And what makes the title so valuable is that the choice of the ultimate winner is determined by the opinions of no less than 24 leading trade journalists and trade magazines from across Europe.
Contribution to transport efficiency
“According to the rules, the award is given to the individual truck or model range introduced to the market in the past year that makes the greatest contribution to transport efficiency. Because that’s what it’s all about in current road transport,” says Italian Gianenrico Griffini. “A long list of criteria is taken into account, such as technological innovation, driver comfort, safety, driving characteristics, fuel consumption, the steps taken in terms of care for the environment and of course ‘Total Cost of Ownership’.”
The award ‘International Truck of the Year 2022’ was presented by jury chairman Gianenrico Griffini to Harry Wolters, president of DAF Trucks, during the Solutrans commercial vehicle exhibition in Lyon, France.
More appreciation for truck industry
The award was presented for the 36th time. “It is impressive to see the enormous technological developments that have been made, especially in the past five or ten years, to make trucks even more economical, even cleaner and, above all, even more efficient,” Griffini outlines. “As far as I’m concerned, there should be more attention and appreciation for that.” The jury chairman does not only refer to the efforts in the field of engine development, but also to the many electronic systems that help the driver to get the most out of every drop of fuel. “Predictive Cruise Control, EcoRoll, Preview Down-Hill Speed Control, these are all state-of-the-art technologies that make the driver’s work easier and at the same time improve fuel efficiency. A modern truck is a high-tech machine and the New Generation DAF is a great example of this.”
It started in 1976….
The ‘International Truck of the Year’ phenomenon began in 1976 in Great Britain, when the editor-in-chief of Truck Magazine, the late Pat Kennett, tested the then-new Seddon Atkinson SA200. He thought it was a very innovative truck, far ahead of the competition in terms of comfort and safety. Then the idea was born for an award in recognition of the latest technical developments in commercial vehicles that benefit the entrepreneur and the driver. Pat Kennett’s idea was received enthusiastically by Andrew Frankl, the publisher of Truck Magazine. Together they decided to create the ‘Truck of the Year’ award. In 1977, Seddon Atkinson was the first truck manufacturer to receive the trophy. The step to ‘International Truck of the Year’ was quickly made when in the following year Kennett and Frankl started looking for European colleagues who shared their vision. Today, the jury consists of 24 members, who represent the main European truck magazines. In recent years, the IToY group has further increased its sphere of influence by appointing ‘associate members’ in expanding truck markets such as China, India, South Africa, Australia, Brazil, Japan and Iran.
1988 DAF 95
1998 DAF 95XF
2002 DAF LF
2007 DAF XF 105
2018 DAF New CF & XF
2022 New Generation XF, XG and XG+
Connecting to European regulations
According to Gianenrico Griffini, the fact that the new DAF XF, XG and XG+ have been awarded ‘International Truck of the Year 2022’ has to do with the way in which DAF has translated the new European regulations in the field of vehicle dimensions. “In any case, DAF is the first truck manufacturer to launch an entirely new series of trucks that have been developed against the background of these new guidelines,” he explains. “And let’s be honest: we also expected that these would lead to a truck design with a more prominent, rounded nose. But it is clear that such a design entails a higher weight and would make it much more difficult to negotiate roundabouts or to maneuver for example. The fact that DAF has managed to improve the aerodynamics by almost 20% is to be commended. Together with optimizations of the powertrain and, for example, further weight reductions, higher fuel efficiency has been achieved, together with a sizeable reduction in CO2 emissions. And of course those are results that stand out to us as a jury.”
New benchmark in direct view
With the new regulations, the European Commission had more in mind than further increasing efficiency and improving the CO2 footprint. “By allowing longer cabs, road safety can be taken to the next level,” continues Griffini. “And DAF has translated that into a larger glass surface, among other things, with the window belt lines extended far down. In terms of direct vision, it really sets a new benchmark. New technologies such as digital cameras and the so-called ‘corner eye’ also contribute significantly to safety. DAF is not the first on the market with these, but has taken extra time for further development. And it shows.”
Griffini indicates that the New Generation DAF also comes at the right time in terms of driver comfort. “Europe is facing a major shortage of drivers,” he says. “For transport companies it’s very difficult to attract and retain good drivers! The new XF, XG and XG+ can definitely convince candidates. The impressive adjustment range for seat and steering wheel, the advanced digital instrument panel that can be tuned entirely according to the driver’s preference, the spaciousness, the fit and finish, not to forget the extremely low noise levels, it is all of a very high standard. And let’s not forget the sleeping comfort for which DAF has been known for years, thanks to a bed with a width of 80 centimeters. And I haven’t even mentioned the excellent driving characteristics of the DAFs”.
Ready for the future
“Of course, as a jury we also look to the future”, concludes Griffini. “DAF has made it very clear that the new generation of long-haul vehicles is based on a new platform that is ready for alternative powertrains. A fully electric version is in development and as members of the jury we have already been able to drive a New Generation XF that runs on hydrogen. DAF is investigating the potential of hydrogen as a fuel for an internal combustion engine. And from what I got to experience during a short test drive, that option seems promising. Just like the future of the New Generation DAF. Once again: rightly elected ‘International Truck of the Year 2022’.”
DAF in Action - winter/spring 2022
Thank you for your continued faith in us!
Harry Wolters, President DAF Trucks N.V.
It is with great pride that we introduce what can safely be regarded as a milestone in the history of road transport: the launch of the ‘New Generation DAF’ XF, XG and XG+.
The trucks have been developed in line with the new European regulations for vehicle masses and dimensions which have given manufacturers literally more room to improve the aerodynamics of their trucks. All this to allow new standards to be set for efficiency, safety and driver comfort.
The jury of the ‘International Truck of the Year 2022’ was clearly convinced of DAF’s ability to rise to the challenge, as our efforts led to DAF being awarded the most prestigious prize in the truck industry. “The DAF XF, XG and XG+ are ushering in a completely new era,” was the conclusion of jury chairman Gianenrico Griffini. And we couldn’t agree more.
The ‘International Truck of the Year 2022’ award is not only meant for the DAF company, our staff of over 12,000 proud employees and our professional DAF dealer organisation. I wish to dedicate the prize also to you, our business partners, who have been using our trucks and services as the driving force behind your own success.
I want to thank you for your continued faith in us. That is something we cherish and are very proud of. Your faith in us inspires us to be even better tomorrow than we were today. And speaking of tomorrow: our New Generation XF Innovation Truck with hydrogen combustion engine has received the ‘2022 Truck Innovation Award’ from the same jury. Further proof, if needed, that DAF is truly starting the future with its new generation of trucks.
President DAF Trucks N.V.