Patrick's Trucks ?

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c107

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Looking at your pic Bryce, amazing sales must be also achieved by aircraft manufacturers just for freight.
I’ve also heard that many outdated passenger aircraft spend many many years after being retired from passenger service as freight aircraft.
The retired passenger airliners work well for the package operators as acquisition cost is low and airframe utilisation is far lower than in passenger service, so higher fuel burn is not as big a deal. Plus the industry has various peaks and troughs so they can be parked up when not needed, or flown with even lower utilisation.

Amazon stated their own airline a couple of years back after they ended their contract with FedEx. It’s based on old 767s, converted from passenger service. They contract out various operators to fly the aircraft. They have 50 of them with an average age of over 28 years old.
 

BenzBoy

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In general aircraft are so well built that they can be used for many years and are often retired from passenger service only because other factors make them less suitable for their intended use - fuel usage, excess noise restricting their landing at certain airports etc. For example, Lufthansa have re-fitted the interiors of their 747s and will continue to use the Jumbo long after other airlines have moved to a differemnt model.
Otherwise, many passenger planes end up as cargp planes simply becuase they have more years left in them.
Regards,
Brian
 

Patrick_R

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That’s very interesting, like here, we can never get enough drivers.
I also like that the signage states that drivers return home every night.

Typically a heavy haul B Double or Roadtrain driver here in Oz is away from home between 3-5 days per trip.
 
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Patrick_R

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Interesting about the 747’s Brian.
The life span of well cared for aircraft is quite amazing.
A common sight at Mascot is an Atlas Air cargo 747, and it’s been coming here for many many years.
991F16CF-0F3E-4D00-A914-11914FB34790.jpeg
By the looks of her top deck and lack of windows, she may have never been a passenger plane.

I still think the 747 was the most beautiful aircraft ever made. The first of its kind.
It reminds me of the fist top shelf Japanese bullet (Shinkansen) train from the late 60’s first of its kind as well.
The pinnacle of engineering.
54558407-DF83-410D-BB0A-43EB2BAC329D.jpeg

The drivers of these trains are also called pilots, and are the best of the best.
Note the pilots of both of the above, sit high above the passengers.
 
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Patrick_R

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Gents,
Thank you for bringing to my attention multi trailer trucks in the US.
I’ve been working on heavy haul trucks for so long, I’ve missed these.
Even though they do different jobs than ours, but still a very important role across America.
 
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sean sherry

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Yes, like those.
And most had "Hiring" signs on the back that highlighted "98% of our drivers return home every night"
I do hope that is due to operations not safety 😛

On the Hiring Signs, they were absolutely everywhere, from small convenience stores to hugh factory's
Even the major hotel chains had them on the front doors, places like Westin and Hilton.
 
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sean sherry

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Hiring Signs, the wheel has turned a full circle .When I arrived in 1956 these sign were every where
Unemployment was 2 % I walked into a Job at the local Morris/Wolseley Agents second Day for triple my Wage in Ireland !! I had died and gone to Heaven. Pacific Hwy/ Fullers Bridge Rd Chatswood.
Tallest Building in Chatswood was the old Charles Hotel... 2 Storeys..... now Hong Kong ....
 
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sean sherry

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Are your Truck/Trailers Body Panels still Riveted Patrick ?
Sydney Bus Panels are held together with an adhesive....... Stronger than the Metal Panels !
 

Patrick_R

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No rivets anymore Sean, steel panels and composite materials that are welded or vulcanised.
Like you said, extremely strong.
Some Kenworth still run riveted cabs.
 
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sean sherry

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Not your area Patrick... but are Volvo shooting themselves in the Foot totally ceasing ICE in their Cars.
Here we are lacking the Charging Facilities to wean people off what we know.. Petrol.
The Baltic Countries have ample Electric Power from Sea Wind Turbines , their major Home Market ?
Solar with Battery storage will help . But what is the life cycle of this system.. I hear you ask ???
 

Patrick_R

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Great questions Sean.
No, it doesn’t fall in our ball park about Volvo cars, but it seems every man and his dog is actually ringing or emailing us to find out information as Volvo car are not easily contactable.
However all of your questions do relate to us and other OEM’s of cars and trucks.
We have all been briefed to direct all enquires back to Volvo car. By the amount of contact we are getting, it seems to have certainly generated huge interest / shock etc.

Let me start by answering your last question first.
Some car companies are adding pretty huge warranty packages into these new BEV, PHEV, and Hybrids.
From what I have seen with our electric trucks, the battery technology has really come forward in leaps and bounds in a very short time.
That being said, Volvo Group (Trucks) has just announced a massive investment of many billion SEK into the production of our own battery production plant in Sweden.

Listening to the scuttlebut around Volvo, it is so they can produce exactly the right battery for our needs with exactly the features we want for our trucks, rather than compromise on small details that make a generic battery not 100% right for us or fit for purpose.
Also, I’m sure that by keeping battery production in house, well I’m sure it will save/make them money pretty quickly.
Lastly Volvo is 100% right out front in being a company that is 100% sustainable and responsible. By producing batteries in house, they can also guarantee that it is made with their sustainability goals first and foremost in mind.
As I mentioned, Volvo were the first to produce a VCE (Volvo Construction Equipment) vehicle the is made by 100% fossil free methods.
They have really jumped on this with all they have. It is now in our corporate structure, ethics and code of conduct.

Without going into to much detail, (and sort of getting off topic) I now have to train drivers and owners to check our truck engine oil levels via the electronic dash, and not the dipstick. Why you may ask.
Volvo has worked out that if 10,000 drivers check their oil level an hour (somewhere in the world) via a dipstick, and wipe the oil on the first pull of the dipstick before they dip, then check, then wipe the oil off again, that somewhere in the vicinity of 1000 litres of oil (an hour) and the rag or paper towel it is checked with will end up in land fill.
Soon, all dipsticks will be removed from all Volvo Group trucks.
I also now have to tell people (amongst other things of environmental friendliness) how recyclable our trucks are.
FYI, they used to be 85% recycleable, now the figure is 99.3%.

Getting back to batteries, and our battery packs, when up and running Volvo will offer up to 10 years warranty on them.
Volvo have already set up a program in Sweden where truck batteries will see a second life when removed from trucks, reconditioned and then will enter its final life as home storage batteries.

Our current fleet of BEV trucks, are still showing 100% health on their batteries after 150,000km of road usage over the last 2 years of testing.
So I do think that battery life and reliability isn’t too much of an issue, and it will only get better.

I can’t answer for other brands, but I do know that they are all on the same band wagon of longevity and quality for their batteries as this will surely effect sales if they are not.

Lastly, I do think that now Volvo has made this massive investment in their own battery production facility, that many other OEM’s will come to us to produce high quality batteries for them.
Then if something goes wrong with the battery, then Volvo will carry the warranty passed on by that OEM.

You are 100% correct when you are talking about our lack of infrastructure when it comes to recharging of electric vehicles.
European countries have been rolling these things out for the last 10 years, as battery vehicles in one form or another have been selling this whole time.
Not to mention their panic in getting rid of diesels out of their capital cities, for a good few years now.
In Europe where traveling distances for the average person is low, battery vehicles make a lot of sense.
They do have a lot of wind turbines, hydro and solar for sure, which does make them very green in how power is generated.
My wife and I on our last drive from Rotterdam to Amsterdam said to each other, this certainly was the land of windmills in bygone years, but now there are more windmills than ever across the whole region.
Unlike us, (huge area to cover by one federal government) each European state (small regions) tries to cater for their own sustainably regulations and rules and infrastructure, and in part do a very good job as you mentioned Sean.
But they certainly have had a good time to get this happening. They are in a good place as electric vehicles are now more prolific. They also pay incentives to the public to fit their own solar or wind generators for charging their own electric vehicles.

As I mentioned a while ago Volvo Group (Trucks) & the Daimler Group are in their second year of a 10 year joint venture to roll out truck charging infrastructure across and around Europe which is estimated to cost in the trillions of SEK by the time it is done. As I mentioned Volvo Group (trucks] has already stated that it will cease production of all ICE by 2050, and have at least 50% of all truck sales as BEV by 2030.
So they are well on the way to cater for the needs of electric truck recharging right across Europe.

Our demo BEV trucks here in Oz are proving to be quite good around town, as the regenerative braking (the moment the drivers foot lifts from the pedal, and the driving motor is then turned into a driven generator) is very high, thus keeping the batteries quite well charged, and nearly all work for a truck during the day does not require any recharging during their working day except for what the truck produces it’s self. Of course, the trucks are 100% topped up at night, and this may use coal fired generated electricity, or green sourced (usually solar) electricity, but that is up to the customer we have it on demo with.
Volvo Group (truck) at our head office facility in Wacol (which also includes a dealership and service centre directly next door) have now had over 3000 solar panels put onto its roof, and a large number of storage batteries so now our site is completely self sufficient, and in fact sells back to the grid, so all offices and workshop are 100% green, and all of our demo vehicles are also charged using 100% solar.

The issue at present is with our heavy duty prime mover BEV.
As they do have some form of regenerative braking around town, they have zero once they hit the highway.
This has been a major hurdle since the start. With no charging via regenerative braking, a big truck with a big load will run out within a few hundred kilometres, if not sooner if the driver is heavy footed.

Rigid trucks are bigger, longer so can carry bigger batteries, and modest weight carrying, where a prime mover is short so can’t fit bigger batteries required for the much larger weights they are needing to pull for longer distances.

Trailer manufacturers are coming to the party, and (I think I’ve spoken about this before) have on board generators via the (up to 6 hub groups) wheels being dragged or pulled along by the prime mover.
This may be the saving grace, of long distance heavy haul BEV in Australia.

All of these things I mention add weight to a vehicle, thus does effect the actual payload (or earning capacity) of the vehicles in question.
We are currently lobbying the federal government to allow higher GVM & GCM (Gross Vehicle Mass for a truck & Gross Combined Mass for a truck & trailer(s)) weights so the owner isn’t penalised with a less earning capacity of their truck.
We are also lobbying to have more GVM & GCM for safety systems, which will also include the ability to increase the maximum width of a truck (currently 2.5m) to cater for these. If they want the trucks to be safe and green, we need to be able to do these things, but not effect how much the owner can earn.
It’s a real juggling act.

So Sean.
Your first question.
Have they shot themselves in the foot?
In Europe, no, someone has to be the first and Volvo are usually it.
They do have the infrastructure to cater for this move.
They have done it, as this will then streamline their production of power train to one type, and not multiple.
I do think they have done the sums, and this will save them money, and of course Gretta will be their biggest fan girl.

Here, I do think (at present) it doesn’t look as rosy, for Volvo car making this move, but as I said someone has to be the pioneer.

I’m looking forward to seeing how this unfolds for them. I bet every other car OEM will also be watching them closely as well.
 
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Patrick_R

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Speaking of electric truck and cars, and now the soaring cost of electricity and gas, over the last 2 years I have been setting up my house to be very self sufficient, as possible getting ready for retirement which seems to be getting very close, very quickly 😫.
As a basic rule, anything in a house the creates a huge amount of heat, or a huge amount of cold is the most expensive user of energy.

With this in mind I did the following.
Install 1 x 6.5kW solar system two years ago.
This proved to be very good right from the start, and during the mild seasons, our energy costs were immediately reduced by 80%.
During winter & summer, this system helped but of course fully ducted air conditioning knocked it around.
So then I replaced the older air conditioning plant with a new 5 star rated inverter system which immediately used 60% less power and is smart phone app operated.
I replaced our older fridge with a new modern 5 star rated one, which by the plug in power meter I have used up to 85% less power than our 10 year old fridge.
I also sold our upright freezer, as the new fridge has a larger freezer capacity than the 20 year old one.
So 85% better refrigeration cost, and the deletion of a 20 year old high energy using freezer has made a massive difference.
I then replaced the old gas storage hot water system which unlike off peak electricity, simply reheated when the thermostat deemed so, with a new 6 star instantaneous gas hot water system, which only heats the water whenever the tap is turned on.
I estimate this has saved up to 90% in gas usage and cost, the unit that just bolts onto the wall was quite a bit more expensive than a gas storage tank, and the gas supply to the unit had to be upgraded, and an outdoor PowerPoint had to be installed, but it will pay for its self in no time. Not to mention, it simply does not work or use gas even while we are away, there is no pilot light anymore, as it is electric spark ignition.

We entertain quite a lot with our family, and our house is always the meeting place as our kids live in smaller flats & town houses.
We have had a Skope shop shop size fridge in the garage for over 20 years.
This fridge can hold four cases of beer per shelf, and It has 5 shelves. It also holds massive amounts of food for the big events like Christmas and Easter etc.
We used to turn it on and off based on when it was needed, but the old refrigeration unit being a commercial fridge used horrid amounts of power.

I contacted Skope, and they offered to trade in my 20 year old fridge for a new shop fridge that is now 90% more efficient then the old one.
It is also controlled by an app on my phone.
I can alter the temp, turn the lights on or off, or turn the fridge on or off if needed.
It has pre set refrigeration levels as this shop fridge can do many things.
The levels are;
Food 1-4 deg c
Chocolate 13-17
Flowers 3-6
Drinks 3-5
Beer 1-4
White wine 8-11
Red wine 15-19
Or a manual setting of your choice.
You type in the current amount of power you pay per kW/hour and the app will tell you how much per day the fridge costs to run.
It even shown me how many times the door is opened, and tells you the effect it has on the daily running cost.
If we are having people over, 24 hours before when food goes into the fridge I set it to the food or beer setting.
When not entertaining and there are only drinks in the fridge, I have it set to the flower setting.
The app shows me that the fridge will use between 15 cents for day set to flower, and 40 cents per day set to food, with multiple door openings per hour.
That’s pretty smart.
Also, when required, the entire refrigeration plant which is top mounted, can be fully removed, and replaced with a new, or Skope refurbished modular unit in 10 minutes. The old refrigeration unit was fully integrated into the fridge case/body itself so if any major component failed, it was a major disassembly procedure and repair over many days.

I also (a couple of years ago now) replaced nearly 50 x 55w halogen lights, with 10w LED lights.
That’s 2750W of power usage that will now only consume 500W of power usage if all turned on at once.

I also removed our entire 25 year old R2 rated roof insulation, and replaced it with new modern R6 insulation.

As the solar system proved successful since day one, 12 months ago I installed a second 6.5kW system.
Even panel technology has improved since the install of the first system to the second. System one had 24 panels to produce a total of 6.5kW, the second system has 18 to do the same thing. There are now a total of 42 panels.
It was also $400 cheaper.
An immediate result was our energy bills were always in credit, so a great result.
However in NSW we are limited to how much power we can sell back into the grid.
So our system was generating more than we use (during the mild seasons) and couldn’t sell all of this back to the grid.

So along came a battery system, that I have of course been studying for years, that is modular in 2.5kW, 5.5kW and 10kW modules that I felt would suit us, and the pricing was right.

To be able to use this power we can not sell, I installed a 5.5kW battery.
This system comes with smart app operation and monitoring. So I could see what it was doing right from the moment it was switched on.
The app will show me the immediate change and usage of power, the moment something is turned on or off in the house. The app also shows you your daily CO2 Reduction, virtual trees planted amount, self consumption amount, self sufficiency amount, total feed into the grid in kW/h and total grid consumption, if any.
It also shows me exactly what the panels are generating at a glance, and is a fully live reading. That means I can see exactly how the panels are performing, and you can see the immediate drop if the sun ducks behind a cloud.
But the good item it shows you is you enter in the total investment of the batteries (and solar cost if you like) and it calculates your total profit against investment.
At present of course it’s in negative, but it will eventually show you the positive amount you are in front of your original investment.

Our energy provider (AGL) provides daily usage and costs via their website, so I can check our usage the day after it is used. The graph shows what I’ve bought, and what I have sold via the grid. A really handy thing to see how you are going.

After a few weeks of monitoring, I have seen that the 5.5kW battery will be depleted in some circumstances and what is being used around 4am in the morning, then the system reverts to grid supply.
However due to the 42 panels, the fully depleted battery would be back to 100% by around 9:30am on a sunny day, so all power after that is sold into the grid, or runs the entire house fully.
We also only use the washing machine, and dishwasher during the day now, as the power is feee.

I then decided to install a second 5.5kW battery to cater for this, and now at 4am, the battery is roughly between 30-40% remaining out of its potential of 11kW.
The system deems that the discharge should not be less than 10% of its total capacity, which is what the manufacturer states as to ensure longevity of the battery packs themselves.

I have yet to see how this system will go in the full heat of summer, with the AC running, but the new AC system being so energy efficient, and the the solar system already runs the AC system fully on a sunny day, however it will be interesting to see how the battery stands up over night.
I already feel I will need to program the timing of the AC system during the night.

All in all, over a period of a couple of years, I have set ourselves up to be running off grid during the off seasons and with a minimal charge in peak seasons.

It has been a very good learning process, and an enjoyable project.

Watch this space 😊
 
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BenzBoy

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We are currently producing 8.24 kw from our solar panels and using 0.61 kw in the house. (12.30 pm on a sunny day).
Like you Patrick, we replaced the 20 year old aircon with a more efficient Daikin unit and replaced the 25 year old Miele wasning machine and dryer with more efficient units including a heat pump dryer from Miele. The end result is that electricity bills are now about 10% of what they were a year ago. We have not yet installed a domestic battery but that is probably next on the list.
Regards,
Brian
 
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Patrick_R

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What a terrific result with minimal input Brian.
Great work.
It’s nice to see that the homework we do pays off.
We used the Daikin system also.

Your usage of 0.61, is also very efficient.
My place sits between 0.5-0.8 depending if both fridges cycle in together and a bit higher if we have the big TV on as well.
 
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sean sherry

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Well Patrick, nobody could even think of applying the Luddite Label to you... In retirement . what a wonderful opportunity to set yourself up as an Energy Consultant !!!!
Thankyou for your time and effort to write your two informative Articles.
It has dawned on me, that as with the advances in vehicle design, the Domestic Appliance scene
has not been static. I have never given it a thought. Swopping out old Units now makes more sense. Repair costs make it doubly uneconomic...
 

c107

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The heat pump dryer had the biggest impact for us. Our power bills are now less than half just with that one change.

Granted, we have three young children that create a lot of washing and drying, so our washer and dryer were going most hours of the day.

We also have the 6.6Kw solar system and 10Kw battery, but we got it on a plan where we paid nothing to have them installed, but for the 1st 7 years we pay for all the electricity we use (regardless if from the grid, battery or panels) at a fixed rate. After 7 years we own the system and then just pay for what comes from the grid.
 

Patrick_R

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Well Patrick, nobody could even think of applying the Luddite Label to you... In retirement . what a wonderful opportunity to set yourself up as an Energy Consultant !!!!
Thankyou for your time and effort to write your two informative Articles.
It has dawned on me, that as with the advances in vehicle design, the Domestic Appliance scene
has not been static. I have never given it a thought. Swopping out old Units now makes more sense. Repair costs make it doubly uneconomic...
Sean,
It’s always good to pass on things learned.

I never thought much about the efficiency of appliances either, the kitchen fridge was the first item that brought new technology to my attention, and borrowing an in-line power usage meter, then it progressed from there.

I know nothing about heat pump dryers, as we very rarely use ours. As I predominantly work from home, I’m now the washing lady lol, so I can hang it all out and bring it in on good days.

Yes Bryce, there are certainly some good packages now out there that bundle solar and batteries together that are very affordable.
 
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