Welcome to 2013! Contrary to indications based on the calendar put together by the Mayans a while back, we’re still here and still trucking in 2013.

Progress continues and in an update to changes being considered by governments at State and the Federal level we talked about in our last update, recent reports indicate a national plan to move to a standard ‘big truck’ size for Australia, which would be the 35m long modular B-triple.

The idea is to reduce the overall number of trucks on the roads by increasing capacity, in turn lowering pollution and reducing the road toll. A series of research papers published since 2006 has made a strong case for reform, with the modular B-triple size chosen as the best standard option.

The modular B-triple is not as long as the road train style A-doubles and standard B-triples currently running on remote routes at the moment, but it has the advantage of being able to be converted into a 26m long B-double for use in outer metropolitan areas, which is the main advantage – it will be able to travel on more roads than current big trucks.

There are two obstacles to the plan: the first is the need to upgrade the major interstate routes to cope with the new trucks, and the Hume Highway connection between Sydney and Brisbane will be a priority (the coastal Pacific Highway is too far short of requirements).

The second obstacle will be public opinion – despite the fact that B-doubles when they were introduced, boosted road safety, public perception is still of the view that larger trucks are less safe.

Dubbed ‘HPVs’ or ‘Higher Productivity Vehicles’ in the plans, the new trucks are claimed to be safer as they’re more stable than current types. It’s unlikely the new trucks will find their way on to Australia’s roads until 2014. We still have not yet seen any applications come in for truck finance for modular B triple rigs, but we’ll be waiting for when they do.

It will take a car travelling at 110kmh 14 seconds to overtake one of the new trucks travelling at 100kmh, but with fewer trucks on the road, it’s a maneuver you won’t have to do as often in the future.

Aren’t Fiats small cars?

In a publicity stunt for the new Fiat Panda 4×4 in Europe, the company has put out an ad featuring a Panda ‘monster truck’. It’s real, not a CGI model, based on a Jeep CJ7 4200 floorplan with 1.5m road tractor wheels and is 4m high. At this stage, Fiat has no plans to put its monster truck into production. Pity.

Watch the video here: http://youtu.be/XPMtlRCO8Xc

Image Credit: LukeRobinson1