Smart trucking is the name of the game UD Trucks Southern Africa is working on in the process of refining its line-up in order to give logistics and transport operators the best route tyo tackle industry challenges and to sweeten the bottom line using smart logistics.
To this end it has added eight new Quester derivatives to its extra heavy commercial vehicle range, bringing the total number of Quester options to 18.
“Quester highlights UD Trucks’ unwavering commitment of ‘Going the Extra Mile’ for our customers’ businesses,” says Gert Swanepoel, managing director of UD Trucks Southern Africa. “Building on the range’s proven robustness and reliability in the region, Quester introduces key features that are set to help fleet’s fuel efficiency, productivity, safety and uptime.”
These new features include ESCOT automated manual transmissions, engines with higher horsepower and user-friendly telematics as standard across the range.
During the launch, Håkan Karlsson, president, Group Trucks Asia & JVs, said Quester comes from the best of three worlds: UD Trucks’ strong Japanese heritage and craftsmanship, the Group’s innovative technology, as well as quality local manufacturing and customer support.
“UD Trucks is recognised for pioneering new innovations within the Japanese trucks segment, and Quester is testament to our global industry leadership,” says Karlsson.
Since 1995, UD Trucks has delivered more than 80 000 trucks with ESCOT automated manual transmission around the world.
“We are humbled by the tremendous confidence and recognition the Quester line has earned since it was originally introduced in South Africa in 2015. With the game-changing Quester, we believe we are reinforcing the legacy of being the truck brand that our customers want to partner with,” says Swanepoel.
Being part of one of the largest commercial vehicle manufacturers in the world, UD Trucks was able to utilise the company’s global resources, as well as design, technical and manufacturing expertise from across the globe in order to develop the Quester range to exacting standards.
Quester is on the forefront of UD Trucks’ global aspirations of being a modern smart truck supplier, which excels on the essentials while retaining its inherent Japanese heritage.
“Globally, we have spent 1,5-million engineering hours and 65 000 test hours to ensure Quester delivers on its promises in actual operating conditions,” says Swanepoel. “Our local engineering division undertook numerous hours of local testing to ensure Quester is Africa-tough and performs according to regional fleet owners’ business requirements.”
Fuel costs typically constitute 40% of operating costs for fleet operators.
To boost productivity and profitability for business owners and logistics companies, Quester achieves enhanced fuel efficiency of up to 10% compared to the current Quester with the 12-speed ESCOT automated manual transmission, lighter tare weight and optimised driveline, depending on the operating condition, driving behaviour and vehicle maintenance.
ESCOT includes specific software that optimises gear shifting according to engine rev, vehicle speed, loading weight and even road gradient. This smart system also includes a sensor that will select the optimum gear automatically instead of assuming a first gear selection.
Quester’s enhanced fuel efficiency also aligns with an increased focus on environmentally-friendly regulations to curb fuel consumption. Quester achieves fuel economy and quality standards for Extra Heavy vehicles of Euro 3 to Euro 4 according to local regulations, effectively reducing its overall carbon footprint.
Quester increases overall drivability and safety for drivers with features that focus on increasing their comfort levels and reducing driver fatigue. In addition, to combat the global driver shortage challenge, Quester makes the driving experience more seamless and comfortable, which is key to enticing more drivers into the industry and retaining them for longer.
“This is a major obstacle for transport companies around the world. In South Africa, it is estimated the country needs an additional 15 000 new truck drivers each year, but this target continues to be woefully unmet,” says Swanepoel.
A game changer in the transportation business, Quester with ESCOT automatically selects the optimal gear at the right time, based on the specific operating conditions. This takes away the need for manual gear shifting, which depending on the transportation operations, happens 1 000 to 1 500 times a day.
Automatic gear selection also ensures every driver on Quester can focus on the safe operation of the vehicle.
Driver fatigue continues to be a serious industry challenge, contributing up to 20% of road accidents in the world. To address this, Quester is developed with an air suspended cab and ride comfort package with reduced cab vibrations up to 18%. A driver’s comfort is also enhanced with ergonomic seats and lumber support for long-distance assignments.
In line with elevating business success through Smart Logistics, Quester supports effective fleet management and driver performance with innovative customer telematics such as real-time vehicle tracking and geofencing for better fleet visibility and optimisation.
Such smart connectivity features support the increasing trend of new logistics delivery solutions that are offered by technology and local start-up companies in South Africa.
Quester trucks are equipped with UD Telematics, which has the capability to connect directly to UD Trucks workshops to monitor and detect each vehicle’s condition and service needs before a potential emergency occurs. Preventive maintenance analysis guides customers with monthly driving behaviour and fuel consumption reports, ensuring higher uptime and more optimal fuel economy over time.
Owners of Quester also enjoy increased uptime with a 2,5 to 3 times longer clutch life span under ESCOT automated manual transmission, compared to fully manual transmissions’ clutch replacement depending on the operating condition, driving behaviour and vehicle maintenance.
UD Trucks’ three power options (370, 390 and 440 hp) are designed with fuel-efficiency and performance in mind. The engines were specifically developed with wide torque bands to adjust to all operating conditions such as high-traffic scenarios, as well as for operations on tarred and gravel roads, and of course for cruising conditions.
The 11-litre GH11E is a fuel-efficient engine with high capacity. As a result, it is among other things suitable for tanker, bulk goods, regional long-haul distribution and light construction where both performance and fuel economy are crucial factors.
Driveability is excellent thanks to the broad torque range. The engine timing mechanism is at the rear of the engine, which leads to less vibration and permits a rear-mounted power take-off.
The engines’ various functions are controlled entirely electronically by EMS (Engine Management System), which contributes to low fuel consumption and low exhaust emissions. The system also offers advanced scope for diagnostics and fault-tracing. The GH11E is available with UD EEB (Extra Engine Brake) as an option. This provides considerable braking moment, which improves safety and reduces wheel brake wear.
Fleet owners are constantly looking for new ways to transport more cargo on every run, without the worry that the added capacity will compromise the truck’s safety.
The chassis frame forms the backbone of Quester as it is dimensioned to provide stability, payload capacity and long-life performance. The frame is made from cold-formed steel and produced in a rolling form process that gives the chassis extended strength and flexibility.
By having a wide product range and many available wheelbases, Quester can maximise the payload depending on the application and business needs of fleet owners. Due to the robust design and axles, Quester is intended to operate at high Gross Combination Weight (GCW) to give it a competitive load carrying capacity.
The potential of Quester lies in its versatility. The range offers customisation for a variety of adaptions that will suit varied transport requirements. For example, Quester is designed for ease of superstructure installation with comprehensive bodybuilder instructions and drawings. The parallel side members, designed bodybuilder mounts and a range of power take-offs add to the ease of installation.
Ultimately, Quester addresses the top concerns every fleet owner may have, namely fuel consumption, durability, productivity and maintenance in a smart and modern fashion,” says Swanepoel. “Quester will take UD customers that extra mile every time.”