A GROWING ATTRACTION
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The Solutrans exhibition in Lyon began as a trailer show, but now the presence of almost all European truck, trailer and van manufacturers makes it a challenger for the title of premier French commercial vehicle show.
Tim de Jong reports.
Interest in longer, heavier vehicle (LHV) combinations is growing in France, and this was a key theme at Solutrans.The French Road Haulage Association had France's biggest trailer manufacturer, Samro, build three B-double configurations to elicit reactions from show visitors. It even made a triple-double container train, capable of carrying three 2Oft containers.There was also a fifth concept on display, a car transporter made by Iohr.
Danish and Dutch transport officials were shown on video, talking about the so far encouraging results of testing these vehicles in traffic.
In France, the term for LHV is EMS (European Modular System), emphasising the intention of vehicles to cross the country instead of staying in France. It was clear to the French that EMS trucks would not only improve domestic logistics hut also inflict less environmental damage on the country than road trains in transit to Spain.
The French are more receptive to innovation now their operators are not undertaking much international work — the 35-hour working week has made French drivers some of the best paid and least efficient in Europe.The French transport department is waiting to find out how amenable the new president, Nicolas Sarkozy, will he to establishing a new driving test for EMS, following Holland and Denmark's examples, Euro-4 and Euro-5 are not yet well known terms in the French transport business.There are no incentives for French operators to upgrade their engines, as there are in Germany, Holland and , soon, Britain.The Solutrans organisers did their bit to remedy this —seminars were held to explain the latest technology for a cleaner future. •