Volvo Trucks South Africa has started assembly of Euro 5 specification trucks at its plant in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal.
Euro 5 variants have been available in South Africa since 2012, but for the first time they will now be assembled locally.
“More customers have ambitions to improve their environmental footprint, which is driving the uptake of Euro 5 models locally,” says Eric Parry, Sustainability Manager at Volvo Trucks SA. “In general, the Euro 5 engines have a lower fuel consumption than an equivalent Euro 3 unit, which means that even though total costs are roughly the same because of the need for AdBlue diesel exhaust fluid on the vehicle, the CO² emissions are reduced with the lowering of fuel consumption. There is also the significant reduction in poisonous gases from the exhaust, which in turn improves the environment around the vehicle.”
Euro 5 assembly at the plant does not come at the expense of the production of the company’s current range, it is complementary. Volvo Trucks has initially started with the assembly of Euro 5 level FH truck-tractors, the company’s long-haul icon, as this is the model that customers are asking for. More models and configurations will be added over time as fleet owners require them.
“The need for local assembly also arose to reduce the import duty that is applied to full imports. This allows Volvo Trucks the opportunity to offer the cleaner technology in a more competitive way,” comments Parry.
Certain layout changes were made to the facility to accommodate AdBlue filling in trucks, as well as for storage. Additional floor layout adjustments were also done to allow for new procedures like the assembly of AdBlue tanks and special exhaust systems.
“Operators have also received advanced training to assemble the new features connected to the Euro 5 specifications. Specialised training was also provided for road testers and product auditors to ensure the highest standards are maintained throughout the assembly and QA processes,” explains Aubrey Rambau, Volvo Trucks plant director. “Quality is the basis of everything we do. From the way we design, manufacture and test our trucks, to the services, parts and people who support them.”
The Volvo Trucks plant has also recently installed a new solar power system to generate renewable energy for the facility. A total of 440 solar panels and two solar inverters will generate 243kW of power – approximately 60% of the energy needed for the plant.
“At Volvo, environmental care is fundamental to how we do business, and this project is another step in our energy efficiency journey,” says Rambau. “We believe in sustainable transport solutions. And we’re confident that our trucks, services and operations will lead the way there.”