What Ever Happened to the U.S. People's Convoy?
It’s been a while since we’ve covered the trucking protests and you might be wondering what happened with the U.S. People’s Convoy that emerged from the still-smoldering ashes of the Canadian Freedom Convoy. Well, it’s been circling Washington, D.C. for the last several weeks in the hope it can draw sufficient attention.
Unlike the Canadian-based convoy, which saw the government deploy armed men to clear demonstrations taking place in front of Ottawa’s Parliament Hill, the Americans have remained mobile to avoid getting cornered by authorities. Stationed out of Hagerstown Speedway in Maryland, truckers have established a base of operations where they can service vehicles whenever they’re not on the Beltway protesting. Drone shots from above have indicated that there are usually a few hundred trucks parked at the racetrack each morning, though videos from inside show evening returns including hundreds more supportive passenger vehicles. While journeys into the city do take place, they typically involve a handful of trucks designed to make some noise before quickly retreating to avoid being penned in.
People's Convoy Rolls On Washington, Freedom Convoy Regrouping
On Wednesday, American truckers commenced a cross-country drive from California to Washington, D.C., to petition governments (local, state, and especially federal) to end all COVID-19 mandates. Known as The People’s Convoy, the group was inspired by the Canadian Freedom Convoy that was broken up over the weekend and effectively serves to spread its message within the United States.
The goal is to arrive in the capital early in March to pressure the Biden Administration into ending any formal federal emergencies pertaining to the pandemic. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has approved a request from the District of Columbia government and the U.S. Capitol police for 700 National Guard troops, widespread fencing, and 50 armored vehicles in anticipation.
Industry Begins Blaming the Bridge, Truckers in Ottawa
With the Ambassador Bridge having been cleared by police over the weekend, those protesting government mandates have literally been relegated to the sidelines. Canadian officers from a variety of departments, including Ontario Provincial Police, are now situated at relevant intersections and Windsor, Ontario, has declared a state of emergency in case demonstrators return.
But don’t think the story is over. The trucker blockade certainly caused trouble for the automotive sector and it suddenly seems interested in rolling the event into the industry’s ever-expanding list of excuses. Now that the rigs have all been removed, spokespeople have been chiming in and they’re being presented as rather single-minded on the matter. They want more assistance from the government to quash any protests that might impact their bottom line and are happy to have something else to blame for why the broader industry remains in such a pitiful state.
Freedom Convoy Update: Truckers Are Winning
The Freedom Convoy that originated in Canada last month has gained an incredible amount of momentum, garnering loads of support from citizens around the world. Sympathetic protests seem to be erupting everywhere while the original group of truckers remains planted on the streets of Ottawa to demand an end to government mandates. But honking at Parliament Hill for two weeks was only a portion of the convoy’s grand strategy.
Large groups of truckers have broken off to create blockades at meaningful border crossings, gaining control of North America’s already ailing supply lines. The most recent example resulted in the taking of the Ambassador Bridge in Detroit, an essential trade crossing for both the United States and Canada. Truckers have held the bridge for five days and automakers have begun announcing shutdowns due to supply issues. Meanwhile, the Canadian government has begun discussing an end to lockdown measures after failing to stop the protests and other nations appear poised to follow in its footsteps.
Canadian Trucker Protests Continue, Aussies Launch 'Convoy to Canberra'
With supply lines being of particular importance these days, truckers are leveraging their role to encourage government to see things their way. Canada’s Freedom Convoy reached Ottawa on Friday to demand officials end pandemic-related restrictions it believes are wreaking havoc on the economy and the protests have yet to stop.
While this all started with U.S. and Canadian truckers urging the government to abandon border restrictions that forced all drivers to be vaccinated and confirmed as COVID free (starting January 15th) or be forced to quarantine for 14 days, activists are now asking Ottawa to abandon all mandates or prepare itself for worsening disruptions to already ailing supply chains. They’ve since been joined by Australian truckers, who have formed the ‘Convoy to Canberra’ for similar reasons. Future demonstrations are also being prepared for the United States.
Nikola Delivers Electric Semi Trucks in California
Having recently posted an article highlighting some of Nikola’s bad behavior, it’s only fair that the company receives some acknowledgment for delivering on a promise. Last week, the company shipped the first examples of its Tre battery-electric trucks in California.
Two test vehicles were issued to Total Transportation Services Inc. (TTSI) to see how the Tre handles running deliveries in and out of Los Angeles and Long Beach ports. The trucking firm has a letter of intent from Nikola to purchase 100 trucks following a trial program of two Tre BEVs and their fuel-cell (FCEV) counterparts once the latter is in production.
European Truck Manufacturers Ending ICE Production in 2040
An alliance of European truck manufacturers have pledged to stop selling vehicles that produce any emissions by 2040 — pushing up its previous target date by a full decade.
The group, which includes Daimler, Scania, Man, Volvo, Daf, Iveco, and Ford, have all signed a pledge to focus on developing hydrogen and battery technologies so that petroleum-derived propulsion can be phased out of the trucking industry.
Volkswagen Throws Down in Bid to Buy Navistar, Create Heavy Truck Giant
When they’re not preparing to sell an ultra luxury super car brand or creating a new line of electric vehicles, they’re planning a big time merger for a larger piece of the heavy-duty truck market.
It’s only gonna cost them a few billion dollars.
American States Join Forces to Promote Electric Trucking
A bundle of U.S. states and the District of Columbia unveiled a joint memorandum of understanding on Tuesday targeting the proliferation of medium and heavy-duty electric vehicles.
News of the agreement comes less than a month after the California Air Resources Board (CARB) showed off a policy that would legally obligate manufacturers to sell an increasing number of zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) from 2024 onward. That plan aims to basically eliminate diesel-powered semis by 2045, though the new memorandum has its sights set on 2050.
Hauling In California? That Rig Had Better Be Green
The California Air Resource Board (CARB) just passed a mandate that will require manufacturers of big rigs, heavy duty pickups, and some construction equipment to adhere to new zero-emission quotas and a carbon-credit system.
As all-electric 18-wheelers are in short supply, California wants to wait a few years to put the new rules into play. Still, it’s eager to get the ball rolling so it can start replacing diesel-driven transport with something from the battery-electric section. It also gives the state another opportunity to pat itself on the back despite not having any clue whether or not the strategy is economically sustainable. Even with battery technology moving at a fair clip, there’s a lot of engineering left to be done before these types of vehicles can become commonplace.
Waymo Refocuses on Semis, Heads Back to Phoenix for Testing
Alphabet’s Waymo probably operates the most successful autonomous fleet in North America right now. While we can debate its technical prowess versus its rivals forever, it’s still one of the only companies offering a commercial taxi service using autonomous vehicles in North America. It also has an enviable safety record.
The company has also worked on adapting the technology for Class 8 trucks, testing such units previously in California, Atlanta, and Arizona. Recently, the company tweeted that self-driving semis would soon return for more testing in Phoenix — where it runs its Pacifica-based early rider program — as the company places a renewed emphasis on their development.
Rare Rides: An International Truck Experience With the 2008 MXT
The Rare Rides series doesn’t often venture into Tough Trucks land, but when it does, it goes all the way. Before you is the International MXT, a practical pickup from the semi truck people.
EPA to Resume Enforcement of 'Glider Truck' Rules
The new acting administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Andrew Wheeler, has jackknifed former EPA head Scott Pruitt’s decision to quit enforcing the strict sales limits imposed on glider trucks.
If you’re unfamiliar with the term, they’re basically new heavy commercial trucks that use old powertrains. Advocates argue that using refurbished engines and transmissions save business owners loads of cash and promote recycling, since the internals would likely end up in a scrapyard. However, many complain that glider trucks simply exist to circumvent emissions regulations.
During President Obama’s tenure, the EPA said that if gliders were allowed through 2025, they would make up a scant five percent of the freight vehicles on the road — but would account for one third of all nitrogen oxides and particulate emissions from the heavy truck fleet. A crackdown was inevitable.
New Video Footage Proves Tesla's Semi Is Needlessly Fast
Footage of Tesla’s electric semi truck has been circulating around the internet all month — proving the vehicle is more tangible than some might have previously argued. There appears to be at least two test platforms milling around California right now, and one of them is laying rubber on low-speed industrial roads.
While we’re not sure of the logistical merits of an electric semi offering blisteringly fast cab-only acceleration, Tesla’s truck certainly looks capable of trouncing your average bobtailed hauler. There’s even video evidence to back up this claim. However, fleet managers won’t give a rat’s ass about this, as it has nothing to do with optimizing efficiency.
Stopping Short: Tesla's Electric 'Long-hauler' Rumored to Have a Maximum Range Under 300 Miles
Tesla Motors will be dabbling in the commercial freight industry when it unveils its electric semi-trailer next month. But, with news of it only possessing a 200- to 300-mile range between charges, dabbling may be a best-case-scenario. Diesel-powered rigs traditionally run in excess of 1,300 miles between stops, even though they also go through hundreds of gallons of fuel in the process. And it’s all that burned fuel that makes the concept of an electric tractor-trailer so appetizing to the trucking industry.
However, the EV prototype “long-hauler” won’t be fit for cross-country trips due to its limited range — meaning the inevitable Smokey and the Bandit remake probably isn’t going to have the Bandit or Snowman driving Teslas.