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View Poll Results: Should our trucks get more power similar to Semis?
Yes, Absolutely. 158 44.89%
No, its dangerous. 108 30.68%
I need more insight before i make my decision. 86 24.43%
Voters: 352. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 27th September 2022, 13:04   #1
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Default Under-powered Indian trucks driving too slowly in the fast lane

Ever faced an issue while driving our highways where the Truck occupying the right lane is doing 35, and is being overtaken by another truck on the left doing 36 and you are stuck behind it for go knows how long and getting raged by the minute?

You are not alone.

This is a common theme in most threads, and a large contributor to many accidents, road rages and also delays caused by long snaking line of trucks on our highways.

Driving down the semi completed Bengaluru - Mysuru expressway got me thinking on a couple of the major issues faced by our Truck drivers.

Our trucks carry 70% of the cargo in our country.
Average daily kms travelled by our trucks are 350kms as compared to 500-600kms done by our american truckers.
Our trucks are mostly overloaded with no way to get it checked.

Root cause:
Our trucks are underpowered for the job on hand.

Let me explain:
Tata 4825 specs - 6.7Lts - 6 cylinder making 250HP and 950NM of torque with a payload of 38000kg and mileage of 3.5kmpl

In comparison - Class 8 semi Diesel engine has better torque and hauling power. 14.8liter, 6 cylinder, upto 560HP and 1850lbs and regularly passed 1 million miles and are meant to run non stop. It is able to haul 80000 pounds which is roughly the same load.

The reason i started this thread is not to belittle our trucks, but to find the reasons we are stretching our trucks to its limits? I want to understand if this can change and how can this change to maybe improve how our goods are transported.

Two reasons off the top of my head - Price and Mileage. Is there something i am missing?

Fleet owners or truck owners please contribute. Let the lessons begin.

Maddy
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Old 27th September 2022, 13:39   #2
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Default re: Under-powered Indian trucks driving too slowly in the fast lane

Where are the big and long uninterrupted roads like America in our country? Where are the drivers who know the rules and follow them? Where are the authorities to make sure rules are followed without corruption? Everyone here is in a hurry but no one cares about logic. So doesn't make sense to compare their Trucks with ours.
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Old 27th September 2022, 14:05   #3
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Default re: Under-powered Indian trucks driving too slowly in the fast lane

My limited knowledge on Indian trucking says that the engines used by Tata, Ashok Leyland etc, especially for heavy trucks, are all based on legacy designs and are simply not capable of producing the kind of figures found on large American semis. Then there is the point of acceptance and continuity in the Indian market - people are accepting relatively underpowered trucks and have been making do with that since forever. They have worked on improving the looks and the cabins - the Prima cabins on the new gen Tata trucks look stunning. But the lard under the hood has not kept pace with time. Don’t think they actually make the engines for their largest trucks themselves either, they are sourced from the likes of Cummins.

Trucking requirements are changing quickly nowadays with increasing speeds, distances and especially with better roads. There has to be demand for high power trucks for long routes. Only a matter of time before we start seeing such machines on our roads.

Last edited by Shreyans_Jain : 27th September 2022 at 14:09.
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Old 27th September 2022, 14:34   #4
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Default re: Under-powered Indian trucks driving too slowly in the fast lane

The US has a minimum speed requirement on their vehicles and hence even though the vehicles such as Ford or Chevy pickups are much more powerful, the allowed load is significantly less compared to Indian commercial vehicles so that they can maintain those highway speeds. I have seen some foreigners surprised to see the load capacity of Tata Ace but what they never know is how slow these vehicles will go with the full load and on an incline.
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Old 27th September 2022, 14:54   #5
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Default re: Under-powered Indian trucks driving too slowly in the fast lane

Legal minimum speed requirement is the single biggest reason. If the speed limit is 65 mph, most US states allow +/- 5 mph deviation from that speed. Slow vehicles get fined for holding up traffic.

And states like Texas have 80 mph highways where everyone drives at 90 mph practically. A truck has to be powerful enough to keep up at such speeds.

In city/town roads, if you're in a 25 mph zone, you're supposed to keep moving at 25 mph at a bare minimum. In 35 mph roads, you can go no lower than 30 mph.
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Old 27th September 2022, 16:49   #6
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Default re: Under-powered Indian trucks driving too slowly in the fast lane

Quote:
Originally Posted by maddy42 View Post
The reason i started this thread is not to belittle our trucks, but to find the reasons we are stretching our trucks to its limits? I want to understand if this can change and how can this change to maybe improve how our goods are transported.

Two reasons off the top of my head - Price and Mileage. Is there something i am missing?
I've thought on this point for a long long time & thus have given up thinking. Why?
Simple - In a country like India, even if we had 1000 HP truck that can comfortable haul 100 tonnes, our people will add another 50 more tonnes to make it lame, thus circling back to:
Quote:
Originally Posted by maddy42 View Post
Root cause:
Don't believe me? The juggad on Tata Ace outsells Ace XL!!
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Old 27th September 2022, 16:59   #7
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Default re: Under-powered Indian trucks driving too slowly in the fast lane

Quote:
Originally Posted by amvj View Post
I have seen some foreigners surprised to see the load capacity of Tata Ace but what they never know is how slow these vehicles will go with the full load and on an incline.
Quote:
Originally Posted by aargee View Post
Simple - In a country like India, even if we had 1000 HP truck that can comfortable haul 100 tonnes, our people will add another 50 more tonnes to make it lame, thus circling back to:

Don't believe me? The juggad on Tata Ace outsells Ace XL!!
We love to overload our vehicles. I own a Tata Ace and its a mechanics magnet and terrible on hilly roads. The third gear with a load is at a max speed of 35 and the first gear takes a uphill at 15!

Reason we bought it was it was at a throwaway price used and would serve transporting people on the farm. Now i realise its a money pit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by locusjag View Post
Legal minimum speed requirement is the single biggest reason. If the speed limit is 65 mph, most US states allow +/- 5 mph deviation from that speed. Slow vehicles get fined for holding up traffic.

And states like Texas have 80 mph highways where everyone drives at 90 mph practically. A truck has to be powerful enough to keep up at such speeds.
Enforcement would help improve the situation further. Here you can do any speeds on our roads. 5kms talking on your phone in a motorcycle or 150 in your fortuner.

Its not like there are no options available. The comfort factor for the driver is the least of the owners consideration.

I am curious to see the perspective from the truck owners perspective, as we need to put our money where the mouth is.
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Old 27th September 2022, 17:07   #8
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Default re: Under-powered Indian trucks driving too slowly in the fast lane

Quote:
Originally Posted by maddy42 View Post
Root cause:
Our trucks are underpowered for the job on hand.
As aargee mentioned, the root cause is not exactly trucks being underpowered, but overloading them, way above their rated capacity. Stricter law enforcement is something which can help here.
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Old 27th September 2022, 17:32   #9
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Default re: Under-powered Indian trucks driving too slowly in the fast lane

Apart from the reasons mentioned above, the question is would the customer be ready to pay the elevated cost because the operator is using updated equipment ie if an operator gets a world class powerful truck and is able to deliver his cargo faster/better/fresher

- Would there be significant difference in delivery times considering our roads, inter state border procedures (not sure post GST implementation), traffic police stops for checking (Do costlier trucks have to pay more), driver stops etc

- How long would it take the operator to recover his cost and start making profits considering his competition still uses outdated, lower cost trucks + Overloading but is able to provide a better price to the customer with not so significant timelines etc

- If the customer any special consideration cargo and is ready to pay, why not rail or Air cargo which i am assuming would be much faster.

Any operator is doing business to make a profit and until its favorable for them to spend more to earn more, why would he. I definitely wouldn't
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Old 27th September 2022, 17:45   #10
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Default re: Under-powered Indian trucks driving too slowly in the fast lane

Wait, give way and cautiously follow the hurrying lunatic, who flashes and blows his spaceship's horns till Jupiter until that goods vehicle finishes it's overtake. Similarly, a quandary you'll find yourselves in while driving on Kerala's crowded two-lane highways - good ol' Jumbo is taking his own sweet time to climb the uphill road and has garnered, what looks like, a rather long queue of devoted but actually frustrated ant subjects.

I don't see any easy or quick solutions for this. Besides our driving tests, these are just some of the other tests of patience we'll need to pass.

Last edited by lonetraveller89 : 27th September 2022 at 17:46.
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Old 27th September 2022, 17:46   #11
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Default re: Under-powered Indian trucks driving too slowly in the fast lane

Quote:
Originally Posted by maddy42 View Post
Enforcement would help improve the situation further. Here you can do any speeds on our roads. 5kms talking on your phone in a motorcycle or 150 in your fortuner.
Yes! Yes! Oh yes - I was thinking about this the other day. Why not have roving traffic police squads on wheels to fine erring motorists? Gadkari had broached the idea 5 years ago actually, to have roving traffic squads that will be manned by ex-servicemen, equipped with body cams.

The costs for men, body cams and machines will be surpassed very quickly by the fines collected in our country.

The problem is Policing is a state topic i think in India. Gadkari can't do anything for all the states by himself.
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Old 27th September 2022, 18:30   #12
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Default re: Under-powered Indian trucks driving too slowly in the fast lane

Voted yes, but not for just increasing the power output and leaving it at that. The number of times I've personally seen the flow of traffic impacted by two trucks overtaking another at 50, 51 and 52 km/h respectively is very high. However, just more power won't suffice; a speed governer is also needed, along with other improvements.

Trucks in India should be able to cruise at safe highway speeds effortlessly, not just be able to hit them at full throttle on a downward gradient; and that's it. We don't have autobahns in India, so our trucks don't need to allowed speeds suited for them either.

Overloading is the primary issue, which needs to be solved. More power without education about safe driving, lane discipline and a speed governer (at around 80-100 kmh) along with more powerful brakes and a better suspension will just increase fatalities due to speeding trucks. Semis in the US are powerful, but still governed at 65 mph most of the time.

In India, fuel economy is a requirement high on the list, hence the fuel economy of the more powerful engines needs to at least remain unaffected or see an improvement. This needs us to move on from the aging engine technology currently in use.

The issue is, all of this costs money, money that buyers may not be willing to pay. So, this hurdle also needs to be overcome. Either that or the benefits of faster delivery times and fewer accidents (only possible if all the above criteria are met) must be great enough to allow operators to break even on the initial investment within a reasonable time frame.

Last edited by GForceEnjoyer : 27th September 2022 at 18:45.
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Old 27th September 2022, 18:34   #13
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Default re: Under-powered Indian trucks driving too slowly in the fast lane

Quote:
Originally Posted by locusjag View Post
Why not have roving traffic police squads on wheels to fine erring motorists?... Gadkari had broached the idea 5 years ago actually, to have roving traffic squads that will be manned by ex-servicemen, equipped with body cams.

The costs for men, body cams and machines will be surpassed very quickly by the fines collected in our country
That is even more expensive!! Instead simply release an app to be installed on smart phone without an option to edit or perhaps tamper proof on recorded videos (with the swarming population in our country, will come in handy much more than traffic)

Citizens upload the video on to Cloud & issue automatic challans. Anyway these days name & mobile numbers are always associated with RC. Every day/week/month follow-up vigorously with the top 20% offenders based on the value of fine.

More innovation? Implement an incentive based system by adding the commission to the traffic offense; same app as above, but with validity bound that can be extended based on ratings/fee. Provides income for ordinary citizens & govt, paid by traffic offenders!!

May be employ a collection agency to collect the fine from respective offenders? That's phase 2 perhaps or an AI system for phase 3?

Last edited by aargee : 27th September 2022 at 18:36.
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Old 27th September 2022, 19:17   #14
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Default re: Under-powered Indian trucks driving too slowly in the fast lane

A report from HT.

"An International Monetary Fund (IMF) working paper published in May ranked India 127th among 162 countries in terms of speed of road transport."

The mean road speed in India is 58 KMPH, that of USA is 107 KMPH.

Link to Article

Solution to slow trucks.

Just be patient and drive around them, even the cheapest car on sale is a better place to be than a truck.
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Old 27th September 2022, 19:59   #15
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Default re: Under-powered Indian trucks driving too slowly in the fast lane

Quote:
Originally Posted by GForceEnjoyer View Post
Voted yes, but not for just increasing the power output and leaving it at that. However, just more power won't suffice; a speed governer is also needed, along with other improvements.

Overloading is the primary issue, which needs to be solved.

In India, fuel economy is a requirement high on the list, hence the fuel economy of the more powerful engines needs to at least remain unaffected or see an improvement.

The issue is, all of this costs money, money that buyers may not be willing to pay. So, this hurdle also needs to be overcome. Either that or the benefits of faster delivery times and fewer accidents
Speed governors are present and trucks have a yearly Fitness certificate charade which occurs where the RTO lines their pocket and blasts the driver if he does not wear a khaki shirt.

Your other points of Overloading, Fuel economy and Cost are valid.

There are a percentage of owner operators where the higher powered trucks are too pricey, but the fleet operated trucks are where the target of a higher power may need a justification of better productivity.

I am not justifying a truck to fly past you at a 100. Just saying when the terrain gets tough for the truck to have a ability to pull through at a decent speed rather then crawling.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kosfactor View Post
"An International Monetary Fund (IMF) working paper published in May ranked India 127th among 162 countries in terms of speed of road transport."

The mean road speed in India is 58 KMPH, that of USA is 107 KMPH.

Solution to slow trucks.

Just be patient and drive around them, even the cheapest car on sale is a better place to be than a truck.
As we are in the commercial vehicle space i bought this topic up. Think about the life of the driver of the truck for a change. Wont a slightly higher powered truck get him to and from his goods destination to his family quicker?

We are the 5th or 6th largest economy with our trucks bearing the brunt of our logistics, driving around at 127th place in the world. I would be curious to know which are the countries behind us.
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