Like everyone on the planet, this is not what we had planned for 2020 and is definitely not what we had envisioned for celebrating our 90th anniversary. It is safe to say that plans and goals for all aspects of life, from individual living to corporate operations, have changed. Not only has this change been drastic but it has been needed to be implemented in an incredibly short space of time. As movement restrictions clamped down across the world, people stepped up in order to keep essential services and key workers moving; and among these heroes, heavy duty vehicles stepped up too.
When we say “short space of time” that phrase under sells just exactly how rapid and unprecedented this operational shift was. In some countries the changes were announced with just one day to adjust to a new normal, with over 70% of the globe being impacted by some form of restriction movement restriction.
However, you can’t have absolutely everything grind to a halt. From food production, to medical supplies, to waste collection, essential infrastructure must continue to move to where it is needed most.
The shifting perception of the medium and heavy duty diesel vehicle has altered just as quickly, proportionate to demand.
Where the media was previously demonizing dirty diesel and people were calling for its outlawing, these vehicles are now being recognized as the backbone of many countries without which we would be experiencing a much more difficult situation.
What is coronavirus is teaching us?
Firstly, it is teaching us to be kinder to one another. It is teaching us that jobs that might once have been considered ‘low skilled’ like supermarket staff or waste collection became essential in an instant, and we should recognize how valuable these jobs are to society after the worst of this difficult time has passed.
It is also teaching us that the medium & heavy duty vehicle category is not as easily replaceable as previously demanded.
In some instances these vehicles are the only type that can perform a dedicated role such as emergency vehicles including fire and ambulance, construction, and farming. Diesel is also the ideal fuel type for doing long distance transportation and logistics responsibilities, as they use 15-20% less fuel compared to the same amount of petrol required for doing the same journey and producing less environmentally harmful C02 than petrol also.
Coronavirus is teaching us that we absolutely need these vehicles, they won’t just disappear once legislation changes, and they can’t just be replaced with petrol or electric systems either.
One could argue that it is logical that heavy duty is doing the heavy lifting. The vehicles are simply bigger so of course they can carry more over further distances for longer durations. And that is exactly why they are so essential.
A seismic shift has occurred in the use and treatment of these vehicles. In some instances driver-on-the-road time restrictions were relaxed slightly in order for them to deliver essential supplies as needed.
This is revealing that preventative maintenance, which increases vehicle up-time, is more critical than fixing issues as required which contributes to vehicle down time.
As the average passenger car garage will need to step up to servicing requirements resulting from lack of movement, the medium & heavy duty workshop are able to step up to the new requirements to keep these vehicles moving and keep the world turning.