7.5 tonners have been the workhorses of the UK economy for many years and are always popular buyer’s choice at Truckpages.
Always popular for local distribution, a 7.5 tonne box truck or curtainsider is relatively easy to navigate the urban environment but with a significant load volume.
As operators can choose from a wide variety of bodies to be fitted to their trucks – even after the European Whole Vehicle Type Approval has removed some of the choice – you can find 7.5 tonnes box vans with body lengths from as short as 14ft and as long as 26 feet. A typical, average length would be 20 to 21 feet.
The body length is dependent upon the wheelbase length as the overhang over the rear axle is important – nobody wants to see a truck performing a wheelie!
Again, heights are variable – there’s no point in having a tall box body if your payload is a heavy one, as it will create unnecessary wind resistance because you will never be able to fill it up!
When talking about 7.5 tonne tippers, body lengths are typically much shorter – you will normally see a 14ft to 16ft tipper body on a 7.5 tonne chassis, whilst dropsides and flatbeds are typically longer – especially those designed specifically for scaffolding work.
Here’s the problem with 7.5 tonne trucks – the payloads are not very good. A standard DAF LF with a day cab has an unladen weight of between 3.3 and 3.5 tonnes, depending on the wheelbase (there are no fewer than eight to choose from). That leaves about 4 tonnes for the body, driver and fuel. The overall payload depends on the weight of the body, the ancillaries, (like tail lifts, refrigerated units etc.) but in general, it means that you will be looking at a payload of around 3 tonnes to get to the 7.5 tonnes GVW (Gross Vehicle Weight).
When you compare this to a less popular 12 tonne truck, which looks almost identical to the 7.5 tonne version and weighs in at just 300kgs more, you will be able to carry 4 tonnes more than the 7.5 tonner! Most of this will be down to larger wheels and tyres – the only easy way to spot the difference these days.
So why are the 7.5 tonne trucks so popular?
The answer is that they are a lot less popular than they were 20 or so years ago. This is all down to a change in driver licencing rules.
If a driver completed their driving test prior to 1996 then they have the automatic right to drive a 7.5 tonne truck. However – to drive one professionally, they will still need to have a driver CPC. What this does mean is that there is still a relatively large pool of drivers who are able to drive at 7.5 tonnes, but not a t 12 tonnes GVW.
The other reason for the decline in the 7.5 tonne truck market is operators are either upsizing or downsizing their vehicles. We have seen that 7.5 tonnes is not terribly efficient, but operating at 18 tonnes is the most efficient way – compared to a 16 tonner, for example.
Equally if you don’t want the hassle of obtaining an operator’s licence (compulsory for vehicles over 3.5 tonnes GVW) then use a 3.5 tonne GVW van (like a Transit, for example) which can be driven by any car driver without a CPC.
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