Under-powered Indian trucks driving slowly in the fast lane

The average daily km travelled by our trucks is 350 kms as compared to 500-600 km done by American truckers.

BHPian maddy42 recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

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 lines of trucks on our highways.

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

Our trucks carry 70% of the cargo in our country.

The average daily km travelled by our trucks is 350 kms as compared to 500-600 km done by our American truckers.

Our trucks are mostly overloaded with no way to get them 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 – The class 8 semi-diesel engine has better torque and hauling power. 14.8liter, 6 cylinders, up to 560HP and 1850lbs and regularly passed 1 million miles and are meant to run nonstop. 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 their 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.

Here’s what BHPian CarNerd had to say on the matter:

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.

Here’s what BHPian Shreyans_Jain had to say on the matter:

My limited knowledge of 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 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.

Here’s what BHPian amvj had to say on the matter:

The US has a minimum speed requirement on their vehicles and hence even though 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.

Here’s what BHPian locusjag had to say on the matter:

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. On 35 mph roads, you can go no lower than 30 mph.

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

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