A great documentary on Russian Military trucks A truck (United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, also called a lorry in the United Kingdom and Ireland) is a motor vehicle designed to transport cargo. Trucks vary greatly in size, power, and configuration, with the smallest being mechanically similar to an automobile. Commercial trucks can be very large and powerful, and may be configured to mount specialized equipment, such as in the case of fire trucks and concrete mixers and suction excavators.
Modern trucks are largely powered by diesel engines exclusively, although small to medium size trucks with gasoline engines exist in the US. In the European Union, vehicles with a gross combination mass of up to 3,500 kilograms (7,716 lb) are known as light commercial vehicles, and those over as large goods vehicles.
The oldest truck was built in 1896 by Gottlieb Daimler. The first truck in the United States was built by Autocar in 1899 and was available with optional 5 or 8 horsepower motors.
The word “truck” might come from a back-formation of “truckle” with the meaning “small wheel”, “pulley”, from Middle English trokell, in turn from Latin trochlea. Another explanation is that it comes from Latin trochus with the meaning of “iron hoop”. In turn, both go back to Greek trokhos (τροχός) meaning “wheel” from trekhein (τρέχειν, “to run”). The first known usage of “truck” was in 1611 when it referred to the small strong wheels on ships’ cannon carriages. In its extended usage it came to refer to carts for carrying heavy loads, a meaning known since 1771. With the meaning of “motor-powered load carrier”, it has been in usage since 1930, shortened from “motor truck”, which dates back to 1916.
“Lorry” has a more uncertain origin, but probably has its roots in the rail transport industry, where the word is known to have been used in 1838 to refer to a type of truck (a freight car as in British usage, not a bogie as in the American), specifically a large flat wagon. It probably derives from the verb lurry (to pull, tug) of uncertain origin. With the meaning of “self-propelled vehicle for carrying goods” it has been in usage since 1911.
Before that, the word “lorry” was used for a sort of big horse-drawn goods wagon.
In the United States, Canada, and the Philippines “truck” is usually reserved for commercial vehicles larger than normal cars, and includes pickups and other vehicles having an open load bed. In Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, the word “truck” is mostly reserved for larger vehicles; in Australia and New Zealand, a pickup truck is usually called a ute (short for “utility”), while in South Africa it is called a bakkie (Afrikaans: “small open container”). In the United Kingdom, India, Malaysia, Singapore, Ireland and Hong Kong lorry is used instead of truck, but only for the medium and heavy types.
In American English, the word “truck” is often preceded by a word describing the type of vehicle, such as a “tanker truck”. In British English these would be referred to as a “tanker” or “petrol tanker”.
In Australia and New Zealand, the term ute (short for coupé utility) is used to describe a pickup truck with an open cargo carrying space but a front similar to a passenger car, and which requires only a passenger car licence to drive. The concept was developed in 1933 by Lewis Bandt of the Ford Motor Company in Geelong following a request from a Gippsland farmer’s wife for a vehicle that they could go to church in on Sunday without getting wet and also use to take the pigs to market on Monday.
In many countries, driving a truck requires a special driving license. The requirements and limitations vary with each different jurisdiction.
In Australia, a truck driver’s license is required for any motor vehicle with a Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM) exceeding 4,500 kilograms (9,921 lb). The motor vehicles classes are further expanded as:
LR: Light rigid: a rigid vehicle with a GVM of more than 4,500 kilograms (9,921 lb) but not more than 8,000 kilograms (17,637 lb). Any towed trailer must not weigh more than 9,000 kilograms (19,842 lb) GVM.
MR: Medium rigid: a rigid vehicle with 2 axles and a GVM of more than 8,000 kilograms (17,637 lb). Any towed trailer must not weigh more than 9,000 kilograms (19,842 lb) GVM. Also includes vehicles in class LR.
HR: Heavy Rigid: a rigid vehicle with three or more axles and a GVM of more than 8,000 kilograms (17,637 lb)). Any towed trailer must not weigh more than 9,000 kilograms (19,842 lb)) GVM. Also includes articulated buses and vehicles in class MR.
HC: Heavy Combination, a typical prime mover plus semi-trailer combination.
MC: Multi Combination e.g., B Doubles/road trains.