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The BIG Show | CV Dealer Feature

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September saw Hanover host the massive biennial IAA truck show. As always there was much to see, with plenty of developments in trucks and vans and ‘Connectivity’ being the overall theme.

Unlike the UK’s CV Show – which is used by the commercial vehicle manufacturers to show off their current range and perhaps to launch a revised model to the world – Germany’s IAA gives the companies the chance to demonstrate their ideas for the future of transport.

The Future World

There were no fewer than four concept trucks on display from Mercedes-Benz, DAF, MAN and Iveco.

What was clear from all of these concepts was that electricity has a part to play in the trucks of the future – whether through hybridisation or full electric running.

Not one, but two – Mercedes-Benz took a more dramatic visual approach to their concept truck and van for the future.

Not one, but two – Mercedes-Benz took a more dramatic visual approach to their concept truck and van for the future.

Mercedes-Benz offered some bold claims that their fully electric 26-tonner could compete on a more or less level playing field with a diesel engine on local distribution work. Once the EU allows the extra tonne on the gross vehicle weight of electrically driven vehicles, the payload penalty will be around 700kgs and the range restricted to 200kms. A relatively small compromise for silent, clean running on a fuel that carries no road duty (yet).

The company has looked further into the economics of charging and has even developed a system which involves stationary batteries being charged at night on cheap power which is then used during the day to recharge vehicles if necessary.

MAN ‘City Truck’ Concept with electric power and cameras replacing wing mirror on passenger side.

MAN ‘City Truck’ Concept with electric power and cameras replacing wing mirror on passenger side.

MAN’s Concept ‘City Truck’ appeared to have its feet more firmly planted in the present. The 18-tonne all-electric urban tractor unit and steering single axle trailer combination should ensure high load volumes delivered quietly into cities.

The three batteries are mounted where the engine usually resides, just above the front axle. The batteries store around half the power of the Mercedes-Benz system, whilst the single electric motor matches the power of the twin system adopted by Mercedes-Benz at 250kw. This means that ranges are shorter – between 50 and 150 kilometres depending on operation. If this is not sufficient, operators will be able to specify up to four more batteries to be fitted on the chassis to more than double the range.

Iveco went the furthest with their beautiful ‘Z’ Truck with automatic driver’s door and slide-out staircase.

Iveco went the furthest with their beautiful ‘Z’ Truck with automatic driver’s door and slide-out staircase.

The futuristic-looking Iveco ‘Z’ truck was the only concept vehicle not running on electricity. With their tendency towards a different approach – Iveco were the only company using SCR only to achieve Euro 6 – their concept runs on LNG using bio methane for zero CO2 emissions. With 1,200 litre tanks this gives the 460hp truck an impressive range of 2,200kms.

It is inside that the Iveco looks the most radical. The seat, pedals and steering are all connected together on a single floating floor for a smoother ride with a retractable steering wheel to make more room when not in use.  Add to this an extra 50cms of cab length when stationary, thanks to a sliding rear wall and the living environment inside the truck looks appealing.

Iveco say that the truck has resulted in the registration of some 29 patents. So, may we start to see some of the thinking translated into vehicles on the road?

‘Convenient’ XF from DAF – not radical, but hybrid power for ancillaries, and an extended bumper for extra cooling and aerodynamic efficiency.

‘Convenient’ XF from DAF – not radical, but hybrid power for ancillaries, and an extended bumper for extra cooling and aerodynamic efficiency.

DAF’s concept was altogether more down to earth, with their hybrid XF using a 9-speed ZF gearbox with a hybrid motor powered by lithium ion batteries and charged using regenerative braking. The electric power stored can be used as an ‘E-PTO’ to power ancillaries, such as fridge units, the power steering, air conditioning and compressor. If needed, the truck can drive on hybrid power – but for no more than four kilometres – suitable for parking and delivering to noise sensitive areas.

As all of the additional batteries require cooling, the front bumper of the truck has been brought forward to accommodate the equipment needed. DAF claim that this new ‘chin’ on the XF improves overall aerodynamic efficiency.

Much on-stage fuss over the new Crafter

Much on-stage fuss over the new Crafter

It wasn’t all about trucks when it came to new concept vehicles.  Volkswagen took the opportunity to show the latest concept for the brand new Crafter – the eCrafter.  No pie in the sky concept, the company predicts that the eCrafter could be available before the end of 2017 – as well as the TGE variant. A range of more than 200kms and no loss of load space, the 4.2 tonne GVW van can manage a payload of 1.7 tonnes.

The Connected World

All the truck manufacturers have woken up to the operator and manufacturer benefits of having as many trucks as possible connected to the OEM’s system.

MAN is embarking on an ambitious project called RIO on behalf of the VW Truck & Bus Group.  This connected ‘cloud’ platform aims to eventually incorporate data from all types of sources in the transport chain- shippers, dispatchers, carriers, drivers and recipients. Based on the combined information from tractors, trailers, bodies, drivers and orders, as well as combining this information with traffic, weather, or navigation data, RIO will provide its users with concrete recommendations for action in real time and be available for all vehicle makes.

DAF claim that their new DAF Connect system is unique since it is an open system that will enable operators to use their existing fleet management package alongside the DAF system. Available only for new vehicles at present, DAF are hoping a retrofit will be along soon.  DAF Connect also allows the transport operator to effectively plan repair and maintenance, and take advantage of advice by DAF.

Volvo announced some 300,000 connected vehicles with all new trucks enabled with the system, whilst Scania claim 210,000 Scanias are already on the road connected to the company’s infrastructure.  The company uses these connections to operate their ‘Flexible Plans’. The basis for the service is how these vehicles are used – and not the traditional mileage counts or calendar-based approaches –  and controls how they should be serviced under the maintenance contract that Scania and the customer draw up together.

The Real World

Most truck manufacturers have taken the opportunity to update their engines prior to the Euro 6 C legislation that comes into force at the end of this year.

We think MAN are pleased with their fuel saving on the EfficientLine3

We think MAN are pleased with their fuel saving on the EfficientLine3

MAN launched their new EfficientLine3 package, claiming an impressive 6.35% saving on the outgoing EfficentLine2. Savings are to be had across the board from their engine range, including the new 640hp D38 fitted in the TGX PerformanceLine.

DAF too have been finding improvements in their Euro 6 PX-5 and 7 engines with higher torque at lower revs, plus faster drivelines that reduce engine revs by up to 300 rpm at cruising speeds giving up to 4% better fuel efficiency.

730hp flagship Scania S Series took pride of place on Scania’s stand

730hp flagship Scania S Series took pride of place on Scania’s stand

Scania too are claiming a 3% improvement in fuel for their new engine range – which translates to a 5% saving in the new R- and S-Series – thanks to their improved aerodynamics. These savings have been made through the introduction of new engine management systems and improved cooling capacity. In addition, Scania is introducing an updated 500hp version of its 13-litre engine, whilst all of their 13-litre engines from the new 500-horsepower version down now rely exclusively on SCR with no EGR along similar lines to Iveco.

Iveco haven’t stood still either, their new Stralis XP achieved TÜV SÜD certification of an 11.2% reduction in fuel consumption compared to the previous 2013 model year Stralis with the Efficiency Package.

Renault are claiming savings for their T Series trucks with their revised DT11 and 13 engines plus weight savings of 114kg on the chassis and some aerodynamic changes.

The size of the IAA definitely takes its toll on the boot leather, but the effort of getting to the show and walking the halls is always worthwhile. To see more images from the show, visit www.cvdealer.co.uk for a full gallery of exhibits.