Walk­ing the talk at show

Mark Smyth looks at some show high­lights

Business Day - Motor News - - COMMERCIAL NEWS -

THERE are al­ways two things that amaze me about the IAA com­mer­cial ve­hi­cle show in Hanover. The first is that as a show about trans­port, why on earth is it that I prob­a­bly walk fur­ther dur­ing the three days that I am there than I usu­ally do in a year? The sec­ond is that re­turn­ing to the show ev­ery two years, the level of de­sign and tech­nol­ogy in­creases as­tro­nom­i­cally.

I will ig­nore the first is­sue un­til it is time for New Year’s res­o­lu­tions again, but for an ex­am­ple of the sec­ond take a look at some of the con­cept ve­hi­cles on the pre­vi­ous page. un­usual in that it is a to­tally elec­tric re­frig­er­ated truck. A mas­sive panel of bat­ter­ies sits be­low the floor of the cargo box and will en­sure that not only does the truck keep mov­ing, but that the load re­mains ice cold even when the ve­hi­cle is parked.

A ve­hi­cle that caught my eye and the eye of al­most ev­ery truck op­er­a­tor at the show was the new Volvo FH. The in­te­rior is noth­ing short of cav­ernous and full of mod cons. Quite rightly the com­pany be­lieves that a com­fort­able driver makes for a more ef­fi­cient driver and it has paid a great deal of at­ten­tion to de­sign­ing one of the best cabs in the busi­ness. But it was the less than per­fect model you see be­low which grabbed the most at­ten­tion. This model had been put through the head-on con­crete bar­rier test amongst oth­ers. A com­pany spokesper­son said that the FH is the safest Volvo ever built.

Other new mod­els at the show in­cluded the new Iveco Trakker which made its world de­but and the new Daf XF. The lat­est ver­sion of the glob­ally pop­u­lar XF boasts both new ex­te­rior and in­te­rior de­sign as well as the op­tion of new Euro VI Pac­car MX en­gines. The lat­est gen­er­a­tion also fea­tures more light­weight ma­te­ri­als as part of a num­ber of innovations that fol­low the Ad­vanced Trans­port Ef­fi­ciency Pro­gramme.

Then there were the buses and I might be wrong but it is pos­si­ble that there were more of them than trucks, if I in­clude the uber-lux­u­ri­ous coaches. On the sub­ject of lux­ury I was also blown away by some of the mo­torhomes de­signed for mo­tor­sport — I did won­der if I could take out a bond for one and live in it.

When it came to buses, many man­u­fac­tur­ers had BRT so­lu­tions avail­able. They came in vary­ing de­grees of qual­ity with some of the Eastern op­tions I looked at un­likely to even make it far along the road from the Dur­ban port. That said the Chi­nese did arrive with quite a few strong con­tenders and one which I was in­trigued by was the Cen­tro. It looked small enough to be a po­ten­tial re­place­ment for the minibus taxi but big enough to be quite a bit safer for the oc­cu­pants.

Above: The Cen­tro would make a good al­ter­na­tive to the minibus taxi. The Mercedes-Benz An­tos ur­ban de­liv­ery truck,be­low left, made its world de­but. The new Daf XF, be­low right.

Top: These Rolfo trail­ers for lux­ury ve­hi­cles and mo­tor­sport could soon be made in SA. The elec­tric Nis­san e-NT400, above. The new Volvo FH, be­low, af­ter un­der­go­ing crash test­ing.

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