Walking the talk at show
Mark Smyth looks at some show highlights
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.