Highlights from IAA Commercial Vehicles 2018 international motor show

Guest editorial
Tim Campbell
Managing Director
Vahana Automotive

This article was published in the November 2018 edition of NTEA News.

IAA Commercial Vehicles is the largest commercial vehicle show in Europe and one of the biggest in the world. At the 2018 event, it was nearly impossible to leave without believing alternative fuels — specifically electric — are making a significant impact.

Almost every global player in the industry displayed their solution to the need for alternative fuels to purely diesel. And these weren’t just concept vehicles — these trucks are either undergoing customer testing or are in service.

Daimler Trucks


Daimler launched its new Mercedes-Benz Actros boasting more than 60 new features, including Active Drive Assist — the first example of automated driving in series production. This next-level system can brake, accelerate and steer independently in all speed ranges using active latitudinal control and the combination of longitudinal and lateral control in all speed ranges through the fusion of radar and camera information. This is blended with existing technology of adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go function and the lane-keeping assistant. Despite all that, though, the feature likely attracting the most attention is the lack of side mirrors. Actros relies on use of rear-facing intelligent cameras that transmit video to LCD panels in the cab’s “A” post.

Ford Otosan of Turkey also shared big news at the show, launching the all-new F-Max range of trucks (taking the “F” from F-Series pickups), which won 2019 International Truck of the Year.

F-Max was designed and tested by 500 Ford Otosan engineers over a five-year period. Tests were carried out in 11 countries on four continents using 233 prototype units covering more than 3.5 million miles. It’s a typical Class 8 European cab-over style with both tractor unit and rigid models. Ford showcased its future plans with the F-Vision first concept truck with Level 4 autonomy.

IVECO is part of the Fiat Group empire, sitting under its CNH (Case New Holland) industrial division. Every truck and van on display (over 20 vehicles) was powered by natural gas or electric — a first for a mainstream manufacturer at IAA. IVECO, which has products from 7,700–90,000 pounds gross vehicle weight (GVW), also showcased the world’s first hybrid electric cement mixer.

Volvo Trucks 
Volvo Trucks displayed its second electric truck, FE, for distribution, refuse collection, and other applications in urban conditions. With a GVW up to 60,000 pounds, it was built in conjunction with one of Europe’s leading refuse collection bodybuilders, Faun, and will start operating in early 2019 in Hamburg, Germany’s second-largest city. FE has two electric motors rated at 370 kW matched to a Volvo two-speed transmission. Lithium-ion batteries hold 200–300 kWh, providing a range of up to 130 miles. 

BMC, formerly known as British Motor Corporation, introduced the Tu˘gra range of trucks. The company, established in 1964, has manufactured more than 300,000 vehicles, and this latest offering is produced in Izimar, Turkey.

The cab-over truck, primarily designed for long-haul operations, has a bold, distinctive front and grille. It boasts a large cab with modern dashboard console design, complete with a full TFT display, Bluetooth and navigation features including 7-inch multimedia screen, plenty of in-cab storage, fully adjustable driver’s seat, refrigerator, single or twin bunks, multifunctional steering wheel and ambient interior lighting. The driveline is a conventional Cummins, ZF and Meritor design to suit Western and Eastern markets.

MAN Truck

MAN Truck displayed a fully electric 6x2 rigid eTruck. The 66,000-pound vehicle based on MAN TGM has batteries that can be installed under the cab and on the side of the frame. With a range of up to 130 miles delivered via a 264 kW electric motor mounted in the center of the frame, it transmits 2,287 foot-pounds of torque to the drive wheels.

MAN CitE is an electrically driven city truck full of new ideas and creative solutions — basically, a concept truck but perhaps closer to full production than other concepts. The 33,000-pound vehicle, developed in just 18 months, is designed for the city with a low entry height and wide doors. Inside, the cab offers the driver an excellent panoramic view due to a low seat position and large side windows. To further benefit city delivery drivers, this purely electrically driven vehicle offers a 360-degree camera and 65-mile range.

DAF (part of PACCAR)

Not to be left out of the electric vehicle race, DAF showcased two electric trucks and a hybrid. LF is a 42,000-pound GVW fully electric rigid truck featuring a Cummins 266 horsepower motor linked to a modular-design 222 kWh battery pack with a 148-mile range. The design enables DAF to scale down the number of packs to suit the vehicle’s GVW, so expect to see this further down the range.

DAF displayed an electric CF 4x2 cab-over tractor unit, capable of pulling up to 81,000 pounds gross combination weight (GCW) — ideal for single- and two-axle trailer operations as often seen in urban distribution. The VDL advanced E-Power powertrain has a 210 kW (286 horsepower) electric motor backed by a 170 kW Lithium-ion battery pack providing 65 miles of range and a full charge in 1.5 hours.

A second CF featured a hybrid alternative — a diesel/electric combination with diesel for long haul and electric for urban/final delivery. The diesel links to a ZF 75 kW/100 horsepower electric motor and TraXon gearbox, including e-PTO if required. The electric motor is powered by an 85 kWh battery pack, which allows for a full-electric, zero-emission range of up to 37 miles, depending on GCW. Batteries, which can be charged by the diesel engine, are designed with a fast-charge capability that takes 30 minutes for a full charge and only 20 minutes for 80-percent charge.

Scania, part of the newly named TRATON Group (Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles), showed off two electric-based trucks — a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) based on the new truck generation and a PHEV, and its sibling hybrid electric vehicle. The new hybrid trucks are powered by Scania’s DC09, an inline five-cylinder engine that can run on hydrotreated vegetable oil or diesel, working in parallel with an electric machine generating 130 kW (177 horsepower) of power and 775 foot-pounds of torque. The Lithium-ion rechargeable battery’s energy window is set to 7.4 kWh for long battery life. The trucks can be driven in full electric mode without any support from the combustion engine, thanks to electric auxiliaries for steering and brake air supply.

Renault Trucks
Renault Trucks, part of Volvo Group, displayed its second-generation D Wide electric truck, a 56,000-pound GVW vehicle featuring a 6x2 axle configuration available in 2019. The truck offers an operating range of up to 190 miles, depending on battery configuration and usage. With rapid DC charging, it can be fully charged in one to two hours via the 150 kW Combo CCS connector. A 300 kWh battery can achieve full overnight charge in 12 hours.

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Tim Campbell will co-present The Evolution of Work Trucks into Work Systems on March 5 as part of Green Truck Summit, held in conjunction with The Work Truck Show® 2019. This session will highlight the evolution of truck intelligence, powertrain options and safety systems. Learn more at worktruckshow.com/greentrucksummit.