LeasePlan visits the 66th IAA Commercial Vehicles 2016 in Hannover
IAA Commercial Vehicles is the world’s leading trade fair for mobility, transportation and logistics. It is the sister show to the IAA Cars held in Frankfurt and takes place every other year. The event has a history going back more than 100 years. The 66th instalment’s theme of ‘Driven by Ideas’ focuses on forward thinking topics including connectivity, automated driving, alternative power trains and digitization.
Up until the 29th September 2016, more than 2013 exhibitors from 52 countries will present 332 world premieres and 101 European premieres in the 270,000 square meters of exhibition space. Suppliers of buses, trucks, vans, converters, trailers and other service providers from the value chain are represented. As commercial vehicles is a key area for LeasePlan, we visited the show and are delighted to share our VANtastic impressions with you.
The future truck is at zero emissions and connected
While heavy-duty trucks are not always the main focus of our customers, it is interesting to monitor this segment as it demonstrates the possibilities of automotive technology and what features may ultimately flow into the light commercial vehicle space.
Dr. Wolfgang Bernhard, member of the Board of Management at Daimler AG, Head of Daimler Trucks & Buses pointed out that cities are now home to 75% of the world’s population, presenting a challenge for logistics providers. Daimler is “pioneering e-mobility, connectivity and autonomous driving,” and through the launch of the eTruck they demonstrated this at the show. The eTruck has a 12.8 tonne payload that is powered by a lithium-ion battery capable of a range of 200km. It could be on sale as soon as 2020.
Iveco have selected liquefied natural gas and bio-methane to power their Concept Z. Its aim is to be zero impact not only to the environment, but also to the driver and other road users due to its connected autonomous features and cabin design. The model boasts 29 patents. Iveco brand President Pierre Lahutte stated the role of the driver is expected to change, “they will still be expected to drive sometimes, but the cab will become more like an office.”
Matthias Wissmann, German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA) President shared his view on an even bolder future of autonomous logistics. “Platooning, that is, convoys of electronically connected trucks on the freeway, can bring about savings of up to 10 percent in fuel and CO2 emissions.”
Light Commercial Vehicles (LCVs) are also innovative
Hannover also saw the launch of alternative powertrain light commercial electric models. Volkswagen showed its eCrafter concept which will be available from 2017. Capable of a range of up to 200km depending on specification, the van is powered by a 312-cell battery pack.
Hyundai presented the H350 fuel cell concept. They communicate that the fuel cell takes only 4 minutes to reload, has a range of over 400km and has no impact on the load capacity of the van. A production date has still not been communicated.
Mercedes added to their future concept range with the Vision Van which is electric and fully autonomous as it has no steering wheel! The cargo system is fully automated to load and deliver in the most efficient way possible. An interesting addition is also the two drones to facilitate the ‘to-the door’ delivery.
Mercedes-Benz were not the only supplier considering the service process beyond the van. Sortimo, LeasePlan’s global fitting partner and a leader in innovative racking designs presented their ProCargo CT1. The pedelec or bike that is assisted by a small electric motor ensures mobility for the individual and their tools / cargo to reach jobs that vans cannot.
All was not quiet in the more typical van segments either at the IAA. Nissan debuted the Nissan NV300, which is a combined production with Renault and GM. This mid-range van offers four sizes of panel van, two sizes of crew van, two types of Combi passenger van and a rolling chassis for conversions. Nissan also introduced the Navara EnGuard concept. An all-terrain version of the Navara that is suited for the ultimate remote rescue emergency situation. It also comes fully packed with its own drone.
Renault the European market leader in light commercial vehicles showed the Alaskan, their own pick-up, which will come to market in 2017. For the design conscious driver they have also extended the Formula Edition series to cover Kangoo, Trafic and Master. Opel also focused on a dynamic and design orientated version. The addition of the Vivaro Sport a derivative of the successful panel van means Opel offers over 400 commercial vehicle variants ex-works.
With huge quantities sold across Europe over past 2 generations, PSA has launched the new Mid-size vans, Expert and its Citroen sister model Jumpy/Dispatch. The two new models are built around the PSA group’s latest Efficient Modular Platform 2 (EMP2), which also underpins passenger cars with improved driving experience. Ford debuts also covered a number of technological innovations including their EcoBlue diesel engine for Transit, new six-speed automatic transmission variant of the Transit and Transit Custom and the enhanced all-wheel drive (AWD) system.
Last but not least, Fiat Professional claims to cover 97% of the market needs with its range that has been completely refreshed in the last two years. Key highlights were the Fullback their pick-up, the new Fiorino and the Talento, the van that fills the gap between the Doblò Cargo and Ducato.
A van is not a car
The IAA Commercial Vehicles has highlighted that vans can be considered as even more innovative than cars. Alternative fuels have been used in commercial vehicles and buses for much longer than in cars. This fair clearly demonstrated that commercial vehicles have the ability to offer true end-to-end mobility and service delivery in a highly digital and environmentally urban conscious way. LeasePlan firmly believes that a van is not a car and from what we have seen, it could well be van influencing the technological development of the car in the future.