Automakers brought their most advanced and eye-catching trucks to the 2018 IAA Commercial Vehicle show in Hanover, Germany, this week.
But although commercial vehicles are more advanced than ever, the show proved that there was still a premium on size and strength. Many of the trucks presented were smart. All of them were tough.
Trucks.com roamed the halls to single out the vehicles that made an impression in Hanover. Here are the seven new trucks (and one old one) that stood out:
Ford Trucks F-Vision
The Ford Trucks F-Vision Future Truck is a sleek and silver concept meant to portray an autonomous commercial vehicle. Inspired by Marvel comic books, the F-Vision hints at Ford Trucks’ vision on electrification, autonomous and connected drive, lightweight and zero-carbon emission products. It’s the first concept Ford Trucks has made and looks a bit like Ironman.
Essentially, the vehicle is a design study. There’s no indication there will ever be a production version. But there’s no doubt the concept is an eye-catcher that points to the future styling of heavy-duty trucks.
Volkswagen ID Buzz Cargo
Volkswagen is building on its ID Buzz electric van with the ID Buzz Cargo. It has the same iconic styling that harkens back to the California surf vibe of the automaker’s 1960s microbuses but optimized to be a rolling workshop, mobile office or delivery vehicle.
The van was developed as a joint project by VW’s passenger car and commercial vehicle divisions. It can be configured with different size battery packs to meet a variety of uses and mileage ranges. It is part of a family of electric vehicles the German automaker is bringing to market.
Volkswagen says it plans to put the electric van on sale by 2022 in North America, Europe and China.
Is this just another utility truck? Yes and no. Cummins Inc. unveiled its PowerDrive electric hybrid utility truck housed in a Kenworth T370. The truck may look familiar, but the PowerDrive lacks a conventional transmission and can instead switch between two hybrid and two pure electric modes. Such flexibility helps the PowerDrive strike the right match between toughness and efficiency.
The truck is configured with exportable electric power to recharge vehicles. There is also a recovery crane operating on either electric or engine power. A U.S. Class 6 truck with PowerDrive and a 50-mile electric range reduces emissions by up to 80 percent compared with conventional diesel-powered vehicles. Fuel costs can be 40 percent to 80 percent lower depending on the drive cycle.
Mercedes-Benz Vans’ Vision Urbanetic
Mercedes-Benz Vans’ Vision Urbanetic mobility concept was the most visionary vehicle at the show. It’s the first step in a line of autonomous commercial vehicles the German automaker plans.
The Urbanetic uses an all-electric chassis that can switch functions depending on what body is coupled to it, allowing it to either move people or transport goods. It can even switch functions during the course of the day. It also can be shared by companies based upon their needs and time of use.
The passenger version is a sleek teardrop with a lounge interior. In its cargo configuration the vehicle carries a van-like pod. Mercedes-Benz is about to start tests of systems that will go into the vehicle on mules in enclosed campuses and plants. It also is starting a unit within its vans division to fully develop and commercialize the Urbanetic line.
Karsan Atak Electric
Karsan Automotive Industry and Trade Anonymous, the Turkish commercial vehicle maker, revealed the newest model in its line of electric buses in Hanover. The Atak Electric joins its smaller Jest Electric sibling as the second collaboration between Karsan and BMW to produce fully electric buses.
Compared with the Jest, the Atak Electric is an upgrade. It carries 57 passengers and has 300 kilometers of range. The Jest Electric carries 26 passengers and offers 165 kilometers of range.
Karsan sells commercial vehicles in 20 countries, but not the U.S. Interest is growing in zero-emission buses like the Atak Electric as many foreign cities are considering banning diesel engines in favor of clean transportation. Karsan, along with U.S.-based partner Morgan Olson, is a finalist in the competition to develop the next-generation mail truck for the United States Postal Service.
Nissan Navara Dark Sky Concept
Nissan unveiled a concept called the Navara Dark Sky, a version of its popular Navara, the midsized pickup truck sold in markets outside the U.S. The automaker worked with the European Space Agency to build a truck capable of reaching remote areas in search of total darkness — all the better to view the outermost reaches of the universe.
The Navara Dark Sky features a lifted suspension, off-road tires and a custom trailer system carrying a powerful telescope. The company tested it in the darkest place in the United Kingdom. The Navara Dark Sky is equipped with portable battery packs and extendable stability legs on the trailer to provide scientists with the best viewing conditions possible.
It also features Nissan’s automated ProPilot system, which combines adaptive cruise control with lane-keep assist. The automaker upgraded ProPilot to handle the demands of towing.
Automakers from around the world brought flashy animation and detailed presentations to Hanover. The Turkish truck maker BMC Automotive Industry and Trade did things a little differently. With no warning, a dozen drummers launched into a booming cacophony in the convention hall. Smoke rose from the floor as the cloth came off the brand’s new Tugra heavy-duty truck. Models flanked the vehicle, holding bright red Turkish flags as the stand rotated in dramatic fashion.
BMC will offer the Tugra in seven configurations, from construction to long-haul. The cab-over truck has an imposing front design with thick horizontal bars and a wide stance. Whether on the road or during its reveal, the Tugra is certain to attract attention.
DAF Trucks, the Dutch division of Paccar, celebrates its 90th anniversary in 2018. To commemorate the occasion DAF brought a vintage 1967 A1600 truck from its heritage museum to display in Hanover. Surrounded by massive semi-tractors and futuristic vehicles the truck’s gleaming chrome and charisma down to the bolt stood out on the show floor.