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The new DAF XF105 and Volvo FH made their debut at the important trade fair. But the Truck of the Year 2013 award went to Iveco and its Stralis Hi-Way. The following is an overview of the main

Fabio Quinto

FOR FINDING OUT about new technical developments in heavy vehicles there can be nothing better than taking a quick trip to Hannover in Germany, where the latest edition of IAA, the show dedicated to commercial and industrial vehicles, ended recently. The 2012 fair was dominated by developments in the new Euro 6 engines, which almost all of the truck industry’s “seven sisters” combined with a general revamp of their top models. 

Take, for example, Iveco and its new Stralis Hi-Way. The Italian truck won the coveted Truck of the Year 2013 award that opened the German fair. The credit goes to its spot-on looks, more aggressive lines, interiors with new accessories and quality finishes.  But above all, credit goes to the new Euro 6 engines, with reduced emissions achieved by SCR-Only technology and an anti-particulate filter. It does not have the Exhaust Gas Recirculation system used by all the other manufacturers, a fact that –  in theory at least –  should give the heavy-duty Iveco better performance even at the cost of greater AdBlue consumption. A real technical challenge that was liked by the IAA panel but now awaits the verdict of the most important judge - the market.

IAA Hannover was the stage for the first presentation of the new DAF. The name is the same, XF105, but the vehicle has been radically changed. The front, especially the grille and headlights, was square but now has round and vaguely retro lines. On-board comfort is also better, with the considerable storage space typical of the DAF range and impressive new details: like proper steps instead of a ladder to make it easier to enter the cab. Or more cab width, which has allowed longer and more comfortable beds to be installed. From a mechanical point of view, the 12.9 litre Paccar MX (410, 460 and 510 HP) has achieved the Euro 6 standard by combining anti-particulate filter, SCR and EGR and by using ultramodern common rail technology, a variable-geometry turbocharger and advanced management systems for maximum efficiency.

Hannover was also the setting for the debut of the new Volvo FH: the Franco-Swedish company has also combined Euro 6 developments with a general change in style. Seen from the outside, the grille covers almost all of the front and gives the new FH a certain personality. Interior comfort seems to have been improved slightly by a less bulky engine tunnel and new storage spaces above the windscreen. The Euro 6 13 litre, 460 HP engine also uses the EGR-SCR duo and anti-particulate filter. But 2013 should be the year of the Euro 6 version of the FH16, which now offers up to 750 HP: it remains to be seen how the mega-powers will cohabit with the new emissions standards in the future.

Renault Trucks also began to show its hand with the announced launch in June 2013 of the new heavy-duty with a Euro 6 engine. It will be totally different from the now dated Magnum: we already know that it will have a DTI 11 engine with EGR, SCR and anti-particulate filter, and an aggressive design that breaks the mould. Mercedes-Benz, the winner of the last two Truck of the Year awards for the new Atego and Actros, also presented a new product at Hannover: the Antos, the successor to the Axor, inaugurates the Euro 6 era also in the “intermediate” range of heavy-duty distribution trucks. This is a market segment that is still underdeveloped in Italy, where the Axor is still fairly unknown. But things could change soon. 

Heavy-duty distribution trucks are also attracting the growing attention of manufacturers of semi-trailers. They presented numerous new products at Hannover; these are just two examples: the two-axle City Cool Liner from Krone of Germany, an isothermal for distribution work with a rear hoist and a door also in the front; or the Prime City from Merker of Italy, a two-axle curtainside capable of competing with 3 and 4-axle insulated trucks. According to Jörg Sanders, the export manager at Krone, the reason for this in Germany “is the continual spread of e-commerce and an aging population that is increasingly less willing to move to do their shopping”. Will this be the reality of transport in the future?

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