Last Tuesday, the day before the 67th IAA Commercial Vehicles Show in Hanover, the world’s most successful commercial vehicle manufacturer got the ball rolling early. Around 500 international media representatives had the opportunity to personally test the complete range of current trucks, buses and vans from Daimler/Mercedes-Benz.
This Product Experience took place in and around a massive airline hangar at Hanover Airport. Where aircraft normally take off and land, about 40 commercial vehicles were presented and tested for their driving characteristics by proven experts. From robust pickups to all-electric city buses and trucks to partially-automated long-distance trucks – everything was on display.
The idea was simply to let the media convince themselves of the products and concrete innovations that Daimler/ Mercedes-Benz delivers to its customers – on the road and with practical relevance.
Let’s face it, commercial vehicles are there to be used. And that’s why journalists were given the opportunity to know the new products not only in theory, but also in practice. The vehicles were experienced and tested on site, either during a ride together with a professional driver or independently in the driver’s seat, with feet on the pedals and hands on the steering wheel.
A total of eleven trucks, six buses and nine vans were driven and tested. For pure driving pleasure, about 25 kilometers of test track were available – five kilometers on a closed runway and 20 kilometers on public roads.
World premieres of trucks, buses and vans
Whether Daimler/ Mercedes-Benz Trucks, Daimler Buses or Mercedes-Benz Vans; whether vehicles or services, Daimler is indeed a pioneer for environmentally friendly and resource-conserving drive systems, safety, automated driving, the megatrend of digitization and connectivity, and digital services.
A few examples of this from Daimler Trucks are the spectacular new Mercedes-Benz Actros with ‘Active Drive Assist’ for semi-automated driving, the all-electric eActros, the Actros NGT powered with natural gas and the FUSO eCanter.
Daimler Buses will focus on the world premieres of the Mercedes-Benz eCitaro and the new minibuses, as well as the IAA premieres of the Mercedes-Benz Tourismo and Setra TopClass S 531 DT.
With the ‘Active Brake Assist 4/5’ emergency braking assistant, ‘Preventive Brake Assist’ for city buses and ‘Sideguard Assist’ for trucks and buses, Daimler is once again setting new standards for assistance and safety systems. And with ‘Active Drive Assist’ in the new Actros, semi-automated driving is being introduced for the first time in a series-production truck.
Mercedes-Benz Vans defines the state of the art for vans today with the new Sprinter together with the all-electric eSprinter and eVito, while the Vision Urbanetic study provides a glimpse of a completely new way of using vans in the future.
With its concept of a fully electric and autonomous chassis combined with exchangeable bodies for transporting goods or passengers, the van is ready for round-the-clock operation in the cities of tomorrow.
New Mercedes-Benz Actros
For me the new Actros is the undisputed star among trucks at the IAA. The mirror-cams, with numerous additional functions instead of conventional exterior mirrors, support the driver with significantly improved all-round visibility and also improve the truck’s aerodynamics.
‘Active Drive Assist’ opens the way to semi-automated driving through cooperation between various assistance systems. If required, the new active steering system intervenes with corrective steering movements. The new Active Brake Assist 5 can now also react to potential danger for pedestrians with full emergency braking. A key component of the assistance systems of the new Actros is Sideguard Assist, which was successfully launched as a world first two years ago.
New Mercedes-Benz eCitaro
The Mercedes-Benz Citaro Hybrid was crowned ‘Bus of the Year 2019 at the IAA Show last week.
Meanwhile eCitaro takes electric mobility with city buses to a new level. The eCitaro impresses with previously unknown energy efficiency, using innovative components. The range of the new eCitaro already covers around 30 percent of city-bus applications. With the next battery generation, solid batteries and fuel cells as a range extender, that coverage will increase to almost 100 percent in just a few years.
The eCitaro is embedded in Daimler Buses’ eMobility System. This accompanies transport operators with the provision of thorough advice to support with intelligent charging management and employee training to specific services. The eMobility System and the Mercedes Benz eCitaro thus pave the way for the changeover to electric mobility with buses in cities.
New Mercedes-Benz Sprinter and Vision Urbanetic concept
Sprinter, Vito, Citan, X-Class – Mercedes-Benz Vans is the full-range supplier of light-duty commercial vehicles. This year’s IAA focused on the new Sprinter, the bestseller among large vans.
Whether panel van, tourer or chassis; front-wheel drive, rear-wheel or all-wheel drive; low-emission diesel engine, all-electric or as a Concept Sprinter F-Cell with fuel cell drive – the Sprinter has the right answer to all questions, today and tomorrow.
From an attractive design to new safety and assistance systems, from standard connectivity to a completely new cockpit with a groundbreaking infotainment system, the Sprinter continues to extend its leading role in the category of about 3.5 tons gross vehicle weight.
The spectacular Vision Urbanetic study shows what vans could look like the day after tomorrow. The basis is an autonomous and all-electric chassis in a completely new design.
With exchangeable bodies for goods transport and passenger transport, the van takes on different tasks in urban areas depending on the day of the week, time of day and individual requirements.
Behind this is an IT structure that analyses supply and demand in a defined area in real time. This results in an autonomous fleet that is efficiently and flexibly oriented to current mobility requirements. The ambitious goal is to transport more people and goods with fewer vehicles on an almost unchanged road infrastructure.
“Driving Tomorrow” is the motto of IAA Commercial Vehicles 2018, and surely after my experience on the eve of the IAA, I can say that no-one embodies that motto better than Daimler/ Mercedes-Benz and their innovative strength.