The old-timers hate to admit this, but modern trucks are simply so much more than they used to be. Long are gone the days of simple machines and tedious working conditions of long-haulers, sweating in an overheated cab and struggling with unreliable vehicles. Modern trucks are full of quirks and features that would sound like sci-fi mere 20 years ago. Let’s have a look at some of the newcomers from renowned manufacturers, but also a promising start-up.
Iveco S-Way – Drive the new way
The new Iveco truck was created with two things in mind: the driver and the future. Let’s start with drivers, shall we?
For drivers, the truck serves as a home away from home, providing spacious, comfortable living area packed with advanced tech, such as smart A/C, redesigned infotainment system, dashboard, ergonomics and a brand-new Iveco Easy app allowing them to control the vehicle’s functions on their phone.
And what about the future? For starters, the Iveco S-Way is allegedly the first gas-fuelled truck in the market with the range of 1,600 km. It is also very quiet (71 dB (A) Piek Quiet Truck), making it ideal for night-time deliveries. Doesn’t sound like the future? Well, it is also packed with fuel-saving features, a predictive GPS system and a total connectivity allowing the fleet managers to maximise efficiency and lower the Total Cost of Ownership.
Mercedes-Benz Actros – Tested classic made better
The new Mercedes Actros, the “new dimension”. In order to cope with current market shifts and to prepare for the future, Daimler completely redeveloped the Actros long-haul truck. All vehicles in the product range feature premium interior, seamlessly combining the working space with the living area, all while bearing the specific requirements of long-distance haulers in mind.
The new Actros is also designed to be highly fuel-efficient. Mercedes claims that the new truck is up to 13% more efficient than previous generations while also being one of the first vehicles on the market with engines compliant with the Euro VI standards. All of this is achieved through a new feature called the Predictive Powertrain Control, which uses GPS, precise road topography and detailed traffic signs information.
Volvo Vera – Revolution in autonomous trucking
Volvo comes with very exciting news: a brand-new, electric truck called Vera (they might be a top truck manufacturer, but could use some help in name development). Vera is to be among the first vehicles to not even have a cab, being fully autonomous.
Its design is very sleek, reminding of a sci-fi movie. However, it is not sci-fi, it is the reality; first prototypes are hauling cargo in Sweden and the first contract has already been signed: Vera will be transporting goods for the Danish giant DFDS. Truckers, do not worry though, Vera is not meant to be a cross-country hauler. It will be transporting goods on a pre-set route at low speeds, executing short, repetitive trips in factories, ports and so on.
Nikola Tre – Nikola, or Tesla?
Coming out of nowhere, the Nikola Motor Company has already ramped-up $14 billion in pre-orders of their hydrogen-fuelled trucks. Planned on going for sale in 2019/20, Nikola brings a lot to the table; zero-emissions energy generation system, futuristic, features packed trucks with superior efficiency and characteristics able to rival the long-promised Tesla Semi: from up to 750 kW performance to 1200 km range and a fast, 15-minute refill time.
The downside of this truck is undoubtedly the initial investment, with price being estimated at around $375,000, being more than double of the Tesla Semi. If the TCO is low enough to justify this price tag is yet to be shown.
However, Nicola has one more ace up their sleeve that could just tip the scales in their favour, stating that their trucks will “suck in dirty air and emit nothing but clean water” using the unique hydrogen-powered electric engines. Triple of a million dollars now sounds like the price we have to pay for cleaning the environment...
Upcoming years will undoubtedly be exciting for the trucking world. Among all the new, futuristic inventions, it may seem that traditional trucks are dying out and being replaced by autonomous vehicles powered by everything but fossil fuels. However, it is important to keep our feet on the ground. Yes, new technologies are coming, but drivers (and business owners) should perceive this as a benefit for them. Modern trucks provide so much more than just a seat and a steering wheel, fully serving as the true home away from home and possibly even cleaning the atmosphere. While Volvo Vera and similar projects are truly autonomous, many of upcoming trucks will still require an old school driver behind the wheel, their job just might be a little easier than ever before.