Going Dutch08 June 2012

In search of the latest developments from truck manufacturers, Steve Banner headed to Amsterdam for the city's revived commercial vehicle show

Despite no longer being classed as an international event, this year's revived Amsterdam Commercial Vehicle Show was still used by Iveco to launch its Euro 6 heavy truck engine. Visitors to the show, held, as usual, at the city's RAI exhibition centre, were able to view the company's new 11.1-litre Cursor 11 engine, which boasts up to 480bhp and common-rail fuel injection.

Iveco is unique in opting for SCR (selective catalytic reduction) on its own in order to meet Euro 6 NOx emissions requirements, rather than the combination of SCR and EGR (exhaust gas recirculation) favoured by all of its rivals to date. Competitors, such as DAF, which gave its 12.9-litre, up to 510bhp MX-13 Euro 6 engine its first public airing, use EGR, SCR, active DPFs (diesel particulate filers) and a bunch of associated technology, all adding to the price tag.

Iveco heavy range senior vice president Alessandro Mortali believes opting for SCR-only at Euro 6 will give Iveco a major advantage. "It's a simple, robust solution that is light in weight too," he says. Furthermore, it will not result in heavy AdBlue consumption, he contends ("We're seeing no major penalty here"). However, he would not be drawn on fuel figures. "All I can say is that we're satisfied with what it is being achieved," he comments.

Also on the Iveco stand was a 4x2 Stralis tractor unit powered by a 330bhp Cursor 8 engine and equipped with a CNG (compressed natural gas) tank on one side of its chassis and a LNG (liquefied natural gas) tank on the other. The combination, and its ability to switch from one fuel to the other, gives it a range of up to 1,000km before it needs refuelling, according to Mortali.

'Transport corridors', with enhanced availability of gaseous fuels, are increasingly being established in mainland Europe, says Mortali, and, if one fuel is not available en route, then hopefully the driver should be able to obtain the other. "Running on LNG or CNG is typically 50% cheaper than running on diesel," he adds. The truck is, however, likely to be around 15—20% more expensive than its diesel equivalent, when it receives full European homologation later this year. Nevertheless, a 400bhp model is in the offing, which would be more viable for long-haul work.

Also debuting at the show was Fuso's 4x4 Canter light truck. Likely to appeal to utilities and local authorities, this high ground clearance off-roading 6.5-tonner is fitted with selectable four-wheel-drive and comes with a standard rear diff lock.

A potential rival also popped up elsewhere at the exhibition, in the shape of a high-rise 4x4 Avia D120 12-tonner. The recent announcement of Longton Avia's formation in the UK means that the marque could be due for a resurgence soon, and Avia's off-roader apparently spent several days recently on this side of the Channel being appraised for its sales potential.

Trail of development
One thing about Amsterdam that has not changed is the presence of specialist trailers, albeit in smaller numbers than used to be the case. Kraker, for example, was exhibiting a box-bodied, moving-floor semi-trailer, designed to transport waste – with a hydraulically-operated roof for ease of overhead loading. With a capacity of roughly 90m3, the CF-200 ECO can discharge its entire cargo in 15 minutes, contends the manufacturer.

D-TEC was displaying a new sliding skeletal semi-trailer, under the S-line Flexitrailer banner, that tips the scales at a modest 4.6 tonnes unladen. That is achieved without relying on aluminium, but rather through the judicious use of Domex high-strength steel and the careful trimming away of unnecessary weight without compromising strength, says the firm.

Then on the light vehicle side, Renault showcased a Kangoo with a Stop & Start system likely to be used in Mercedes-Benz's Citan, too, and said to be capable of cutting the van's CO2 output to 115g/km and its per-mile running cost by 15%.

Meanwhile, so far as specialist conversions are concerned, Carrosseriefabriek Harderwijk was displaying a temperature-controlled Volkswagen Transporter whose fridge unit is powered by a solar panel, mounted on the van's roof. The panel is used to charge lead acid batteries, which, in turn, drive the compressor. If they run out then the alternator takes over the task until they are recharged.

The prototype Transporter can only handle chilled loads – not fully-frozen – at temperatures down to 0oC. Also, as things stand the vehicle costs a hefty eur 7,000 more than a conventional refrigerated van. The converter is hoping to cut this premium to closer to a still-steep eur 3,000—4,000 over the next six months. But there is another drawback: the weight of the batteries means that the vehicle suffers a 100kg penalty when compared with conventional designs. That's a significant price to pay on a vehicle of this size.

Also in Amsterdam
At the RAI show, Mercedes-Benz held the official launch of its new small van, Citan, prior to 'take two' in Hannover in September.

Power is provided by a 1.5-litre dCi diesel engine at 75bhp, 90bhp or 110bhp, married to either a five- or six-speed manual gearbox and with a standard particulate filter. A 114bhp petrol engine is also on offer.

Citan is produced in three overall lengths – 3.94m, 4.32m and 4.71m – and with three gross weights up to 2.2 tonnes. Its load cube goes up to approximately 4m3 and its payload capacity up to around 800kg, depending on the variant chosen. ESP (electronic stability program) is standard.

The smallest commercial vehicle in the Mercedes line-up, Citan employs the same basic body structure as Kangoo but a restyled front end and cab interior – Mercedes has altered the dashboard and slotted in its own seats. There's also redesigned steering and suspension systems.

Prices are likely to be somewhere between those of Kangoo and Caddy – but rather closer to Caddy – when Citan starts to appear in dealerships in mainland Europe this autumn. It will go on sale in the UK during the first quarter of 2013.

Steve Banner

Related Downloads

Related Companies
Longton Avia UK Ltd
Mercedes-Benz UK Ltd
Mitsubishi Fuso Trucks Europe
Renault UK Ltd

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