IAA 2018 Sets Stage For CV Industry Digitisation, Passage To New Powertrains

The recently-concluded 67th IAA Commercial Vehicles 2018 had more exhibitors and world premieres with focus on digitisation, connectivity, automation and electric mobility. The number of exhibitors increased from about 2,000 from 52 countries in 2016 to 2,174 from 48 countries.
Even earlier electric mobility and digitisation were the central topics. But now there is a crucial difference: in 2016 it was mostly concept vehicles and studies that were on display. In 2018 large numbers of new e-vehicles, ready for series production, were on display; a perceptible progress from ambitious concepts to tangible reality.
Bernhard Mattes, President of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA), indicated this at the opening ceremony. He said, “This IAA show has more than discussions and, more than anything, it delivers.” It was also in the theme of the current edition: `Driving Tomorrow’, concretising the future challenges of digitisation, connectivity, automated driving, electric mobility and alternative powertrains the sector has to take on. The industry is also undergoing rapid changes in urban logistics and mobility which are becoming more digital and in turn becoming more efficient, safer, more flexible, faster, and more environment and climate-friendly. More people across the world will be benefitted.
A sense of being ‘valuable contributors’ was discernible among the expo participants, and the commercial vehicle industry, proud to play a role in shaping the future mobility, seemed to be taking the perceived challenges proactively.

New Mobility World

In order to accommodate the large number of innovations in the areas of digitisation, connectivity, automated driving, electric mobility, and for services the increased number of premieres, IAA administrators had provided more space for them at the `New Mobility World’ (NMW), part of which they are. NMW was a common platform for the technology firms, the automotive industry, mobility providers, start-ups, digital businesses and decision-makers from politics and academia, and the general public to discuss the present innovations, and to experience the mobility of tomorrow.
It was clear that the manufacturers of heavy-duty trucks and vans, trailers, buses and special vehicles, along with the many suppliers, are preparing intensively for the transformation in powertrains and digitisation. Digitisation and e-mobility belong together. They are two sides of the same coin as digitisation, connectivity and automation, while making car-2-X communication possible, becomes an integral part of every new development in the drivetrain.
Connected and automated driving, zero-emission powertrains, urban logistics, and new mobility and transport services are the drivers of change. For these five topics NMW provided a multi-sectoral platform for decision-makers and designers to discuss and present the mobility and transport of tomorrow – leading to a more efficient, greener and smarter future.
The event had three formats – Expo, Forum and Live – through which NMW was presented to the visitors with extensive programmes and experiences. In the Forum, NMW hosted a four-day conference participated by over 100 international experts. At Live, visitors witnessed logistics and safety in the road traffic of tomorrow, at the outdoor demonstration area. The number of world premieres trebled to 435, from the previous edition, creating a new record.
Over 35 models with alternative powertrains were available for test drives on the IAA trade show grounds.
In the following lines we present the glimpses of innovations and new products unveiled at the biennial IAA Commercial Vehicle Show 2018 by the leading CV manufacturers and suppliers of the world.


The one event that stole the show was the unveiling of the concept vehicle Vision URBANETIC by Mercedes-Benz. Mercedes-Benz Vans unveiled the new Sprinter together with the all-electric eSprinter and eVito. The Vision URBANETIC provides a glimpse of the 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.
The vehicle eliminates the separation between the movement of people and goods, as it enables both on-demand, sustainably and efficiently. It has innovative approaches to meet the needs of cities, and businesses from diverse sectors and the people, city dwellers and travellers. The concept reduces traffic flow, relieves inner-city infrastructure and contributes to an improved quality of urban life.
Based on self-driving, the concept vehicle has electrically-powered chassis that can take different switchable bodies for moving people or goods transport. As a ride-sharing vehicle, it can accommodate up to 12 passengers, while the cargo module can carry up to 10 European pallets. A 3.70 mt-long load space fits into a total vehicle length of 5.14 mt.
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 were on display. Daimler Buses focused on the world premieres of the Mercedes-Benz eCitaro and the new minibuses. Besides, it exhibited Mercedes-Benz Tourismo and Setra TopClass S 531 DT.
About 70 trucks, buses and vans were displayed by Daimler at the show demonstrating the company’s prowess in commercial vehicles. In addition to the vehicles for Europe, Daimler’s Trucks & Buses for the World unit showcased its global presence with vehicles for export markets in North America and Asia. This includes the all-electric school bus, Jouley, from Thomas Built Buses for the North American market, a small series of which will go into production in 2019, and the Super Great, the truck flagship from FUSO, for the Asian market.

Product Experience

Earlier, the company organised ‘Product Experience’ around Hangar-1 at Hanover Airport. About 40 commercial vehicles were put to test for their driving characteristics by proven experts where aircraft normally take-off and land. From robust pick-ups to all-electric city buses and trucks to partially-automated long-distance trucks – everything was on display. Members of the media got to know the new products not only in theory, but also in practice. About 25 km of test track was available for the programme with five km on a closed runway and 20 km on public roads. This enormous task was accomplished with the planning and hard work of over 400 employees for nearly a year. More than two km of steel beams were used for the event, 12km of cables were laid, 2,000 lights and about 100 loudspeakers were installed.


Volvo’s new platform for tourist and line-haul operations, introduced earlier this year, was unveiled to the wider public at IAA. The range encompasses two models: the luxurious Volvo 9900 and the versatile Volvo 9700. Both feature a dynamically designed exterior with crisp lines, smooth sides and rounded corners to give low air resistance. The new Z-shaped side window line combined with the sloping theatre floor of the Volvo 9900 marks a totally new design language for coaches.
According to the company, low air resistance and lighter weight of the bus enabled to cut fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by up to four percent. With the optional Dynamic Chassis Lowering and Volvo I-See the potential savings are even greater. Volvo Buses’ electro-mobility solution is represented at IAA by the Volvo 7900 Electric Hybrid (plug-in hybrid) and an OppCharge station for quick-charging of the vehicle’s battery pack. The Volvo Buses range of electrified models also includes all-electric propulsion – the Volvo 7900 Electric – and hybrid buses. Pioneer in electro-mobility, Volvo Buses has to date sold more than 4,000 electrified buses globally. At the show the company introduced Volvo Bus Care, a comprehensive solution covering vehicles, services and financing, designed to make things easier for the customer operations.


BYD has unveiled its first 12m highly modular e-bus as well as an 18m articulated e-bus featuring pantograph charging. These are based on a new manufacturing concept which totally optimises the structural design. This speeds up the R&D manufacturing and installation time and leads to fewer components. Both the vehicles are given new- look frontal styling and are equipped with several features including the high power density iron-phosphate battery along with Battery Thermal Management System and Smart Monitoring and Diagnosing System, allowing customers to remotely control bus systems and diagnose problems.


MAN Truck & Bus presented its innovations under the trade show motto ‘Simplifying Business.’ It exhibited electric trucks for urban traffic, world première of the electrically driven MAN eTGE van, and MAN DigitalServices, the first digital services tailored for the company’s vehicles. The highlight was the MAN CitE, an electrically- driven city truck full of new ideas and creative solutions. The 15-tonne vehicle, touted to be developed in just 18 months, was designed for inner city distribution transport.


The Swedish company Scania presented its full range of alternative fuel trucks and buses. The company introduced a plug-in hybrid distribution truck that combines the safety features of its recently-introduced L-series, giving the customers the needed option of covering the distance from suburban warehouse depots in the combustion engine mode while switching to electric propulsion when entering the city centre. While unloading or resting along the distribution route, drivers can charge batteries in 20 minutes for continued deliveries.
The company also displayed the battery electric Scania Citywide and
the Scania Interlink Medium Decker – the first coach with a liquified natural gas powertrain that can go up to
1,000 km. In all, the company
displayed seven different trucks indoors and three outdoors. The trucks are accompanied by five buses and coaches. All the vehicles at the stand were propelled by powertrains designed for renewable fuels and solutions that make a sustainable difference to the climate.


DAF Trucks has exhibited its innovation capabilities throughout its 90- year history, which has been illustrated by the classic DAF A1600 from 1967 through to the future DAF CF Electric Innovation truck – both of which were displayed on the DAF Trucks stand in Hall 17. DAF’s latest LF, CF and XF ranges, setting the industry benchmark in quality, reliability and fuel efficiency, took prominent positions.
DAF is celebrating its 90th anniversary this year. Starting as a small workshop in Eindhoven, the company has grown into a premier truck manufacturer in Europe.
The CF Electric is a 4×2 tractor unit developed for up to 40-tonne GVW distribution applications within urban areas. Hauled by 210 kW electric motor drawing energy from the 170 kWh lithium-ion battery pack, the vehicle has a range of approximately 100 km suitable for high volume distribution applications. Fast charging is possible in 30 minutes, while a full charge can be completed in less than 90 minutes. The first series of CF Electric trucks will be put into field test operation with customers this year.

Renault Trucks

At the show Renault Trucks presented seven vehicles including its new 100 percent electric Z.E. range and a few from its Euro-6 range, together with its latest research and development work. Although Renault Trucks has long considered electro-mobility to be the answer to air quality and noise issues in cities, when it comes to long distance road transport, the French company is convinced that diesel will remain the dominant source of energy for many more years. This is why Renault Trucks is continuing its research into improving the energy efficiency of diesel vehicles, and revealed details of its FALCON (Flexible & Aerodynamic Truck for Low CONsumption) research project at the show. Besides, it exhibited T-High Renault Sport Racing.


At the show Ford Trucks unveiled its new tractor F-MAX that comes with a 2.5-mt long cabin, which features an aerodynamic design, with 2160mm floor-to-ceiling height and 260mm of seat adjustment, offering drivers a bit more space than usual. The cabin provides for storage modelled like the ones in airplanes, and a 90-degree foldable upper bed.
The new tractor offers a high-performance engine with 500 PS, 2,500Nm and 400 kW of braking power. According to the company F-MAX also decreases maintenance costs by up to seven percent and offers longer maintenance intervals, delivering lower total cost of ownership.
The company has also showcased its F-Vision Future Truck, a fully electrically-powered concept truck with Level-4 automation – the first concept truck from the company.


Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles (VWCV) presented new solutions – ranging from the Cargo e-bike to
the e-Crafter – for sustainable mobility for goods and people in urban
regions. The ABT e-Caddy and the
ABT e-Transporter, the two new electrically powered solutions for
urban traffic, were developed in cooperation with VWCV’s strategic partner ABT, and they close a previous gap in the brand’s electrified model programme.
The I.D. BUZZ CARGO concept van is all-electric, aimed at the urban traffic of tomorrow. The Crafter HyMotion concept van is based on the e-Crafter and is essentially a successor model for long distances. An electrically powered 3.5-tonne van, the vehicle is supplied by a fuel cell with a range of 350 km.
BMC, Turkey’s legendary brand, unveiled a new truck family at the show. The Schwarzmüller Group presented three vehicles for the international market.


Automotive suppliers are key players in these innovations as they account for over 70 percent of the value creation in a vehicle. Their participation at IAA 2018 was very conspicuous. The show covered the value chain so comprehensively that there were exhibitors from every sub-segment of vehicle production.
Valeo displayed its range of 48V electrification systems, which contribute to reducing fuel consumption in commercial vehicles. It also presented sensors specifically developed for trucks and designed to make self-driving easier. These include Solid-State LiDAR technology and a number of systems installed inside the truck’s cabin to enhance safety by scanning the happenings both outside and inside the vehicle. As these sensors need to work at all times and in all weather, the group presented the Valeo everView Sensor Cleaning, an automatic LiDAR cleaning device.
Meritor highlighted multiple product solutions for the commercial vehicles such as hydraulic air disc brake for medium-duty trucks and buses and a front-drive steer-axle with a rear tridem drive axle for heavy-duty applications.
It also presented its electrification solutions and the current portfolio of popular axles, brakes and carriers for a wide range of truck and bus applications.
Brakes India, the largest producer of commercial vehicle brakes and safety critical iron castings in India, exhibited its entire range of pneumatic and hydraulic brake systems, hydraulic clutch products and machined iron castings at the show. Its sister firm Wheels India displayed its range of conventional and nextgen wheels and allied systems.
Knorr-Bremse presented its SYNACT two-piston brake for tractor vehicles and the NEXTT single-piston brake for tractor vehicles with low axle loads and for trailers. The company’s next-generation Global Scalable Brake Control (GSBC) system was also displayed.
Along with the modular construction that provides its customers with maximum flexibility when installing ABS and EBS applications, GSBC will form the integration platform for a whole array of automated driving functions. Together with Knorr-Bremse’s portfolio of steering systems, this makes GSBC a key module in the realisation of automated driving in the commercial vehicle sector. The company has also demonstrated its system solutions for automated driving functions in the NMW Live arena.
Hella presented how projection technologies as well as LED reversing and work lights improve vision and visibility during daily work routine. In addition it presented two work-lights for special applications with high lighting requirements. With its 4000 lumens, the Ultra Beam LED Gen2 is a powerful work-light. With its 7800 lumens, RokLUME 380 provides more than twice as much light as xenon work-lights. Both are also available in the glare-free illumination version.

It ensures that drivers of oncoming vehicles are not blinded. Instead of a reflector, the special lens optics create a sharp horizontal cut-off that directs the light onto the ground in front of the vehicle instead of into the field of vision of oncoming vehicle operators.
Maxion Wheels displayed its application-diverse truck wheel product portfolio and its latest innovation wheels designed to tackle the industry’s challenges of fuel efficiency, connectivity and new mobility.
Preco debuted an enhanced PreView Side Defender solution at the show. The unit can detect moving cyclists and cars in the side blind zones, while filtering out stationary objects. Equipped with a 150-degree viewing angle and a new display, the system is an expandable and flexible safety option. The enhanced system is a self-contained solution, engineered for OEM integration and now easily retrofitted in the aftermarket to meet the safety needs of fleets.
Honeywell Transportation Systems, which Honeywell plans to spin off into a new company named Garrett Motion, Inc. by the end of the third quarter, unveiled its latest turbocharging technologies for commercial vehicles covering diesel, hybrid and fuel cell powertrains, at the show. It has also introduced its new GT17 frame size, double-axle variable nozzle turbine (DAVNT) built on its third-generation architecture. It is the smallest double-axle variable geometry turbo ever introduced and serves 2.5L to 4.0L engine sizes.
Besides, it showcased a new fixed-geometry, electrically actuated wastegate turbocharger and low-friction bearings – its first high-volume application of an electric wastegate for commercial vehicles.
WABCO showcased MAXX Advanced Single-Piston Air Disc Brake technology, which is lighter while delivering higher performance and lower drag-torque further boosting fuel efficiency thereby enabling increased transport payloads. With 20 percent fewer parts than the current design, and over 40 percent fewer parts than the other ADB brands, the platform offers better reliability and an improved weight-performance ratio. Delivering enhanced fuel efficiency, the compact design offers an average weight of 35 kg per ADB in a six-by-two wheel truck application – 12 kg less per truck than other manufacturers’ European heavy-duty ADB systems. The company also unveiled TX-TRAILERPULSE – an innovative, cost-efficient trailer-specific telematics solution. It is available alongside the entry-level TX-GEO solution which offers basic track and trace functionality and TX-TRAILERGUARD, its advanced trailer telematics solution.
Continental and MAN presented design tyres specifically for electric trucks – Conti e.MotionPro, based on the layout coordinated with the vehicle maker. During the production of the green tyre at the plant in Púchov (Slovakia), the sidewall shell was manufactured by hand and ‘pulse blue’ paint applied to the sidewall while the tyre was heated.
Dana unveiled its comprehensive Spicer Electrified with TM4 portfolio, including fully integrated electro-mechanical propulsion systems featuring gearboxes, electric motors, inverters, and thermal-management technologies. Ranging from complete systems and modular solutions to individual sub-system components, Dana is able to support its customers in developing series and parallel hybrid configurations up to full battery-electric vehicles. Dana’s electrified product offerings are expected to meet the diverse architecture and platform requirements of its broad customer base in the light vehicle, commercial-vehicle, and off-highway markets. It also launched its new Spicer 175 series single drive axle, offering lower numeric gear ratio, 1.95:1, for optimum engine down-speeding.
Gates introduced the next generation of premium hydraulics with the new MXT family of hoses. This innovative, patent-pending product line is light weight with more flexible solutions that meet or exceed a wide range of industry standards, and addresses both replacement market and OEM needs. It is designed for applications across industries such as agriculture, mining, construction and other end-markets with demanding performance requirements.
Delphi Technologies exhibited its next-generation electrification and engine management systems for commercial vehicles. Its focus on efficiency, light-weight and ease of integration enables the commercial vehicle manufacturers with the flexibility they need to cost-effectively meet the increasingly specialist requirements of a wide range of applications. The company’s CV electrification portfolio includes inverters, high voltage DC-DC converters, 48 Volt DC-DC converters, powertrain control systems and on-board charging systems, complemented by expertise in software, engine management, integration and high-quality manufacturing. Besides, the company has also exhibited its new micro-valve fuel injector, capable of more precise and accurate fuel delivery, which is now entering pilot production.
There were also several players from the allied industries such as trailer makers and garage equipment manufacturers.
The IAA 2018 exposed a spirit of anticipation and approbation of the entire commercial vehicle sector in the world as less fuel consumption, less CO2, less pollution, and less noise will benefit the society at large. As Mattes pointed out, “Several alternative powertrains including hybrids offer ideal solutions and therefore, electric mobility is not the best choice for every application. The requirements vary too widely. You only have to think of heavy long-distance transport. So the conventional environmentally-friendly powertrain will remain very important. For this reason we are continuing to drive forward the efficiency of modern diesel engines. IAA points up the potentials that we have to tap into together to achieve even greater efficiency. Aerodynamic optimisation, lightweight construction, GPS cruise control and the utilisation of waste heat are important keywords here. So, at the bottom line the commercial vehicle industry makes a major contribution to continuously reduce emissions,” and enhances overall efficiency supporting the requirements of the next generation.

Leave a Reply


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.