Claims to offer superior quality, performance, and longer aggregate life.
Tata Motors has launched the exclusive ‘Tata Motors Genuine Oil’ range consisting of engine oil, gear oil, and rear axle oil for its entire range of commercial vehicles. The company claims that the superior quality of these multi-purpose oils are suitable for the new-generation engines, and will help customers achieve better performance.
Tata Motors Genuine Oils are exclusively available across 1400 Tata Motors CVBU-authorized workshops. Formulated and tested for Tata vehicles, the branded oils have been developed as per regulations and specifications required for the Indian commercial vehicles market. The oils are available in four variants as follows:
Tata Motors Genuine engine oil CI4+ 15W40 & CH4 15W40 – Priced at Rs. 185/- per Ltr. this is a range of multi-purpose diesel engine oil for new generation engines with long drain intervals and is suitable for mixed fleet operations.
Tata Motors Genuine gear oil 80W90 LL – Priced at Rs. 210/- per Ltr. this has been especially formulated for new generation synchromesh transmission performing under rugged terrains with extended oil intervals.
Tata Motors Genuine rear axle oil 80W140 LL – Priced at Rs. 240/- per Ltr. this is a heavy duty multi grade oil especially formulated with extended oil drain intervals for axels performing under tough circumstances with higher operating temperatures.
The MAN CLA EVO range of medium and heavy duty trucks are aimed at the ‘Value’ bulk-cargo transportation in the domestic market. I took part in MAN Trucks India’s ‘Expedition’ campaign as a part of its eleventh anniversary celebrations to read the load hauling-cum-cruising capabilities and cabin dynamics of the trucks.
Expeditions are undertaken for both purpose and pleasure. When I received an invitation from MAN Trucks to participate in a road tour with their haulage trucks, I was excited. Since the expedition was a comprehensive one, spanning over 51 days and 9,000 kms across three different paths covering the length and breadth of Indian mainland, I must pick a moment in the trail to be pragmatic. To my convenience, I chose the 160 kilometer Coimbatore to Namakkal stretch in one of the expedition route en route MAN’s Pithampur plant, the one from Kochi via Chennai and Vijayawada.
Two other teams are scheduled to start from Pune and Dhanbad respectively in a similar vein to reach the destination, I was told. The ultimate purpose of these expeditions is to demonstrate the superiority of the CLA EVO cargo truck series in long-haulage applications across different terrains of India to the market audience. All through the journey, the trucks are to stop at key transport hubs, motels, and dealerships on the way to convey the message.
It was 6 am, hazy weather, when I reported at MAN dealership at Coimbatore. Awaiting me were MAN CLA 49.300 EVO 6×4 tractor with a 40 ft. TSI trailer and 31.300 EVO 8×4 rigid hauler, along with the expedition team. Both the trucks are jacked-up with the rated payload, and will be driven only by trained ‘Master Drivers’ all through the expedition, so all I had to do was to cuddle myself to a co-driver seat of the trucks.
Design wise, the ‘EVO’ suffix to the MAN CLA cargo trucks does spruce-up its largely conservative looks. The redesigned dull-black bumper now boasts fresh headlamp units with daytime running lights. The ‘Lion’ in the brand logo is missing, but the MAN lettering under a chrome housing looks more pronounced. The custom blue paint scheme with attractive graphics made the expedition trucks more pleasing.
On the inside, the cabin and dashboard layout remains utilitarian. Both the driver and co-driver seats are air suspended, while the former gets 3-way adjustment. There are ample storage compartments in the dashboard and over-head rack, while the cabin is adequately spacious. The steering wheel is great to hold, and the column features height and rake adjustment. Both expedition trucks were equipped with cruise control and HVAC system with effective blowers, which literally made the day travel bearable.
The suspended cabin did filter-out a great deal engine heat and road noise. Road vibrations were partly taken care by suspended seats. Although, the ride was still bumpy, especially the tractor-trailer, but that was expected. Nevertheless, I must say that the MAN CLA trucks are a huge leap from basic trucks that are the norm of the haulage industry. Rightly termed as value trucks, these are kind of semi-premium offering that are fast-catching up in the industry. They strike a balance between affordability and premium comfort.
But what impressed me was the cruising abilities of these trucks. The 31.300 rigid truck, in particular, was simply brisk enough to make overtakes and pursual in highways, without any harsh acceleration and gearshifts as such. It was also partly the master driver who was behind the wheel of this truck, he kept up right rpm and managed gearshifts cleverly, so as maintain constant acceleration and speeds. In the 49.300 tractor, the drivers smartly used the Exhaust Valve Brake (EVB) for all anticipated slow-downs and while descending down flyover slopes, thereby averting regular braking which would otherwise demand a gear down-shift. This way they can maintain constant speed and lower fuel consumption. Although the trucks can hit speeds up to 80 kmph max, drivers of both the vehicles did not breach 60 kmph mark so as to register optimum fuel efficiency throughout the trip. In addition, the cruise control feature equipped in both the trucks helped their cause as well. Oh yeah, this whole expedition is to prove some point, right?
Powering the CLA EVO trucks is a 6.9-litre, in-line 6-cylinder, MAN D-0836 engine with a turbo-charger and intercooler. Mated to a 9-speed ZF synchromesh gearbox, the engine generates a healthy 300 hp power in both the expedition trucks. This time, the company has added 250 hp variant in its engine range for the buyers to choose as well. MAN Trucks have earned a great reputation in the Indian market for their reliable engine and longer life, even touching 1 million kms in odo-reading! I could feel that all through the ride, the engine felt refined at all speeds, with lower NVH levels.
We cruised like a pro in the NH 544 Coimbatore-Salem expressway up to Komarapalayam. It’s time for some narrow district roads now, I was a bit skeptical too. I know this upcoming stretch very well, full of twists and turns, including a railway level crossing with a height gauge! But both the trucks took the challenging road with ease, steered through the clumsiness of the town traffic of Tiruchengode, and reached the destination Namakkal, the ‘truck town’ of South India, by noon. I bid adieu to the trucks later with a sense of contentment. It was a good trip!
The tipper segment has been MAN’s forte all these years. But with improved potentials, especially post GST where inter-state and long-distance hauling is expected to get huge boosts, the company is eager to penetrate into the cargo segment. Plus, it has a very vibrant range of haulage trucks in the 16 to 49 tonne category that needs no formal intro. With improved fuel efficiency and lower TCO of these trucks in BS IV livery, the CLA EVO makes an appealing proposition for long-distance haulers.
MAN CLA EVO 49.300 6×4 & 31.300 8×4 – Image Gallery
SPEC FOCUS – MAN CLA EVO Haulage Series (BS IV)
49.300 EVO 6×4 tractor
31.300 EVO rigid truck
Dl, Turbo-charged Intercooled
MAN D-0836, 6.9-litres
Max Power: 300 hp @ 2,300 rpm
Max Torque: 1,150 Nm @ 1200-1800 rpm
ZF 9-speed synchromesh gearbox
Heavy-Duty Drop forged I-Beam type, Maintenance free Hub Bearings
Heavy Duty Drop Forged I-Beam type, Maintenance free Hub Bearings
MAN Planetary Tandem Bogie with Hub Reduction, Inter Axle and Stabilizer Bar
Fully floating single speed Hypoid Axle
Semi Elliptical Leaf springs with Double Acting Shock Absorbers
Semi Elliptical Leaf springs with Double Acting Shock absorbers.
Heavy Duty Bogie type suspension
Bell Crank Type Suspension
S-Cam, Dual-Circuit, Air-actuated Drum Brakes with ABS
MAN Exhaust Valve Brake (EVB)
Inter-axle Differential Lock
*An edited version of this article has been published in the January 2018 edition of MotorIndia Magazine.
India has to work out a ‘cleaner’ approach to Auto LNG, by locally developing renewable gas.
Europe is already surging ahead with Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) or Biogas (renewable natural gas) for commercial vehicles. In India too, a lot of action is taking place in the LNG scene. Just last August, Union Government has notified revised gas cylinder norms for LNG stations, which is aimed to help establish a storage and supply chain for refueling stations through ‘daughter trucks’, just like for CNG stations in Delhi.
Home-grown Tata Motors has taken the lead interest in LNG, with the debut of country’s first LNG-powered Tata Marcopolo LNG Bus (LPO 1613) in Kerala late last year. In fact, the company was the first OEM here to come up with gas-run heavy truck Prima 4032.S LNG, displayed at 2014 Auto Expo. Eco-friendliness and soft price make it a compelling alternative fuel for the company. LNG is also cheaper than diesel by nearly 40 per cent and almost 15 per cent dearer than CNG as well.
It is also reported that other domestic CV makers including Ashok Leyland, Mahindra, and BharatBenz are developing LNG variants of their products. Scania, for instance, has already introduced ED95 engine series (Euro 4 compliant) in its products that can run almost completely on bio-fuels including Bio-CNG. In the supply side of the LNG, India’s largest importer of LNG Petronet, and Reliance Petroleum have expressed their interest in offering LNG at fuel stations.
Yet, the LNG dialogues happening in India are solely related to conventional natural gas that are non-renewable and purely imported. There is a need for a much `cleaner´ approach to auto LNG, by encouraging local and commercial production of Bio-methane. Both the government and the auto industry has to work together in this regard, so as to extract the real `eco´ benefits of using LNG on CVs.
LNG-powered Volvo FM and FH range of trucks introduced in Europe.
Amid all electrification debates in the transportation sector, global CV makers are stepping-up their ‘gas’ pedals to mitigate climate impacts of the trucking industry! They are betting high on Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) or Biogas (renewable natural gas) as a pragmatic alternative to conventional diesel for heavy regional and long-haul trucking operations, especially in Europe. The proponents claim that LNG offers considerable environmental and public health benefits with 20 percent lower CO2 emissions than diesel, even up to 100 percent emission cut by using Bio-LNG, thereby realizing sustainable, eco-friendly haulage. It also promises reduced nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions, with virtually no particulate emissions, while LNG-powered engines are said to be significantly quieter than conventional diesels.
Volvo Trucks, for instance, has recently unveiled the first-ever gas powered truck in the European market. The company is now working together with gas suppliers and customers to expand LNG infrastructure in Europe. “With EU making more stringent regulation on CO2 figures for heavy vehicles, we see a clear possibility for increasing LNG market shares as a vital part of the solution to lower emissions” notes Lars Mårtensson, Director of Environment and Innovation at Volvo Trucks.
Volkswagen Group Logistics, together with Scania, is also in favor of promoting LNG as a truck fuel. It has revealed that more than 100 LNG trucks are to be used on the roads of north Germany in future as a commitment towards sustainable logistics. It is in dialogue with gas suppliers to construct LNG refueling stations in the region. Scania claims that its LNG powertrain, apart from 20-90 percent less CO2 than diesel engines depending on the choice of fuel, emit some 95 percent less NOx. Particulate emissions during combustion are virtually completely avoided by up to 95 percent, while the noise levels are curbed by about 50 percent (-3 db), according to the truck maker.
Italy-based IVECO, one of the pioneer of natural gas transportation in the industry, has also introduced Stralis NP (Natural Power) 460 hp truck for long-haul operations. The brand claims up to 95 percent cut in CO2 emissions by using compressed or liquefied biomethane as fuel. The company already supports a running parc of 22,000 natural gas vehicles across Europe.
Conventional Natural Gas is fossil fuel-derived, predominantly made up of methane (CH4). Alternatively, Renewable Natural Gas (RNG), a.k.a Bio-methane or Biogas, can be produced from renewable means like decaying organic materials or bio-waste. But, to be used as a transportation fuel, the natural gas has to be either compressed (CNG) or liquefied (LNG). Notably, the primary source of natural gas determines its `cleaner´ credentials. Both the alternative fuels (CNG and LNG) can be locally produced, even costs less than diesel in many European countries and in India as well. Although CNG is widely used for passenger cars and buses, LNG meets the longer range requirements of trucks, as liquid is denser than gas (CNG) and, so, more energy can be stored by volume in a given tank. Further, the carrying capacity of vehicles powered by the LNG is 2.5 times more than that of CNG.
Energy experts opine that long-term availability and commercial viability of natural gas is excellent in a global level. Biogas, for instance, thus far has been only produced in limited quantities across the globe. With more and more gas-run products coming up, the locally production of the alternative fuel can be amplified in every market. “All told, this makes liquefied gas the best widely available climate alternative on the market for long and heavy transports. What is needed now is gas-powered trucks that can compete with diesel in terms of performance and fuel consumption, and continued expansion of LNG infrastructure. In both cases major progress has been achieved,” observes Mårtensson of Volvo Trucks.
*An edited version of this article has been published in the January 2018 edition of MotorIndia Magazine.
Volvo is coordinating gas suppliers and customers to expand LNG infrastructure in Europe.
Volvo Trucks has introduced Euro-6 compliant heavy duty trucks running on liquefied natural gas or biogas in the European market. The trucks will be offered in 420 or 460 hp power ratings with gross vehicle weights of up to 64 tonnes. The new Volvo FM LNG and Volvo FH LNG will go on sale in the first half of 2018.
Interestingly, the new gas-run trucks have the same performance, driveability and fuel consumption as its diesel counterparts, making it practicable and economical for heavy-duty haulage. The 460 hp LNG engine delivers a maximum torque of 2,300 Nm, while the 420 hp unit generates 2,100 Nm – same as the diesel powertrains. Volvo´s new LNG powertrain uses the Diesel cycle technology in place of Otto cycle engine that is traditionally used for gas-run engines, thereby ensuring no compromise in power and torque output. The SCR and particulate filter are in place for exhaust after-treatment.
To extend the driving range, the LNG is stored in cryogenic state at 4-10 bar pressure at a temperature of -140 to -125 °C inside the tank. Volvo offers tank capacity for a range of up to 1,000 km. Re-fuelling time is no different as the diesel. On drive, the fuel has to be warmed up to gas form to be injected into the engine. In order to ignite the gas, a tiny quantity of diesel is added at the moment of injection. To gain absolute eco-compatibility, Volvo is presenting HVO (Hydrogenated Vegetable Oils) for this purpose in place of conventional diesel.
The truck scored 104 points; impressed the jury with its energy-efficient technologies.
The prestigious International Truck of the Year (ITOY) annual award for the best truck or model range launched in the calendar year 2017 has been announced. Dutch truck maker DAF Trucks has bagged the 2018 award, for its new CF and XF range of heavy trucks. Iveco Stralis NP gas-powered (LNG) truck and Scania XT range has settled for second and third positions respectively.
Since 1977, the ITOY award recognises the best new product introduced in the international truck market based on key parameters including fuel economy, technology, innovation, environmental footprint, road safety, cabin comfort, and lower TCO. For this year’s award, a jury consisting of 23 senior automotive journalists specialised in CVs rated the newly launched trucks. The DAF CF and XF secured 104 points in total to claim the title.
Both the DAF CF and XF trucks are in production since 1997-1998, and are assembled at Leyland Trucks facility in UK. The new trucks launched this year features eerodynamic optimizations for the cab, advanced powertrain software, and higher efficiency rear-axles with faster ratios. They also boast an improved transport efficiency of over 7 percent lower fuel consumption, 100 kgs additional payload, and extended service intervals of 200,000 kms.
Powered by PACCAR MX-11 and MX-13 in-line 6-cylinder engines, the DAF CF and XF features ZF Traxon 12-speed automatic transmission. The engines are acclaimed for their industry-leading fuel economy, thanks to technological improvements including intelligent auxiliaries, new electronic architecture, improved combustion, reduced frictional-losses, and weight-saving out of engine and chassis optimizations. The trucks are also equipped with GPS-based Predictive Cruise control that aids engine and gearbox integration for improved fuel-saving.
Three power levels, along with improved fuel efficiency, lower NVH levels, and reduced weight.
Scania has introduced a new series of 7-litre engines (DC07) intended mainly for city trucks, including the newly launched next-generation P-series, L-series, and CrewCab models aimed at urban applications. All Euro 6 compliant, the new in-line six has been developed together by Scania and Cummins and is based on the widely-used previous generation 6-cylinder engine. The company claims that a great deal of compactness and light-weighting has been achieved with the new engine, along with improved performance and driveability to suit demanding city applications.
The new 6.7-litre power mill features four valves per cylinder, along with fuel injection system sourced from Bosch. The unit boasts a new fixed geometry turbocharger, and uses only selective catalytic reduction (SCR) for the exhaust gas after-treatment to meet Euro 6 emission standards. The new engine will be offered in three state of tunes – 220, 250 and 280 hp, along with standard 88 kW exhaust brake (at 2500 rpm) and choice of Scania Opticruise automated transmission. Plus, it is also compliant for use with 100 percent HVO (Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil) that can give a carbon dioxide reduction of up to 90 percent.
As against the Scania’s five-cylinder DC09 family, the new DC07 saves up to 360 kgs (engine weighing around 600 kgs). The unit is also compact, enabling a G-series cab floor to be used in P-series trucks with low-engine tunnel, thereby offering a 95 mm lower engine floor and more storage space.
Scania’s international engine line-up now boasts eighteen different Euro 6 engines from four families – 7-litre, 9-litre, 13 and 16-litre units. They all power the company’s new truck generation, with power outputs ranging from 280 to 730 horsepower.
The German-patronised “Indian” truck maker is the favoured marque of Sri Ram Transport of Tiruchirappalli, Tamil Nadu; says BharatBenz makes the correct choice of equipment for construction-oriented tipping operations.
After a retrograded phase in the past couple of years, the Indian medium- and heavy-duty tipper market is finally rejoicing a breath of fresh air. The demand for these trucks are not price-driven, but are largely dependent on the health of infrastructure and construction sectors. The latest bout of government-led investments on infrastructure and increasing per-day road construction targets have given a new lease of life to this segment. Renewed demand from the mining sector in some states have also helped the cause. The dampening impacts of BS-IV implementation has subdued, the demand has bounced back on account of higher mining, road construction and allied activities. The recent trend of market demand of pre-owned BS III trucks has bypassed the tipper segment, as tipper operations call for optimum uptime and reliability, which cannot be assured in used vehicles.
Further, dormant growth in sales owing to GST implementation is also mending up, those who postponed their purchases due to lack of clarity on taxation and accounting changes are back to the purchasing spree. On the whole, industry experts agree that the nation-wide demand for tipper is steadily soaring up to a rough figure of around 50,000 units annually. Moreover, in terms of product diversity, the tipper segment in India is no more duopolistic in nature. Newer brands like that of BharatBenz are fast catching-up, with almost every truck maker offering tippers especially in the 25-tonne capacity category. There is also a clear shift towards higher GVW (Gross Vehicle Weight) and power output rating in this segment, as dumpers are preferred for carrying large volumes over shorter distances as against small trucks.
The `Superiority´ factor
Tamil Nadu is traditionally a tipper market, with numerous operators and fleets using a sizable number of tippers for both mining and road construction. The Tiruchirappalli region, in particular, is packed with sand mining and cement production-related activities, for which dumper trucks are lifelines. Sri Ram Transport is one of the leading fleet in this region catering to cements and sand transportation for road construction activities. Led by its proprietor Mr. B. Subburam who has tipper experience for over 20 years, the company now owns 10 BharatBenz 2523C 6×4 dump trucks, including 4 units of latest BS IV models. To achieve 100 percent BharatBenz-only tipper fleet, the company is also planning to acquire 25 more units of the same truck before the end of this financial year.
Why BharatBenz? Mr. Subburam answers, “I have owned over 400 dumpers of different brands in my two-decades of trucking business, Daimler trucks are unique and unparalleled in terms of rugged built, engine reliability, and cabin features. They are a notch above all other brands in the segment”. He explains that managing a fleet of heavy-duty application trucks like tippers isn´t an easy task, as they terribly call for constant maintenance and the downtime is usually high comparing to haulage trucks. Their running costs are usually a nightmare for any operator.
“The feel-good factor in owning BharatBenz is that though the spare and service costs per instance is high, the long-run affordability of regular maintenance is advantageous. Longer and synchronized service intervals offer optimal uptime for the tippers, and the frequency of lubrication and oil replacements are comparatively less. The propensity of its components to fail is also far lower and exceeds the usual cycle”, he observes. Sri Ram Transport employs all its 2523C tippers in road construction activities, for delivering sand and cement from local stock yards. “At times, they shunt between the sites day and night in multiple shifts, crossing a variety of roads from broken quarry roads to national highways and city roads. The superior engineering and technology of Daimler has made them reliable workhorses that are up and running in any given point of time” adds Mr. Subburam.
The BS IV-compliant DE 175 engine of BharatBenz 2523C tippers offer almost 90 percent of maximum power and peak torque within engine speeds as low as 900 rpm, thereby ensuring enhanced pickup and gradeability in crawler gears. “Fuel efficiency is exemplary and sets new standards” observes Mr. Subburam, thanks to advanced engine technologies like unitized fuel injection pump system, high-boost turbo charger, SCR, constant throttle valve engine brake, etc. “The Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) is an added cost for BS IV trucks, but we are happy that the emissions are controlled and fuel-economy is improved” he added.
Responsive Service Network
Apart from managing Sri Ram Transport, Mr. Subburam is also the regional dealer for JK Tyres and runs a JK Tyre Truck Wheels workshop at Tiruchirappalli. Of course, his BharatBenz tipper fleet uses only JK Tyres and he is quite happy with their performance as well. For periodic service and technical assistance, he trusts the local BharatBenz dealer Jayaraj Trucking. “Being in the trucking industry for quite some time has taught us a lot about tipper maintenance, ascertaining technical problems, spare replacement cycle, etc., and people will find it extremely difficult to hoodwink us in this regard. Jayaraj Trucking is a professionally sound and responsive team, an essential value partner in our tipper operations” observes Mr. Subburam. Even when our trucks called for assistance from farther hinterlands, Jayaraj roadside and mobile assistance team did their best to put them back on running in no time, he added.
Asked on the popularity of BharatBenz tippers in the region, Jayaraj Trucking told us that they are the market leaders in terms of annual sales. “The 25-tonne capacity tipper segment is one of the fastest growing in the region, with the BharatBenz 2523C model taking up a majority of share in total sales. This model is specifically designed for 25-tonne tipper load limit legally permissible on city roads and flyovers. Fleets and contract operators in the road construction sector show great interest in this dumper model” notes Mr. Ajay Jayaraj, Director and CEO, Jayaraj Trucking. One-Stop and express service is the motto of DICV, and that puts us in the pedestal of tipper market, he adds.
The 40-ton trucks, made by Dutch manufacturer Terberg, cuts CO2 emissions by around 82 tons annually for the company.
BMW Group, along with its logistics partners ARS Altmann AG and SCHERM Group, has put into service three battery-electric trucks to transport finished cars and components from and to its home plant at Munich. The company employed the first electric truck in 2015, shunting between the SCHERM logistics center and the BMW plant eight times a day at a speed of 40 kmph. Satisfied with the truck´s efficiency and reliability, two more tractors with covered semi-trailers are pressed into work.
The electric truck on focus is a 65-tonne (GCW) Terberg YT202-EV terminal tractor. It is powered by a liquid-cooled, 3-phase synchronous motor of 614 V sourced from Siemens, generating a maximum power of 138 kW (188 hp) and a peak torque of 720 Nm. A fully automatic Allison 3000 Series transmission with a torque converter is in place to multiply the motor torque during start-up and acceleration. The battery pack with a capacity rating of 112/169 kWh is made up of Lithium ion magnesium phosphate (LFMP) cells. It takes about 3-4 hours to charge, to offer a driving range up to 160 kms. The truck can reach a maximum speed of 65 kmph.
Moreover, the transmission prevents power interruptions even with a smaller powertrain. Without this, a direct driveline with a larger and more powerful motors would have been necessary to haul the cargo. The Power Take-Off (PTO) feature of the Allison Transmission is used to drive the hydraulic pump, which saves an additional electric generator.
The e-trucks, as against similar diesel trucks, save about 82 tons of CO2 annually. In actual terms, since 2015, the first electric truck has completed over 3,000 trips and clocked over 17,000 km. That means more than 8,000 litres of diesel and 22 tonnes of carbon dioxide have been saved.
Tesla claims a 20 percent cut in running cost for every mile; production to begin from 2019.
Tesla, Inc.´s chairman and CEO Elon Musk is a man of big dreams. His vision for an all-electric ecosystem where automobiles, gadgets, and homes are run by clean energy is one such reverie. What is more, he enjoys a unique kind of clout (even cult) in the entire business world, where every industry heads, experts, and even governments pay keen attention whenever he put up a press meet! Together with the star status of Tesla in the automotive industry, he has revealed his yet another mammoth project to transform the trucking world – the battery-powered Tesla semi truck.
Why is he trying to convince (rather target) the trucking industry? He must have realised that making cars cleaner have a long way to go in his vision to cut global emissions, and trucks are perhaps the right way to make the endeavour effective. Heavy vehicles may account for a small share of vehicles on road, but may own up a huge burden of transportation-related green-house gas emissions, especially the NOx emissions that directly influence people´s health. Moreover, electrification of commercial vehicles is already acknowledged as the next big thing in the industry, and there is a huge potential for developing and commercializing reliable products and technology for the same. Musk must have done the math!
So what´s up the Tesla electric truck concept? Well, everything is frighteningly extraordinary! Although it is the regular battery-electric concept, the devil is in the detail. Take for instance the carbon fiber-made cab with all the jaunty character lines and stance. Tesla has made a great deal out of it, right from the drawing board to the way electronics are asked to play a prime role. The aerodynamic design promises greater drag efficiency than many of our cars, quite an essential trait for electric trucks. There is hardly any hood, the nose of the truck is way more vertical than we would have ever imagined. The “armor glass” windshield is explosion proof – yes, you read it right! On the whole, the exterior styling of the Tesla truck is not that of the truck, but of a high-speed bullet train!
On the inside, the cab looks like an airplane´s cockpit with no cluttered controls and indicators. All one can find is a centre-positioned driving seat and steering wheel (McLaren F1´s way!), and two large 15-inch touchscreens on its either sides. The cab is almost 6 foot, 6 inches high, therefore offers full-standing room inside. While the suicide doors will offer easier entry into the cab. It does seem like truck drivers may feel like liberated while living inside the cab!
The next biggie is the Enhanced AutoPilot suite, which is a semi-autonomous feature that can drive the truck by itself on the highways, be lane disciplined, and automatically brake in case of an emergency. A mix of radars and cameras are employed to assist this semi-autonomous driving technology. There are sensors on board the electric truck to sense any jackknifing and adjust power to the individual wheels to ensure stability.
The battery pack is located beneath the cab, stretching from the front axle to the second pair of rear wheels. Tesla says it has ensured its reliability and safety by way of reinforcing, to prevent any explosion or fire. They power the two electric motors on each rear axles, borrowed from Tesla Model S. We peg that the truck must deliver around 1,032 hp of power, way higher than its diesel rivals. The company claims that the truck can haul about 36 tonnes, with a driving range of around 804 kms (500 miles). How great the acceleration can be, as against a similar diesel truck? Elon Musk revealed that the electric big rig can reach 0-100 kmph (60 mph) in just 5 seconds, we do hope that he was not kidding.
The Tesla´s electric truck can use the company´s Supercharger network to get a range of as 640 kms (400 miles) with just 30 minutes of charging. The firm is tight-lipped on any other technical details and specs for now. What is quite amazing is the way Tesla is rethinking and redefining a heavy truck´s design and functionalities, by way of its electric powertrain and electronics. It blows away the mundane mind of trucking, puts in some alternative thoughts to ruminate. It is a new beginning, for sure!