MAN CLA EVO 49.300 6×4 & 31.300 8×4 ‘EXPEDITION’ Review

MAN CLA EVO 49.300 6x4 & 31.300 8x4

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.

Also Read: MAN CLA EVO 25.300 And 49.300 (6×4) – Tech Specifications, Review

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.

MAN CLA EVO 31.300
With 300 hp power on tap, the MAN CLA 31.300 EVO 8×4 rigid truck is one of the powerful hauler one can buy in India.

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.

Also Read: Mahindra Blazo HCV Truck Range – Tech Specifications, Review

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?

MAN CLA 49.300 EVO 6x4 T
MAN CLA 49.300 EVO 6×4 tractor is now equipped with heavy-duty Bogie type suspension with planetary tandem bogie rear axle to save costs. 

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!

Also Read: Tata Signa Truck Range (MHCV) – Tech Specifications, Review

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
Engine Dl, Turbo-charged Intercooled

MAN D-0836, 6.9-litres

Output Max Power: 300 hp @ 2,300 rpm

Max Torque: 1,150 Nm @ 1200-1800 rpm

Transmission ZF 9-speed synchromesh gearbox
Front Axle Heavy-Duty Drop forged I-Beam type, Maintenance free Hub Bearings Heavy Duty Drop Forged I-Beam type, Maintenance free Hub Bearings
Rear Axle MAN Planetary Tandem Bogie with Hub Reduction, Inter Axle and Stabilizer Bar Fully floating single speed Hypoid Axle
Front Suspension Semi Elliptical Leaf springs with Double Acting Shock Absorbers Semi Elliptical Leaf springs with Double Acting Shock absorbers.
Rear Suspension Heavy Duty Bogie type suspension Bell Crank Type Suspension
Brakes S-Cam, Dual-Circuit, Air-actuated Drum Brakes with ABS
Engine Brake MAN Exhaust Valve Brake (EVB)
Inter-axle Differential Lock Yes Nil
Cruise Control Yes

*An edited version of this article has been published in the January 2018 edition of MotorIndia Magazine.

BMW engages Terberg Electric Trucks for its Logistics Operations

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.

Also Read: BMW iPerformance: Electrifying All Model Ranges By 2020

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. 

Terberg YT202-EV Electric Truck_WagenClub(6)
The electric trucks saves about 82 tons of Co2 emissions annually.

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.

Also Read: E-FUSO Vision One: All-Electric Heavy-Duty Truck Concept

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.

Next, would you like to read more on Electric Trucks?


Terberg YT202-EV Electric Truck – Image Gallery

Tesla Semi Truck Concept: 0-100 kmph in 5 Secs, 800 Km Range

Tesla Semi Truck Concept_WagenClub(1)

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!

Also Read: E-FUSO Vision One: All-Electric Heavy-Duty Truck Concept

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!

Tesla Semi Truck Concept_WagenClub(5)
The cockpit view of the Tesla Semi Truck is nothing short to that of an airplane!

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!

Also Read: Nikola One Hydrogen Fuel Cell Truck Generates 1,000 hp

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.

Tesla Semi Truck Concept_WagenClub(8)
Tesla CEO Elon Musk at the premiere of Tesla Semi Truck Concept.

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.

Also Read: Mercedes-Benz Urban eTruck

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!

Next, would you like to read more on Tesla, or Electric Trucks?


Tesla Semi Truck Concept – Image Gallery

Photos Credit: Tesla