The inaugural North American Commercial Vehicle Show was held on 25‒28 September in Atlanta, Georgia, with major manufacturers and suppliers announcing new products.
IHS Markit perspective
- Significance: The inaugural North American Commercial Vehicle (NACV) Show was held at the end of September in Atlanta, Georgia, US. Designed as a show to focus on commercial fleet buyers, a strong turnout of suppliers and OEMs brought key announcements.
- Implications: The NACV Show provides an alternative to the Mid-America Truck Show, which caters more for owner-operators, and gives attention to new trucks and technology that reflect efforts to reach larger fleet businesses.
- Outlook: The inaugural NACV Show appears to have been well received, offering new trucks and technology with solutions for many of the same issues as light vehicles are facing: fuel efficiency/emissions, connectivity, and driver assist systems. IHS Markit forecasts that post-2010-model-year trucks could represent more than 50% of CV demand by 2019, as new products are rolled out to offer value to fleets and support OEM efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The first North American Commercial Vehicle (NACV) Show was held on 24‒28 September 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia, United States, and featured product news from several truckmakers and suppliers. The show was organised by a joint venture (JV) between Canada's NewCom Business Media and Germany's Deutsche Messe and its US arm, Hannover Fairs. Transport Topics reported the show drew nearly 10,000 attendees. The show has been set up as an alternative to the traditional Mid-America Trucking Show and is set to run in odd-numbered years.
While much of the content on display had been shown at previous events, show organiser Joe Glionna is quoted as saying he expects that will change over time. Initial feedback, as reported by Transport Topics, indicates that commercial fleet buyers were pleased with the depth of displays and access to company executives. Suppliers and truckmakers provided positive feedback as well, noting that they had the opportunity to meet with buyers and continue talks over significant orders. The show organisers indicated more than 400 companies exhibited at the inaugural 2017 NACV exhibition.
Cummins announced that it will pair its X12 and X15 diesel engines with the new Endurant transmission. The Endurant 12-speed automated manual transmission, also introduced at the NACV, is the first from Eaton Cummins Automated Transmission Technologies, a 50/50 JV between Eaton and Cummins for medium- and heavy-duty automated transmissions. Eaton Cummins says the transmission weighs 105 pounds less than competitor models and is capable of handling up to 1,850 pound-feet of torque. Scott Davis, general manager of Eaton Cummins Automated Transmission Technologies, said, "Fleets will find that Endurant has been intelligently engineered from the ground up with features that protect your investment and make it easy to maintain. With a sophisticated communication system between the engine and transmission software, Endurant promises to deliver industry-best performance and reliability, fuel efficiency, reduced maintenance, and driver comfort features." The company also noted that the transmission has not been adapted from a manual unit, but has been engineered and created from a clean sheet. The new transmission features a smart prognostics system that provides clutch replacement notification; transmission fluid pressure sensors to notify drivers of low oil levels; predictive shifting for improved fuel efficiency; and internal electrical system routing that minimises exposure and corrosion of wires and connectors.
Cummins also displayed its prototype Class 7 urban hauler electric tractor, called AEOS and unveiled earlier in September at Cummins proving grounds in Indiana. According to a Trucks.com interview with Cummins' electrification business chief Julie Furber, Cummins is able to offer a full portfolio of products, to hedge against the potential for regulatory restrictions on diesel engines and increasingly difficult emissions requirements. Furber is quoted as saying, "For a long time, I think you are going to see companies that have a mixture of products in their fleets." The AEOS prototype features a 140-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack that could provide up to 100 miles of range on a single charge, reports Trucks.com. Reportedly, extra batteries could increase the all-electric range to 300 miles and a diesel engine-generator could add an additional 500 miles of range. Diesel engine development continues, however, and the company is planning a new 15-litre heavy-duty diesel engine in 2022.
Continental showed a new digital tyre-monitoring platform that enables remote monitoring of an entire fleet of trucks. Fleets could replace manual and routine tyre care with automated and targeted tyre care, fixing issues when they are known and saving inspection and maintenance.
Bosch demonstrated a programmable connectivity cluster, a diesel hybrid system (eCity truck), and a project evaluating a "commercially-viable, plug-in hybrid electric vehicle". Future technologies included a 15-inch freely programmable cluster, the largest available for the commercial vehicle (CV) sector. Bosch offers one variant in landscape mode as a dashboard solution and another in portrait mode as part of a mirror camera system with the potential to replace side mirrors. The eCity truck is a flexible, scalable diesel hybrid system that integrates Bosch's electric axle (eAxle) and enables easy conversion of a traditional diesel to a diesel-electric hybrid truck, the company claims. The eAxle is Bosch's scalable, modular platform with motor, power electronics and transmission in one compact unit. The eCity truck can also integrate the company's 48-volt technology. Bosch also demonstrated its latest-generation multi-purpose camera, a scalable, monocular camera platform for video-based driver assistance systems, integrating a wide range of driver assist functions using only one sensor, Bosch says. Computing technology is necessary to support future technology, and Bosch demonstrated a vehicle control unit (VCU) for CV and off-road use. The VCU offers one scalable electronic/electronic architecture to handle the increased number of calculation-intensive and cross-domain functionalities within continuously evolving efficient, connected, and autonomous vehicles, Bosch says.
Mitsubishi Fuso brought its eCanter electric truck to the NACV Show, following the announcement of a partnership with United Parcel Service, and confirmed that it will offer a new gasoline (petrol)-powered version of its FE160 medium-duty truck in second quarter 2018. Mercedes-Benz Commercial Vans showed the Vision Van, with a 75-kilowatt electric drive system and a range of 167 miles. The concept previews the next Sprinter and featured an automated loading system for distributing packages in delivery service applications.
Volvo Trucks displayed its new VNL series, introduced in July, while the company's president, Goran Nyberg, commented on Volvo's business. Truck News quotes Nyberg as saying, "It couldn't have been a better year to go to market with a totally new product range." He added, "Looking at the business environment, we are bouncing back in the industry, we have a strong labor market and we can see the GDP is getting strong in all three North American countries … going forward we believe we have a few years of a growing marketplace."
At the show, Navistar's International Truck brand launched the new International HV series, as well as displayed a new 51-inch sleeper cab that expands the recently launched HX series. The HV is the first severe service truck to be available with International's A26 475-hp 12.4-litre big-bore engine, built from the MAN D26 engine crankcase and 600‒700 lb lighter than a traditional 15-litre big bore, according to a company statement. This engine will also be offered in the HX truck. The HV gets redesigned cab doors with a single large piece of glass to improve blind-spot visibility, with a lower bottom edge glass and vent window removed. The position of optional pedestal mirrors has been optimised so that the driver does not have to turn his head as far to see, reducing neck strain and enabling eyes on the road longer, it is claimed. A new fuse panel is easier to service and has no exposed wires, while the dash has space for up to 30 customisable switches, the company says. A new stalk shifter placement and lower instrument panel design has improved driver leg room. The series also integrates International's Diamond Logic electrical system, which provides control and communication between work trucks and body equipment. The HV will be offered in Regular Cab, Extended Cab, and Crew Cab variants. International is taking orders immediately and will begin delivering vehicles in March 2018.
Navistar and VW Truck and Bus also discussed further details of their partnership. Trucks.com quotes Navistar CEO Troy Clarke as saying, "We believe Class 6/7 is the ideal place for electric powertrain solutions in the near term. Our alliance with Volkswagen Truck & Bus will allow us to move much more quickly into electrical propulsion." The two companies are also working on a new-generation big-bore powertrain for Navistar, set to launch as soon as 2021. Transport Topics reports Clarke as saying, "We believe a proprietary powertrain is important for Navistar, for dealers and, most importantly, for our customers."
Outlook and implications
The inaugural NACV show appears to have been well received, offering new trucks and technology with solutions for many of the same issues as light vehicles are facing: fuel efficiency/emissions, connectivity, and driver assist systems. According to a recent presentation to clients from Andrej Divis and Antti Lindstrom, IHS Markit medium and heavy commercial vehicle industry analysts, we forecast that post-2010-model-year trucks could represent more than 50% of demand by 2019, as new products are rolled out to offer value to fleets and support OEM efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Against that backdrop, the new NACV and other trade shows may be expected to see increased activity in the near term.
On autonomous vehicle technology, however, IHS Markit projects that only Level 3 automation is desired for this type of application. While the interest in Level 3 technology is strong due to potential improvements in safety and efficiency, IHS Markit assumes that a qualified operator will always be necessary to provide service and small maintenance. Additionally, while the prospects for electric trucks are improving, the larger engine trend for this sector is a move from diesel to gasoline. However, we also expect that refuse, distribution, delivery, and port drayage applications are the first and natural fit for electric vehicle powertrains, although the costs of the technology still need to come down compared with diesel powertrain operation.
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