Low-emission and emission-free trucks, buses, coaches and vans. Commercial vehicles which brake automatically for obstacles ahead. An all-encompassing service from vehicle purchase to operation to subsequent recycling for minimal lifecycle costs.
For Daimler Trucks, Daimler Buses as well as Mercedes-Benz Vans, all this links into Shaping Future Transportation. This is the overall concept under which Daimler has grouped a host of technologies and services designed to make trucks as well as buses and coaches safer, greener and more economical. As the inventor not just of the motor car but of the truck and the bus too, and in its capacity as a global player with leading brands, Daimler is keen to put its energy into the simultaneous advancement of all these innovations. At stake is the future of transportation and the task of making it greener, safer and more economical.
Shaping Future Transportation at the 2010 IAA Commercial Vehicles
The 2010 IAA International Commercial Vehicle Show provides a showcase for the spectrum of activities and an opportunity to take stock of what has already been accomplished. The Shaping Future Transportation Boulevard in hall 14/15 serves as an interconnecting element between the Mercedes-Benz, Fuso and Setra brands. Around its periphery are numerous visitor exhibits documenting achievements in the context of CleanDrive, SafeDrive and ValueDrive.
CleanDrive technologies – the vision of the emission-free commercial vehicle
The figures make impressive reading: there are some 300,000 trucks operating with BlueTec technology worldwide, along with over 25,000 buses and coaches. The BlueTec SCR technology from Daimler is starting to break through globally, with the major markets of North America and Japan now following Europe’s suit and implementing this technology more and more. Further continents and countries are bound to follow as a consequence of increasingly stringent emissions limits.
BlueTec technology blends cleanliness with economy in exemplary fashion – here, reduced emissions and lower fuel consumption complement one another perfectly. The trucks from Mercedes-Benz, the Mercedes-Benz Vario high-capacity van, the buses and coaches from Mercedes-Benz and Setra as well as the most powerful version of the Fuso Canter are all BlueTec pioneers, having successfully implemented the technology as a future-proof standard. Many of the models from these brands already comfortably undercut the Euro 5 emissions limits currently in force in Europe and fulfil the most stringent voluntary standard, EEV.
More than 14,000 commercial vehicles with alternative drives
No less impressive is the fact that Daimler already has more than 14,000 trucks, vans, buses and coaches around the world running on alternative drive systems – and their number is increasing daily. Production of hybrid buses from Orion is into four figures as are the numbers of Mercedes-Benz vans and Mercedes-Benz and Fuso light-duty and heavy-duty trucks as well as urban buses with gas-powered drives. The Global Hybrid Center that was inaugurated two years ago at Fuso in Japan highlights the global approach. This pools together all developments from Daimler Trucks and is networked with further centres in Europe and North America for local hybrid drive applications.
The advancement of alternative drive systems is progressing apace at the Daimler Group. Clear evidence of this is provided at the IAA Commercial Vehicles by the Mercedes-Benz Atego BlueTec Hybrid with its leap forwards from prototype to a first innovation fleet of 50 units, the series-production variant of the Econic NGT with CO2-neutral biogas drive, one of almost 1000 Canter Eco Hybrid models to have
been series-produced to date, a Freightliner Business Class M2e Hybrid truck, a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Hybrid and, making its debut before this specialist audience, the new Mercedes-Benz Sprinter LGT with liquefied-gas drive.
Emission-free trucks, buses, coaches and vans
Vehicles which operate with zero local emissions are the next stage of development. The keywords here are fuel-cell drive and battery electric drive. Once again, this is a field where Daimler has assumed a pioneering role, as evidenced by three models at the IAA: firstly, there is the Mercedes-Benz Citaro FuelCELL Hybrid, which is already being produced in a small-scale series with customer trials about to get underway. A small series of 100 units of the new Vito E-CELL is currently in production and customer trials have already begun. A further 2000 Vito E-CELL models will follow from 2011. The Fuso Canter E-CELL is receiving its show debut, and will allow Fuso to gauge initial customer response to the study with a view to possible development for series production.
The vision of the emission-free commercial vehicle – for urban and metropolitan areas at least – is rapidly getting closer to becoming reality.
SafeDrive technologies – the road to accident-free driving
Anti-lock braking system, acceleration skid control, disc brakes, electronically controlled braking systems, retarder, proximity control, Lane Assistant and Front Collision Guard – this long list of safety innovations, plus many more besides, first appeared in Mercedes-Benz and Setra trucks, buses and coaches. The same applies to vans, as illustrated by the universal introduction of the Electronic Stability Program as standard in the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter and Vito.
One of the milestones in the evolution of safety technology is Active Brake Assist, which applies the brakes when there is a risk of a rear-end collision with a slower vehicle in front. First fitted in heavy-duty trucks in 2006, it has now also been introduced into Mercedes-Benz and Setra touring coaches. There are already some 15,000 trucks, buses and coaches in all with the Active Brake Assist lifesaver on board. There is a further world premiere in store at the IAA Show, where Mercedes‑Benz is unveiling Active Brake Assist 2 in its Actros heavy-duty truck. This system is capable of braking for stationary obstructions too and will be introduced at the turn of the year. It is a supplementary function that can save lives.
Active Brake Assist 2 is an innovation with which the Mercedes engineers have set a further milestone along the “road to accident-free driving”.
The training services offered by Mercedes-Benz and Setra also have an important contribution to make here: the popular driver training courses for trucks and buses have been held successfully for many years now and help drivers to both prevent accidents and react correctly when an accident occurs.
ValueDrive: Customer services; economical transport today and in the future
The third component of Shaping Future Transportation is the benefit to the individual customer – after all, commercial vehicles are built to either earn money or to save as much as possible. The actual acquisition of a truck, van or bus only represents a portion of its overall cost, for it is the running costs which account for the lion’s share. This is where wide-ranging and custom-tailored services come in. The spectrum ranges from vehicle purchase to operation to its subsequent recycling and incorporates many different facets.
This aspect has taken on a whole new importance in these times of economic uncertainty. With the multitude of services that they offer, Mercedes-Benz, Fuso and Setra are all playing a pioneering role in their respective sectors.
Products which are every bit as individual as the customers
There is no room for standardised products in the service portfolio – products have to be individually tailored to the customers, their applications and their requirements. Keeping the overall costs for trucks, buses and vans low and calculable for the duration of their service lives depends on a whole host of factors: the right financing and leasing deal, for instance, low fuel consumption and long service intervals, excellent reliability to minimise downtime, flawless service for both tractor vehicle and trailer or semitrailer in the event of a breakdown, high resale value, appropriate short-term and long-term rental offers, customised maintenance and service contracts, telematics systems, driver training, etc.
The figures confirm just how important such matters are for Daimler’s commercial vehicle customers – Daimler Trucks and Daimler Buses earn over a quarter of their revenue from services, and this figure is on the rise.
Attractive products and new services for the IAA Commercial Vehicles
Visitors to the IAA Commercial Vehicles can discover many of the current products on offer as they pass along the Shaping Future Transportation Boulevard. Take the Mercedes-Benz Bank, for instance. During the trade show, Germany’s largest provider of finance for commercial vehicles is offering business founders and fledgling companies a special business start-up package for Mercedes-Benz trucks and vans. And anyone who purchases a Fuso Canter through the Mercedes-Benz Bank also stands to benefit from particularly favourable conditions.
FleetBoard has brought out an introductory offer for the new factory-fitted telematics solution for the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter: customers who opt for a service contact can expect to receive a highly attractive deal. FleetBoard is a very worthwhile investment – the initial expense pays off in less than a year, as it saves fuel, minimises time loss and maximises efficiency.
It is not just a question of costs like these, however. There are also new and innovative services to provide the customer with a reliable safety net, such as the TruckMobility package for Mercedes-Benz trucks.
The unrivalled services from Mercedes-Benz, Fuso and Setra
The highly important role of services is highlighted by the facts. CharterWay looks after a fleet of 170,000 vehicles in 20 European countries as well as managing its own rental fleet numbering over 4000 vehicles.
The used-truck brand TruckStore has an average of 4000 trucks throughout Europe to offer at any one time and operates on an international scale, with 31 dedicated centres in 15 countries. The approved used trucks are backed up by similar services as the new models.
The Mercedes-Benz 24-hour service is one of the classic products. There are some 1750 service partners in 40 European countries who can attend to trucks during the daytime, with nearly half of them open for business round the clock. There is a network of around 2600 service partners for vans, with almost 1000 of them offering a 24-hour service. Wherever help is required, Mercedes-Benz Service is on the scene to assist after just an hour on average. It works extremely effectively too, with about 85% of all breakdowns being fixed on the spot.
Many of the services offered are unique: the TruckMobility package and maintenance management, for instance, are only available for Mercedes-Benz trucks.
This whole approach is likewise reflected in the Mercedes-Benz and Setra bus and coach brands, which are backed up by OmniPlus, a unique and highly specialised service brand.
Clear objective: the lowest lifecycle costs
The common goal is a clearly defined one: quite apart from their straightforward purchase price, the trucks, buses, coaches and vans from Mercedes-Benz, Fuso and Setra should attain the lowest lifecycle costs when compared to the competition – they are meant to save money, not cost money.
The diverse range of services offered for trucks, vans and buses and coaches from Mercedes-Benz, Fuso and Setra therefore form an integral part of Shaping Future Transportation too. They may be less spectacular than cutting-edge technologies for greater safety and protecting the environment, but they are no less effective.
Source: Daimler AG