The age of the combustion engine is set to come to an end over the next few decades as governments around the globe announce commitments to banning the sale of diesel and petrol vehicles. Truck manufacturers have already begun transitioning to less-polluting powertrains, with an event held in Bedford last week highlighting their latest environmentally-friendly creations.
Many big names from the HGV sector attended the Low Carbon Vehicle Event 2017, including Iveco and Isuzu. There were also various startups and other emerging competitors on hand to give established brands a run for their money, according to Transport Engineer.
Iveco impressed the crowds with trucks from its Natural Power range, which are powered by compressed natural gas. Both Eurocargo and Stralis models were showcased, with range-extended capabilities afforded thanks to the addition of extra storage tanks.
The Eurocargo has a Euro 6-compliant engine that can easily exceed expectations when it comes to lowering emissions. It develops 201bhp and 750Nm of torque when it hits peak revs, enabling it to pull loads and perform just as capably as its diesel counterparts. This engine can cover almost 400km (250 miles) between fill-ups.
The Stralis NP is even more impressive on paper and in real life, possessing all the same qualities that make Iveco’s long-haul trucks desirable. These include a large cab with many comfort features and a lot of advantages in terms of efficiency and safety.
Iveco’s most compact offering at the event was an electric version of its Daily van, which is not only a competitive zero-emissions offering in the LCV segment but also a reminder that the manufacturer has been pursuing an eco-friendly agenda right across its product ranges.
A larger all-electric offering at the show came from Isuzu, which has turned its N75 150 truck into a battery-powered truck that can travel for up to 160 miles before it needs to be recharged. This is all the more impressive thanks to it 3.7 tonne load capacity and 214bhp high-end electric motor, making it ideal for urban distribution.
This prototype model has been created in partnership with British firm Magtec, which also demonstrated its adaptation of a Mercedes-Benz waste collection truck endowed with its own zero-emissions powertrain.
Since this type of HGV tends to follow a predetermined route, the range limitations are not really an issue and its heavier overall weight can be factored into the design to avoid complications.
Furthermore, a converted DAF truck powered by hydrogen to help cut emissions in half was showcased by ULEMCo, with this project and many others benefitting from government investment in green motoring technologies. Its modular underpinnings helped to streamline the adaptation process and represent a new direction for DAF.
Finally, the most outlandish commercial vehicle at the event was arguably the self-driving CargoPod, which has already been rolled out as part of a small-scale trial in London. Powered by electricity and capable of fully-autonomous operation, this unusual vehicle represents the future of last-mile delivery in cities.