IAA Commercial Vehicle Show Hannover

By: Chris Smith

There might only have been a few vehicles making their world debut at the 62nd IAA Commercial Vehicle Show in

There might only have been a few vehicles making their world debut at the 62nd IAA Commercial Vehicle Show in Hannover, Germany, but the stunning array of new technologies on display for the first time was more than enough to keep any technophile happy.

While previous Hannover shows have hosted numerous European and global vehicle debuts, in 2008 it was the turn of the suppliers to take centre stage as they demonstrate how they can make transport safer, cleaner and greener.

Companies like ZF, Allison, Bosch Rexroth, Knorr Bremse and many more all took their turn to bask in the sun as they showcased their latest developments.

Leading the charge, both literally and metaphoriocally is German transmission designer ZF, who introduced a range of ‘modular’ hybrids, designed to fit into a range of vehicles.

While individual companies, or joint ventures, have enjoyed plenty of success in developing hybrids for specific vehicles, the new ZF range is the first time a group of transmissions have been introduced that can be supplied to any vehicle manufacturer, instantly providing hybrid drive.

ZF says operators will need to opt for either an automatic or automated manual transmission for full hybrid drive, due to the need for the vehicle’s CPU to select the appropriate gear, as well as managing clutch applications as required.

Meanwhile arch-rival Allison Transmission is poised to make a major bid for the hybrid market, with its new hybrid drive automatics ready to be released in 2009.

While Allison is remaining tight lipped on the new transmissions, they did say the hybrid drive models would offer ‘flat’ shifting, meaning the driver is not required to release the accelerator during upshifts, unlike regular manual transmissions.

Allison would not say which truck ranges would be targeted when the transmissions are released, however given they are already supplying numerous bus manufacturers and operators, it is conceivable the new transmissions could have applications rigt up to the heaviest of trucks, depending on their workload.

Component supplier Knorr Bremse had their new parking sensor system on display, which can be used to warn drivers of their proximity to walls and docks along the length of the vehicle, as well obstacles behind the vehicle.

A company spokesman says the system could also be configured to detect awnings or other height sensitive objects.

Continental AG displayed their new tyre pressure monitoring system, which can provide drivers with an instant readout of a tyre suffering a loss of air pressure via an in-cabin display, which can identify an individual tyre in a multi-axle combination.

Also on the Continental stand were the latest generation adaptive cruise control, able to recognise a stopped object in the truck’s path and slow the vehicle to a virtual standstill, as well as lane departure warning systems that can read the road conditions and detect bends in the road, as well as warning the driver if they have left their own lane.

Bosch Rexroth were another to debut a revised version of their equipment, with an updated hydraulic/diesel hybrid, aimed at operators engaged in constant stop-start driving, such buses, where the stored energy can be used almost instantaneously.

To fully describe the show would be almost impossible, with 27 display halls packed with exhibitors, as well as a number of ‘active’ displays housed in outside pavilions.

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