BTS 2023

Brisbane Truck Show: Will it be different to Hanover?

HVIA is going full steam to make the 2023 event bigger and better than ever. The truck manufacturers – apart from Scania I’m told – will be back displaying their wares to convince you that their product is where you should place your backside.

I was lucky enough to visit the Hanover Truck Show in Germany earlier this year, so one man’s comparison as to how they do things in Europe may be of interest. 

Hanover, or IAA Transportation as its termed, is the biggest truck show in the world with one pavilion taking up close to the same footprint as the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre. And there are 21 of them at Hanover! If you think that your tired after a day walking around the Brisbane Truck Show then don’t go to Germany.

Based on past Brisbane shows – and probably the upcoming one – the difference in the two was stark for one major reason. Electricity! (There was another which I’ll come to)

The European truck market is dominated by six companies and eight brands: Daimler Truck (Mercedes, Fuso),
PACCAR (DAF), Volvo, Traton (Scania, MAN), Stellantis (Iveco) and Renault. Ford also still has a presence on the continent. All these companies, and a strong Chinese contingent at the IAA concentrated on battery powered trucks from last-mile delivery through to Mercedes’ new Actros prime mover capable of a (fully loaded) 500km range – enough to satisfy over 60 per cent of Europe’s requirements.

A 500km battery electric prime mover – and hydrogen power – is coming to Mercedes.

How dominant was electricity at Hanover? 80 per cent dominant. Mercedes for example had only two diesel powered trucks on their massive display. The Ford stand had only two trucks on show – both electric. If memory serves me correctly the entire Chinese contingent was electric. All other manufacturers went mainly electric as well, and I’m not talking Canter/Sea Electric-sized vehicles. These were all Big Bangers.

Hanover was also awash with electric powered trailers to go with those electric prime movers – a logical progression in spreading the power load. I’d love to see some of those at Brisbane

We will of course see some electric power in Brisbane. Fuso will no doubt be there with their electric Canter – hopefully the 2nd generation which is a massive leap forward in design, range and type of drive line. Daimler Truck – like all OEM’s I tried to speak to – are playing their cards close to their chests, but the word is they have an electric Actros (rigid) here for evaluation. 

If so, expect it to make an appearance at Brisbane. I drove this truck in Europe and it was amazing – for its size alone apart from anything else. Daimler also have a couple of eEconic refuse trucks running around for evaluation with the latest electric drive system which houses motors and diff in one unit. Garbage trucks are an ideal recipient of electric power with their slow speeds and constant stopping. Expect to see them there. Otherwise I have no doubt there will be a healthy display of good old diesel product on their stand.

What the Europeans call ‘long distance’, we’d call a run down to the corner shop and whilst electric will certainly find its place for last mile delivery, it’s got problems with the miles needed to be covered here (Janus is of course developing their variation on the theme with plug in batteries).

There were a bunch of companies at Hanover displaying the alternative to electric. I refer to hydrogen. The development in this arena is gathering pace at breakneck speed with multiple fuel-cell designs on show. I’ve no doubt this is Australia’s answer for long distance driving in the absence of diesel, and it would be great to see some of these products on display. Guess we’ll have to wait until May to find out. It would be an education if Cummins brought their hydrogen display here from Europe.

This Cummins motor runs on compressed hydrogen gas.

The other difference I referred to earlier between Hanover and here is the absence of bonneted trucks over there (two drive axles is also a rarity). Aussies love the bonnet but I’m predicting that the hero truck on the Kenworth stand will be the new high-tech K220 cab over.

Hino refused to divulge any details of their show plans, so I’m figuring they’re planning something. Other companies are also staying mum. Whatever turns up at Brisbane, I know there’ll be something for everyone, that there’ll be more than one surprise, and that I’ll not have to walk near as far as I did at Hanover to see everything. Bring it on!

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