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Arriving at the IAA, 2010 just before eight, we knew immediately that there were no shortage of press visitors as the third parking lot we visited was full. After eventually finding a spot and then walking at a hurried pace through the impressively large site (1,600,000 square meters which is about 289 football fields) we finally reached our destination – the Daimler pavilion, just in time to witness the awarding of ‘Truck of the year 2011’ for the Atego BlueTec Hybrid. After a few pictures we unpacked our equipment as the band played.
We had come to the IAA with an ambitious plan, to shoot eight films in one day for the up-and-coming blog myvan.com. Five interview partners were already lined up so there was certainly no time to lose. First up was to make a Daimler highlight film, this was made easy by the fact that all the Mercedes-Benz Vans and Trucks and their subsidiaries were all housed in the same exhibition hall. This proved enormously practical as it meant that emergency vehicles, Unimogs, Zetros, trucks, busses, vans original parts, accessories and fleet management systems were all under one roof. The vehicles sparkled with their showroom shine but it was our job to find out what new technology was underneath making them cleaner and more efficient.
Perfect timing for our first interview with Daimler strategist for safety and emissions Dr. Manfred Schukert. Now, as an interviewer you want to put people at ease and I was a little unsure whether to use Dr. Schukert or Mr. Schukert but immediately he cut through all formalities with a generous “call me Manfred” and we proceeded to have a great chat. We talked largely about Daimler’s Shaping Future Transportation and the interview went a lot longer than planned, but that is what it’s all about after all. This is one of the moments when I really enjoy the journalistic aspect of my job, meeting people who are dedicated to emission reduction and safety and achieving this in a sensible manner i.e. making it cost effective for the customer.
Fired up with enthusiasm we rushed to our next appointment, the Vito E-Cell. We at myvan.com have a particular interest in e-mobility and are lucky enough to be good friends with the Vito E-Cell, we made two films about it, we looked at the technology and we did a test drive. So this time we wanted to look at the other aspects, for instance the Smart Charging Unit (this can select the cheapest or greenest electricity) and Wolgang Nebe the developer was the man to tell us all about it. He did this of course and much more, he told about the lifespan of the batteries, how they are cooled and how the developers managed to maintain all that loading space.
Without missing a beat we segued over to the new generation Vito and our only problem here was how to keep the film time down, it’s so packed with highlights! A hop, skip and a jump and we had filmed the Sprinter LGT; it’s a bivalent or dual- fuel vehicle with petrol and liquefied gas. I was not so clear about the differences between liquefied gas (LGT) and natural gas (NGT) and so kindly and slowly Mr. Kolja Kissel explained the difference between the abbreviations. To make a long story short the essential difference has to do with pressure, liquefied gas can be stored and pumped to where it’s needed with just 8 bar whereas natural gas requires 200 bar, that and LGT has a large network of filling stations. Duly informed and feeling a lot smarter we left the Daimler exhibition and braved the sunlight to visit the Renault and Iveco stands.
As I mentioned the IAA is big. Just what you expect from an industry showcase, everyone is bustling around and trying to show off what they have. And it ranges from the weird to the wonderful. My favorites were a concept truck cab that did away with side mirrors and used monitors instead, a custom instrument cluster with its own software that enables you to have your cluster anyway you want it and MAN Concept S Truck, a very impressive vehicle that looks so wonderfully futuristic.
Iveco is a large manufacturer and I was impressed that they not only build trucks and vans but all sorts of things I never would have expected, like emergency vehicles, Italian military personnel carriers and such like. We went there to check out the new Daily Electric, we all know the Daily of course; its range covers just about every body type you want with the appropriate engines. That’s why we were interested to see what a 3.5 ton electric van could do. Not to be outdone the Maxcity Electric was our target at the Renault exhibit. This 2 ton truck, is drivable with a B license, and has a range of about 100 km. It’s in the test phase at the moment the launch is due sometime in 2011.
Finally it was time for our last interview and my personal highlight of the show: the Mercedes-Benz Actros Black and White liner. These limited edition trucks not only look fantastic they are full of the latest state-of-the-art assistance systems such as Brake Assist 2 and the lane keeping assist making them among the safest on the road. Our partner here was Claws Tohshe and he proved not only to be a hilarious character but also well informed about the vehicles and he clearly reveled in passing the information on in front of the camera.
The floor managers and their crews were busy setting up for the following day events and our day at the IAA, 2010 was coming to a close. The next step for us now will be to to edit the films and show the IAA through our eyes, which I am really excited about.
Über den Autor:
Neil O’Sullivan is a journalist and the man at the helm of myvan.com a forum for commercial vehicle drivers and operators and the people who love them, powered by Mercedes-Benz Vans.