My highlights of the IAA 2018 commercial vehicle trade fair


BYD or Build your Dream, Volvo Trucks own ‘Vera’, eActros and ViaVan, a Volks-Rad from Hanover and a lot of Startup LiDAR technology – these are some of the highlights of the IAA 2018 – the largest commercial vehicle trade fair in the world.
As was almost to be expected, the fair focused on the next-gen mobility topics: Connectivity, e-mobility and autonomous driving. But I myself was surprised by the intensity of these ‘impacts’ in Hanover. There was hardly a stand at this IAA 2018 that did not host one of the three themes. Here my conclusion of the last days:

The economic importance of commercial vehicles

Commercial vehicles are the drivers of our production processes. They handle the distribution of consumer goods and today our purchases to our doorstep are made by new logistical vehicles. Commercial vehicles play a central role in freight transport and passenger transport. And in Germany alone, the commercial vehicle industry employs around 180,000 people.

$155 Million for Proterra

The success of e-mobility at this IAA is driven by customer requirements. The demand for electric transporters and vans, buses and trucks is growing internationally. After all, those responsible in local authorities and cities around the world are driven by the desire to transport goods and people in their urban centers without local emissions. Gone are the days of manufacturers’ studies and concepts. At this IAA I saw electric vehicles on almost every stand. From the smallest electric scooter to the big electric truck. Here are some of my highlights.

Transforming transportation displayed in two halls

For the marketing strategists of the two big rivals, the newly formed Traton Group and the Daimler/Mercedes-Benz Group, this was probably an awakening with horror. The halls of the two Mobility giants opened with the same slogan “Transforming Transformation” at the IAA. Probably only a few people noticed this, because both groups burned down a real firework of electrified, digitally networked and futuristic vehicles. The marketing slogan was left on the shelf. MAN Trucks had previously been accused of doing too little in the way of electrification. In Hanover, however, the electric transporter eTGE based on the VW Crafter and a prototype of the city bus Lion’s City E were shown. Sister Scania presented the electric city bus Citywide and a new plug-in hybrid truck in the same hall.

The Stuttgart colleagues from Daimler/Mercedes-Benz went a few steps further. The FUSO eCanter, eVito and eSprinter are now available for the last mile, all with electric drive and full of connectivity features. A real eye-catcher is the Vision URBANETIC, an autonomous vehicle with a uniform driving platform and swap bodies for transporting goods or passengers. The new Mercedes-Benz Actros as a world premiere, the fully electrically driven eActros, the Actros NGT with gas drive are for me the stars among the big trucks at the fair. At Daimler Buses I experienced the world premiere of the Mercedes-Benz eCitaro and the new minibuses as well as the IAA premieres of the Mercedes-Benz Tourismo and Setra TopClass S 531 DT. Many of the vehicles are already in sales, some are on the road as test vehicles with selected customers.

Daimler then had the announcement of an investment ready for the global further development of the electric buses: in a financing round worth 155 million US dollars, Daimler participated as co-lead in the Californian e-bus specialist Proterra Inc. It will be exciting to see how this investment will further accelerate the development of the company’s own electric buses. In any case, both companies agreed to intensify their cooperation.

The visit to the stands of the major suppliers was very exciting for me. With Bosch and ZF Friedrichshafen, I particularly noticed two trade fair appearances. Super professional in appearance, product presentation and innovative strength. Here it comes to life, the future viability of German engineering.

Read more from the category “Innovation”:

International stars at the commercial vehicle trade fair

The view of the international highlights starts in China. BYD Build Your Dream shines with two buses (12m and 18m) on its stand. Since the start of bus sales in Europe in 2010, BYD has sold more than 600 electric buses. BYD is by far the market leader for electric buses with over 35,000 delivered eBuses worldwide.

With Vera, Volvo presents the autonomous driving study without driver capsule. And while the manufacturer IVECO focused fully on environmental issues and did not show a single diesel or petrol vehicle at the fair, Renault showed a fascinating vehicle for delivery on the last mile with a futuristic study.

“BYD has already delivered 35,000 electric buses worldwide.”

In addition to these big, global stars with their vehicles for the megatrends of logistics, there are also small, or at least smaller, mobility providers present at this IAA. The Streetscooter stall was well attended and well received. The proximity to Ford was interesting, not only because of the direct neighbourhood in Hall 11. They presented a vehicle on common basis and I learned at the extremely well attended press round that there are 60 Ford dealers that include the various electric street scooters in their sales portfolio.

Cargo E-Bikes are coming

Electric cargo bikes are one of the major innovations at the IAA. They are the perfect complement for the delivery of goods on the last mile. We will present these Cargo E-Bikes in a separate post. However, their use for the logisticians is not pure fiction. We will soon see these vehicles in our inner cities. From various depots they bring the goods directly to the customers, electrically operated. The IAA showed the first versions of these Cargo E-Bikes, definitely a highlight for me.

And so I have the outlook for the next few months, because we will see many new vehicles, gladly with electric drive and full of digital connectivity solutions. I am really looking forward to it.

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