Concept of the Day: ZF Innovation Truck

August 19, 2014 § Leave a comment

03-1_ZF-Innovation_Truck_IMG_8ZF Friedrichshafen is showing its Innovation Truck concept at the upcoming 2014 IAA Commercial Vehicles Show in Hannover, which has a clever tablet app-controlled remote manouevering function handy for squeezing a long tractor-trailer combi into small spaces around a depot, for example. Cleverer than this, however, is its satellite navigation-based PreVision GPS system, which directly feeds location and map data into the transmission to select the optimum gearshift for the upcoming terrain or road topography, or to prevent an unsuitable gearshift which might compromise fuel efficiency, anticipating factors such as steep hills, ongoing sections of mountainous roads, or sharp bends and sudden curves. PreVision GPS can also work with the ‘coasting’ function to simply decouple the driveline when the truck is rolling (down a gentle slope, for example) and to predict when the transmission should be put back into gear, or to apply brakes as necessary.

These anticipatory gearshift strategies have the potential to reduce journey times as well as fuel consumption and tailpipe emissions, smoothing out progress and maintaining optimum speeds. All this works in tandem with the TraXon Hybrid module, mounted in the clutch bell housing. This integrates a 120kW motor and enables functions including all-electric driving at low speeds and for short distances, boosting of the combustion engine, start-stop to cut the engine when idling, and energy recuperation, which can direct otherwise wasted energy for auxiliary power supply to items such as cooler units and to electrical features in the driver’s cab. It has the potential to facilitate additional functions such as ‘coasting’ (engine switch-off at speed) as well as the fitment of quiet, efficient electric PTOs (Power Take-Offs) rather than noisier mechanical units, as currently used in vehicles such as municipal waste lorries or ambulances operating in residential areas. Its projected fuel saving is around 5%. Lots more detail to be found here.

  • However, a reminder that not everyone’s into apps: recent research by Deloitte found that 31% of UK smartphone owners do not download any apps each month. This is up from around one in five in 2013. Of those who do download apps, the average is down to 1.82 a month, and nearly nine out of ten never spend money on apps or other smartphone content, reports The Telegraph. This suggests that less tech-savvy (or less tech-interested) people (including those in older age-groups) are now owning smartphones.
  • And another one: a team from MIT has developed a process to turn materials from old lead-acid car batteries into perovskite solar cells (PSCs), tipped to be the next big thing in PV energy capture, and solving the issues around safe disposal of old batteries and where to get the lead for the PSCs in one. More, incl academic references, here at Green Car Congress.
  • Sticking with a range of up to 100 miles is the optimum for EV drivers in terms of battery and range-related vehicle costs, claims a paper in Transportation Science, at least until EV batteries become cheaper.
  • There’s a useful cost of travel index from the RAC Foundation; graph shows that the cost of motoring has risen far less steeply (and has levelled off) in comparison to the general cost of living, and bus, coach and rail travel in the last ten years. And that’s before this upcoming rise in rail fares takes effect…
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