Iveco's blue-sky concept imagines the future of trucking

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The Z Truck is powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG), in the form of bio-methane(Credit: Iveco)

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Iveco has premiered its long-haul concept truck, the Z Truck, which explores how alternative energy, new technologies and automated driving may change trucking in the future. The "Z" stands for "Zero," in the sense of zero CO2 emissions, zero accidents, zero stress and zero waste of driver time.

In reality, all of those things would be more accurately termed "near zero," but that doesn't roll off the tongue quite as well. Nonetheless, Iveco tells New Atlas that the truck, designed by the CNH Industrial Design Centre, improves upon current fuel efficiencies by up to 37 percent, a higher figure than even that of the Volvo Concept Truck. Although it is first and foremost a blue-sky project, Iveco does expect some elements to inspire the next generation of its trucks.

Unlike the likes of the electric Mercedes Urban eTruck and the hydrogen-powered Nikola Semi, the Z Truck's 460-hp (343-kW), 2,000-Nm (1,475 lb.ft) engine is powered by more conventional liquefied natural gas (LNG), in the form of bio-methane. Iveco tells us this is because it is "the best technological choice and the easiest to adopt in the near future to address the issue of pollution and reduce CO2 emissions."

The fuel is stored in a 1,200-l (264-gal) capacity tank that is made of aluminum and has a reflective foil layer to protect it from heat radiation. The square shape of the tank is said to help optimize the use of space. A full tank will apparently give the Z Truck a range of 2,200 km (1,367 mi), with aerodynamics, low viscosity engine oils and a exhaust-heat energy-recovery system used to further stretch fuel efficiency.

Efficiency would also be improved via the use of Michelin X Line Energy low-rolling-resistance tires, the large diameter and narrow threads of which are said to save a liter (0.2 gal) of fuel for every 100 km (62 mi) driven, compared to conventional tires. Their benefits don't just stop there, though. Integrated RFID tags make it possible to access information about the tires such as type, size, model name, wear, performance and temperature, while pressure data can be accessed via pressure-monitoring sensors.

Tire pressure, tire wear and tire temperature are among the data that can be viewed via a Human Machine Interface (HMI) in the truck's cabin. The HMI is designed to display "adaptive information," or the necessary information at any given time. This is projected onto the interior of the truck's windshield for easy viewing.

The cabin itself would be developed with a driver-centric approach. It can be configured for driving, automated driving, office work or resting, all of which may be required during long-haul truck journeys. There's a foldable bed, shower, kitchen, fridge, sink and entertainment wall, as well as a sliding wall at the rear of the cabin that adds 500 mm (20 in) more living space when required. The truck's air conditioning, meanwhile, will apparently form a "climatic bubble" in the cabin that sees the temperature optimized for the driver, maintained and undisturbed by air flows.

The Z Truck debuted at the IAA show last week.

Source: Iveco

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