Automotive

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

Iveco's blue-sky concept imagi...
The Z Truck is powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG), in the form of bio-methane
The Z Truck is powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG), in the form of bio-methane
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The Z Truck is powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG), in the form of bio-methane
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The Z Truck is powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG), in the form of bio-methane
The truck's engine develops 460-hp (343-kW) and 2,000-Nm (1,475 lb.ft) of torque
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The truck's engine develops 460-hp (343-kW) and 2,000-Nm (1,475 lb.ft) of torque
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
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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 Z Truck has a range of 2,200 km (1,367 mi)
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The Z Truck has a range of 2,200 km (1,367 mi)
Aerodynamics, low viscosity engine oils and a exhaust-heat energy-recovery system all contribute to fuel efficiency
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Aerodynamics, low viscosity engine oils and a exhaust-heat energy-recovery system all contribute to fuel efficiency
The cabin can be configured for driving, automated driving, office work or resting
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The cabin can be configured for driving, automated driving, office work or resting
The truck's aircon creates a "climatic bubble" in the cabin that sees the temperature optimized for the driver, maintained and undisturbed by air flows
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The truck's aircon creates a "climatic bubble" in the cabin that sees the temperature optimized for the driver, maintained and undisturbed by air flows
A Human Machine Interface (HMI) displays "adaptive information," or the necessary information at any given time
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A Human Machine Interface (HMI) displays "adaptive information," or the necessary information at any given time

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.

The cabin can be configured for driving, automated driving, office work or resting
The cabin can be configured for driving, automated driving, office work or resting

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

6 comments
EcoLogical
Iveco claims ZERO emissions while still using an Internal Combustion Engine!!! What gives? Sure they're using natural gas which is somewhat cleaner than diesel but burning anything in a high-pressure, high-temperature chamber results in Nitrous Oxides, Ozone and Carbon Monoxide to name a few pollutants. My suggestion to Iveco ... if they want a ZERO POLLUTION system using natural gas they should design a hybrid propulsion system with batteries to supply instantaneous power/braking needs and a range extender to sustain the batteries. SOFCs are available (Bloom Energy, ...) that can directly convert natural gas to electricity (without burning it). PEM fuel cells are available along with reformers (PowerCell, ...) that extract the hydrogen from natural gas and then convert it to electricity (again without burning it).
yawood
Yeah, Yeah. If it mentions an ICE you can bet on getting a comment from EcoLogical, and others, railing against it. Iveco is trying to deal with the real world. The technologies you speak of may eventuate but not in a real truck doing real work in the real world at a real price, just yet. Also the only advantage that I can see for a hybrid in a long distance vehicle (car or truck) is that you can get some advantage by having the ICE run at a more constant speed while generating the electricity used than it would if it was the only power plant and an accelerator was constantly moving the throttle (but even that is not like it was now we have computer controlled timing, valve gear etc etc).
bhtooefr
To be fair, they didn't claim zero emissions, they claimed zero (at least zero that isn't already in the environment) CO2. And, considering we're talking about biomethane, which may have been released into the environment if it weren't captured, and is a far more potent greenhouse gas than the CO2 produced by burning it, it may actually be negative CO2 equivalent. Oh, and if the engine's running at a stoichiometric ratio, NOx really isn't a problem, and methane tends to combust quite well, minimizing carbon monoxide. And, ozone? That's a side effect of NOx or VOC emissions, after the gases have left the tailpipe - minimize those, you minimize ozone. As far as hybridization, especially if we're talking about a stoichiometric combustion engine, while variable valve timing, variable valve lift, downsizing and turbocharging, cylinder deactivation, and heavy EGR all help, they still only widen the relatively narrow range of efficient operation, rather than making everything efficient - there's still a minimum efficient power output, below which efficiency goes to crap. Hybridization helps there, by allowing the engine to shut down when less than minimum efficient power is demanded, or by taking excess power off of the engine and storing it for later. Also, turbocharging tends to mean that <i>maximum</i> efficient power is lower relative to maximum power (although, not sure how that works on a natural gas engine), due to the engine running rich to avoid detonation, so hybridization helps there as well, by avoiding maximum power operation.
hkmk23
Dinosaurs already. New generation trucks will not need a driver at all!
MikeF
Lots of information on running efficiency but what about the 'zero accidents' bit?
Imran Sheikh
Beautiful Design now thats a truck from 2016