Iveco Z Concept Truck: A Different Approach to Green Heavy-Duty Trucking

European truck manufacturer Iveco threw its hat into the green heavy-duty truck ring with the introduction of the Z Truck Concept at last week’s IAA Commercial Vehicle Show in Hanover, Germany.

The Z stands for “Zero,” as in zero CO2 emissions, zero accidents, zero stress and zero waste of driver time.

The long haul futuristic concept bypassed battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell powertrains; instead the engine is powered by the more conventional liquefied natural gas (LNG), in the form of bio-methane derived from refined biogas.

Iveco said it is “the best technological choice and the easiest to adopt in the near future to address the issue of pollution and reduce CO2 and particulate matter (PM) emissions.”

The LNG powertrain has a rated power of 460 horsepower, torque at 1,475 pounds-feet and a transmission with 16 gears automated with powershift in the upper gears.

Combined with aerodynamics, low viscosity engine oils, an exhaust-heat energy-recovery system and low-rolling-resistance tires, the Z Truck Concept is said to use up to 33 percent less fuel than conventional diesel engines.

Fuel is stored in aluminum tanks insulated with a new system called MLI (Multi Layer Insulation), a reflective foil that protects from heat radiation.

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It features a technology that allows for a squared shape, which makes it possible to optimize the use of space and accommodate two tanks with a single fill up.

The 317-gallon tank capacity results in a driving range of 1,380 miles.

The futurist styling and thinking is carried over to the truck cab interior.

Zero accidents are the vision for the concept truck through the deployment of active and preventive safety technologies up to fully automated driving technologies, according to Iveco President, Pierre Lahutte.

The Italian company sees a future in which these new technologies and autonomous driving will change the role of the driver, who it said would become “onboard logistics operators.”

When it comes to zero stress and zero waste of driver time, the truck’s operator will find him- or herself in a cabin 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.

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Views from a multi-camera system are displayed on a wide screen at the top of the windshield, giving the driver full visibility around the vehicle in every driving phase.

The truck’s air conditioning forms a ‘climatic bubble” that sees the temperature optimized for the driver, maintained and undisturbed by airflows.

At a rest stop, there’s a foldable bed, shower, refrigerator, sink and entertainment wall, as well as a sliding wall at the rear of the cabin that adds 20-inches more living space.

“At Iveco we have been working to constantly reduce the impact of our vehicles with alternative fuels such as bio-LNG, and putting the driver and the customer at the centre of our technological and design development,” Lahutte said.

Although the Z truck is first and foremost a concept project, Iveco does anticipate some features finding their way into the next generation of its trucks.