Reposted excerpts from www.tradetrucks.com.au and Brisbane Truck Show.

The 2021 Brisbane Truck Show proved yet again why it is truly the trucking industry’s foremost event. Over 30,000 attendees came together at the 2021 Brisbane Truck Show held at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre over the last week.

Organised by Heavy Vehicle Industry Australia (HVIA) on behalf of its members and the wider transport industry, the support for the event signalled its vital importance as Australia’s premier on-road transport business and networking event.

For the second successive year, major on-road transport equipment events in Europe, Asia and America have fallen victim to the COVID pandemic.

Australia’s combination of isolation, fortune and community commitment has seen the country in a position to move forward with large numbers at sporting, cultural and business events.

The Brisbane Truck Show has been recognised as Australia’s best corporate event and best exhibition or trade show. It is regarded as amongst the world’s best on-road transport business events.

Here are some highlights.

Stunning Display!

One of the main protagonists of the TIC venture was Melbourne-based Paccar Australia but to its inestimable credit, the company went to Brisbane ’21 with arguably the best presentation of show trucks ever seen at a truck show, anywhere in the world. And for good reason, with 2021 also marking 50 years of Paccar truck manufacturing in Australia.

Vitally, Kenworth and DAF were for the first time presented as equal Paccar partners, each painted in the same spectacular show livery adorned by brilliantly air-brushed images of iconic Australian scenes. Words can’t do the display justice and show visitors were attracted to the Paccar stand in droves.

As for new models, none were more appealing than the special edition Legend SAR, pulling people to Paccar like bees to a hive.

Across the ages. In the background, the Legend SAR and up close, the latest in the line, the T410SAR

Created to capture the almost euphoric esteem of the legendary Kenworth SAR, the ‘Legend’ version follows in the hugely successful wake of earlier Legend 950 and Legend 900 models and, like its predecessors, is almost guaranteed to be an economic master stroke for Paccar.

While we initially, and wrongly, forecasted that the Legend SAR would go on sale for one day only at the truck show, the ‘one day’ for taking orders will actually be July 8. In the interim, it’s easy to envisage Paccar principals rubbing their hands together in expectation.

Many pundits are predicting at least 300 orders and with a unit price said to be somewhere between $425,000 and more than $500,000 – depending on the specification of course – it seems no one has the ability to cash in on a classic better than Kenworth.

DAF K200

On the DAF front, pride of place alongside its K200 cab-over kin was the flagship XF model but grabbing the eye of shrewd show-goers at the back of the display was a Bayswater-built CF punched by Paccar Australia’s relatively new MX-11 engine.

Livewire DAF. Assembled at Paccar’s Bayswater (Vic) factory, DAF CF model is now available with the sprightly MX-11 engine as well as the MX-13

Available in ratings from 370 to 410hp (276 to 306kW) and 450hp (336kW), and offered in the 6×4 CF at a gross combination rating of 60 tonnes, our few short stints in the MX-11 have shown the engine to be the spearhead of a remarkably lively and smoothly efficient DAF powertrain.

The MX engines are, however, simply the tip of the iceberg in Paccar Australia’s ambitions for the DAF range. Indeed, big things are brewing both locally and overseas which, from next year and beyond, will have a major impact on Paccar’s cab-over class – DAF and Kenworth. Stay tuned, because there’s also a big story brewing on these developments.

For Safety’s Sake

Just as it was two years ago, staring straight across the aisle at Paccar’s presentation was Daimler’s Freightliner Cascadia. Unlike 2019, though, when a right hand-drive Cascadia was still a work in progress, North America’s biggest selling truck is now pushing ahead with bold ambitions for the Australian market. And it is not without a very powerful and expedient tool in the chest. Safety!

From the outset, Cascadia set a new and incredibly high benchmark for safety in conventional trucks with the standard inclusion of the Detroit Assurance 5.0 suite of advanced safety functions.

But, as the company announced in Brisbane, it is about to push the safety stakes to an even higher level with the introduction late this year of a head-protecting side airbag in addition to the existing steering wheel airbag.

Right now, and for what will be probably quite some time to come, Cascadia is unrivalled in conventional truck safety.

Typically, Daimler Trucks Australia boss Daniel Whitehead didn’t pull any punches in citing Cascadia’s credentials and, specifically, the need to protect drivers no matter what brand of truck they drive.

“There is no good reason why conventional truck drivers in Australia should not be able to drive a truck fitted with the latest safety features,” he said in a prepared statement.

“It doesn’t matter whether you are driving a truck with or without a bonnet, your safety is just as important.”

Star power: Top-of-the-tree Mercedes-Benz 2663 was joined by a rigid class now with a similarly high level of safety features. Benz will soon start testing a partially automated steering system in Australia

‘Active Drive Assist’ technology

While Cascadia was unquestionably the star attraction for Daimler this year, the three-pointed star certainly wasn’t short of its own news, led by the announcement that Mercedes-Benz is set to launch an Australian validation program for an Actros that can help steer itself.

Known as ‘Active Drive Assist’ technology, a statement from Mercedes-Benz says the system enables a partially automated driving capability and is a first for the Australian market.

Mercedes-Benz states: “The system helps to actively steer the truck and keep it in the centre of its lane, although the driver is still required to hold the steering wheel.”

Also, says Benz: “It is one step ahead of some current systems [because] the Mercedes-Benz system actually helps steer the truck in the first place.” As the company insists: “Proactive rather than reactive.”

Last, but definitely not least in Daimler’s truck triumvirate, is Fuso, easily the biggest selling brand in the group and using the Brisbane show to highlight the iconic Canter model’s 50-year milestone on the Australian market.

Fuso’s new Shogun 360 six-wheeler. Japanese toughness with Daimler smarts. A Euro 6 medium-duty Fighter was also released

Emphasising the evolution of the remarkably durable Canter range, the light-duty Fuso is also the platform for the recently launched eCanter electric truck and, at a truck show where electric power was high among the highlights, the eCanter was certainly a timely addition to Daimler’s displays.

However, it was the launch of Fuso’s new Shogun 360 model, which perhaps had pragmatic truck operators most engaged.

According to Fuso, the Shogun 360 six-wheeler – available as a 6×2 or 6×4 – was developed as a premium 14-pallet rigid model equipped with Daimler’s extensive standard safety features, Euro 6 emissions compliance and a trim cab/chassis tare weight of 6,950kg.

Power comes from Daimler’s responsive 7.7-litre six-cylinder engine dispensing 360hp (268kW) and 1400Nm (1,030lb-ft) of torque through a 12-speed automated transmission that also provides the Eco-Roll fuel-saving feature and crawler modes for low-speed manoeuvring.

Continuing Daimler’s high level of standard safety features, the 360 comes with advanced emergency braking, lane departure warning, electronic stability program and Driver Attention Assist, which uses facial recognition technology to warn of fatigue.

It is, by any measure, an impressive package in the six-wheeler rigid class and, according to Fuso Australia chief Alex Müller, sizeable orders have already been taken.

Business Models

Diversity was at the core of a four-model display ranging from the latest incarnation of the versatile and popular Daily light-duty line-up in its ‘Tradie-Made’ ready-to-work configuration through to the well-mannered medium-duty Eurocargo, the never-say-die ACCO in a typical 8×4 configuration with a Superior Pak front-loading compactor body, and at the top of Iveco’s on-road range, a ‘Highway’ heavy-duty model rated to 70 tonnes.

A quick look at the specifications of all Iveco’s show trucks confirmed an undeniably well-equipped range sporting advanced safety and Euro 6 emissions as standard features.

Away from the show, however, another Iveco was doing its bit to not only support the broader industry, but also confirm the breadth of the brand’s engineering and manufacturing capabilities.

As a company statement explained: “In addition to its support of the Brisbane Truck Show, Iveco is also supporting the Southbank Truck Festival with display of a Q-FE ‘Road Ant’,” described as being “a dual control, forward moving aggregate spreader based on an ACCO six-wheeler fitted with a Trout River, asphalt-compatible body and 10-gate chip spreader.”

Meanwhile, over at the Southbank Truck Festival was the unique ‘Road Ant’, an aggregate spreader based on an ACCO that can be driven independently from both ends of the vehicle

Its creation stems from a recent VicRoads requirement, which mandates that from July 1, 2022, all aggregate spreaders working in sprayed sealing applications must be forward-moving. Consequently, the ‘Road Ant’ can be driven independently from both ends of the vehicle.

Western Star and MAN

Meanwhile, back at the show, the Penske pair of Western Star and MAN certainly weren’t without plenty of people keen for a close look at a couple of big bangers.

Top of the list was Western Star’s 4900FXC, destined for heavy-duty roadtrain roles with a 600hp (447kW) Cummins X15 powering into an Eaton 18-speed overdrive – manual, of course – and Dana rear axles running a 4.56:1 final drive ratio, mounted on Neway airbag suspension.

Yet, perhaps one of the most underrated or overlooked features of Western Star these days is the Stratosphere sleeper. According to many people we’ve spoken to over the many years since Stratosphere first arrived here, it is the best bunk layout in the business and there’s little doubt the premium 82-inch (208cm) high-rise shed on the back of the 4900 show truck was a solid reminder to most.

Big bangers: The Penske pair of MAN and Western Star. Insiders say there are new models coming for both brands next year

Electric Vehicles

Electric power was on show at every level, from the light EC11 Chinese van currently under evaluation, to the well-publicised SEA Electric venture, which has attracted former Hino executive Bill Gillespie to a top management role, and at the top of the weight scale, the undeniably innovative Janus electric heavy-duty truck.

Following an earlier announcement that it will revolutionise heavy-duty road transport with its patented exchangeable battery system, Janus Electric showcased its prototype model based on a converted Kenworth T403.

With its exchangeable battery packs, Janus principals insist its system removes the need for heavy electric vehicles to stand idle for up to 12 hours waiting for batteries to recharge.

Electric power was high among the highlights in Brisbane with none bigger than the innovative Janus heavy-duty system of exchangeable batteries. The batteries power an electric motor from Dana Spicer

Instead, says Janus, battery packs can be swapped by forklift in a matter of minutes to dramatically enhance vehicle utilisation.

Janus director Lex Forsyth says operator interest in the system is exceptionally strong and, with confidence running high, the company has worked with Kenworth to supply a T610 ‘glider’ for further testing and development.

Typically, perhaps, the Janus system has already drawn an undercurrent of cynics, but this innovative Australian approach to electric truck viability appears to have significant potential.

Two years from now at the next Brisbane Truck Show, we’ll know if the potential is being realised or not.

You can read the full Trade Trucks article here and the Brisbane Truck Show article here.