66th IAA Commercial Vehicles in Hannover – the world’s largest mobility trade show opens its doors
“We are living in times of huge change – and it is the companies that are shaping it – with more than 330 world premieres and over 100 European premieres at the IAA Commercial Vehicles. New ideas are driving this industry. Here at the IAA, visitors can marvel at the fruits of daily innovation. With more than 2,000 exhibitors from over 50 countries, the world’s most important trade show for transport, logistics and mobility is more international than ever,” stressed Matthias Wissmann, President of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA). He was speaking to around 700 high-ranking guests from politics and business at the opening ceremony of the 66th IAA Commercial Vehicles in Hannover. Wissmann opened the 66th IAA Commercial Vehicles jointly with Stephan Weil, State Premier of Lower Saxony, and Günther Oettinger, European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society. Alexander Dobrindt, Federal Minister of Transport and Digital Infrastructure, will visit the exhibition immediately following the Bundestag debate on the Federal Transport Infrastructure Plan.
Wissmann emphasized, “The IAA is a unique cross-section of the entire value-creation chain in the industry, from the vehicles all the way to transport and logistics; from the manufacturers of trucks and vans, buses and trailers all the way to the many medium-sized suppliers. The IAA is also opening up to new groups such as business startups.”
One quarter of the workforce in the German automotive industry, i.e. around 180,000 employees, work in the commercial vehicle sector. Wissmann drew attention to the close cooperation of the VDA with other associations and IG Metall in the Alliance for the “Future of Industry” with the aim of strengthening industrial competitiveness in Germany. This IAA was therefore an important part of the “Week of Industry” being organized by the alliance right across the country until September 25.
Wissmann underscored the crucial economic significance of commercial vehicles, which enable us to enjoy the many agreeable aspects of daily life: “Commercial vehicles bring 99 liters of beer to the shops per person per year. Whether you’re talking about shoes, books or clothes – the turnover in e-commerce has increased to 17 times what it was in 2000. That would be inconceivable without vans.” Even the young generation was benefiting from the loyal service provided by commercial vehicles, Wissmann explained, because every day buses take 2.7 million children to school and home again. And once youngsters have left school, commercial vehicles naturally help in their first move to a new home. Around 2 million removals are carried out every year with the help of commercial vehicles.”
But commercial vehicles are also often “first aiders” in hazardous situations and emergencies. Ambulance and rescue services make over 11.7 million journeys per year, and fire trucks extinguish over 200,000 fires annually.
Wissmann stressed, “A life without commercial vehicles would pretty much put us back in the Middle Ages – no garbage collection, no street cleaning, no clearing of roads in winter. Clearly, life without commercial vehicles would not be more comfortable or safer.”
He pointed out the high level of safety equipment in modern commercial vehicles. For instance ESP (electronic stability program), the lane departure warning and the emergency braking assistant were now fitted as standard. However, he added, that was only an intermediate stage, saying, “We want far more. The long-term goal is obvious: accident-free driving due to automation. Multi-function cameras, radar and ultrasound sensors will help. Many of these innovations can be seen during the show. Automated driving is a first, eminently important, focus of this IAA.”
Another important complex was connectivity: “In the future the vehicles will be connected with the whole world of traffic. They will inform one another in real time of a possible traffic queue or a storm. Over 400 sensors are already used in modern semitrailers to collect data. They create 100 million lines of software – which is more than in a jet,” explained the VDA President.
Connectivity would make transport even safer and more efficient, he said, and gave the following examples: “Platooning, that is, convoys of electronically connected trucks on the freeway, can bring about savings of up to 10 percent in fuel and CO2 emissions.” Digital freight exchanges could help further minimize empty trips. Exact calculation of expected journey times would enable more efficient use of the time slots at ramps and loading docks. And not least the driver would benefit from digitization: “It would put an end to the often tiresome search for a free parking space along the freeway, as the fully connected truck will reserve its parking spot in advance online,” Wissmann said.
For the advantages of automation and connectivity to be fully utilized, the legal framework would have to keep up with developments. “Comprehensive European solutions” would be needed in particular for expanding the digital infrastructure and addressing data security issues. Wissmann thanked Günther Oettinger, European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, for his support: “Only if we in Europe cooperate across borders will we have the chance to join in shaping the digital transformation as we want it to be,” Wissmann stressed.
Concerted efforts were also required for further reduction of CO2 emissions from freight traffic, Wissmann said: “The European commercial vehicle manufacturers have presented specific proposals on this topic. A comprehensive, integrated approach can bring down the CO2 emissions from new trucks by another 20 percent compared to 2005 levels by 2020. For this to happen, all the players in transport and logistics must pull together. It is also clear that we are backing the proven market forces instead of endless bureaucratic regulations.”
“Regarding drive trains we will experience a broad mix in the future. Diesels will continue to play a key role in long-distance traffic. The latest exhaust aftertreatment technology makes them not only efficient and economical, but also clean. Today’s Euro VI trucks and buses are stars on our roads with their extremely low levels of pollutants,” Wissmann said.
At the same time, he continued, alternative powertrains were becoming more and more important. Natural gas, for example, was already used in buses and also offered potential CO2 reductions in trucks. A good tank and supply infrastructure was however essential for wide-scale deployment.
“Hybrid and electric drives are also becoming more and more important, especially in the light commercial vehicles used for deliveries and local distribution, because the large towns and cities are still growing, as is e-commerce. Going hand in hand, connectivity and electric mobility will ensure that in the future urban logistics will be even faster and emissions-free,” Wissmann emphasized.
“Those who are serious about climate protection must also take long trucks seriously,” the VDA President explained. The current field trial in Germany was producing positive results across the board. Up to 25 percent of CO2 could be saved per tonne of freight transported. Furthermore, there had been no shift from rail to the roads. Wissmann commented, “These are important and convincing findings. We need regular operations in Germany – on the approved network that has already demonstrated its value in the field trial and can be expanded.”
The welcome address from Hannover’s Lord Mayor Stefan Schostok was followed by a discussion on the topic of “Commercial vehicle 4.0: networker between markets and people” with these participants: Günther Oettinger (European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society), Stephan Weil (State Premier of Lower Saxony), Dr. Frank Appel (Chief Executive Officer of DPDHL Group), Dr. Wolfgang Bernhard (member of the Board of Management at Daimler AG, Head of Daimler Trucks & Buses), and Andreas Renschler (member of the Board of Management for Commercial Vehicles at Volkswagen AG). The discussion was immediately followed by the official walking tour of the exhibition.