In Germany, the commercial vehicle sector is returning to former times of plenty after the economic crisis – and is now gravitating steadily towards higher loads, lower fuel consumption and lower emissions. So much has changed in recent years with respect to drive technology, on-board electronics and intelligent fleet management, yet by contrast, changes in body assemblies have been minimal. Yet it’s precisely here that there is real potential for local delivery vehicles. The Steinbeis engineering consulting company TIB Technologiebewertung und Innovationsberatung GmbH recently assessed the international patent rights for Terra Truck and signed a deal to market the rights.
It’s ten years since vehicle expert Walter Hurler first looked at emerging trends and realized them into a new truck body concept. Even then, his goals were clear: short standing time, quick loading and unloading, and plenty of options to change itineraries even during delivery runs. These are now key competitive success factors for local delivery runs in congested areas.
Hurler made these requirements for small and medium-sized trucks a reality with his Terra Truck: a truck model, ready for serial production, based on a body assembly that enjoys international patent protection. Consulting company Steinbeis TIB Technologiebewertung und Innovationsberatung GmbH selected the vehicle’s patent protections, evaluated them, and signed a contract to market the rights.
With the Terra Truck, freight is not loaded by using lifting platforms on the outside of the vehicle. Goods are loaded directly into the loading areas in the vehicle’s interior, which can be lowered to any height from ramp height right down to the ground. This allows the Terra Truck to build on the existing benefits of conventional compartments and offer direct access to freight. Transport fleets are also more efficient to run with the Terra Truck so hauliers need fewer vehicles. The Terra Truck system has been tried and tested over the years to the point where it is now ready for serial production.
Target groups for the Terra Truck are companies in need of commercial vehicles of 6 tons or more, for local transportation. “We’ve worked out that this market segment has significant potential to cut costs which would relieve the burden in the long term on local deliveries,” emphasizes Walter Hurler.
Terra Trucks can be loaded and unloaded in extremely tight areas in urban environments. Because they offer access from three sides, they can be “through-loaded” (from back to front). According to a study carried out by Delft University of Technology, the Terra Truck does not exceed sound emissions of 60 dB, as required by many European communities at night. Terra Trucks are thus ideal for early morning deliveries, relieving daytime traffic. The Terra Truck sets new benchmarks when it comes to ergonomics and safety: the lowerable loading areas on the inside place less physical strain on drivers, resulting in less absence through sickness. They also reduce accident risk with passing vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians.