INTERNATIONAL TRUCK STOP – CHINA is catching up

In International Truck Stop9 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineJune 2, 2020

If there is one thing the CCVS exhibition in the virus-plagued ‘coronavirus city‘ of Wuhan proved, it is that the Chinese are rapidly making up the backlog they had in truck development and operation relative to countries in the Western world.


Photo: The new Dongfeng KL-series was voted Chinese Truck of the Year 2020.

Just before the outbreak of coronavirus that started in the Hubei province, the China Commercial Vehicle Show, or CCVS 2019 for short, was held in the city of Wuhan. With a floor space of 80,000m2, this is not only the largest truck exhibition in China, but also in all of Asia. This year‘s motto of the show was ‘Intelligent Drive, Green Development‘. Hence there was a lot of attention on environmentally friendly and safe commercial vehicles. Because Euro 6 norm engines come into force in 2020 on Chinese roads, there were manufacturers galore offering top-spec heavy vehicles with a modern driveline and stateof- the-art cab. The latter is often produced in collaboration with foreign (read European) designers and truck manufacturers. Makes that were present at the Wuhan International Expo Center included Chenglong, CIMC, Dayun, Dongfeng, FAW, Foton, JAC, JMC, Nanjing, SAIC and Shaanxi. Curiously, a few major brands such as CNHTCSinotruk, BeiBen, Genlyon and C&C were lacking. But all in all, there was enough news to absorb.


Photo: The Tianlong concept truck with diesel electric drive drew a lot of onlookers to the Dongfeng stand.

Dongfeng
One of the best-known Chinese truck manufacturers is Dongfeng, which celebrated its 50th anniversary at the show. New for 2020 are the next generation KL, KC and KR series. Although there was a slight decline in commercial vehicles sales in general, Dongfeng closed 2019 with a sales volume of 185,000 medium and heavy trucks. The company showed a wide range of new models in Wuhan, among which were three concept trucks. The Tianlong is a 40-tonne GCW hybrid tractor with various intelligent systems. The white, streamlined cab with small rearview cameras instead of mirrors looked very unusual, and so did the futuristic interior with an oddshaped multi-function steering wheel and two large LCD monitors rather than a conventional dashboard. Power comes from a 13-litre Dongfeng Euro 6 diesel engine plus a permanently operating electric motor of 80kW. The transmission is a 14-speed AMT. Another concept vehicle for Level 3 operation was the full-electric Tianjin medium-duty chassis. And if this was not enough, Dongfeng also showed a Level 4 robot truck that could drive autonomously, called the ‘Sharing Box‘. More down to earth was the 2020 Chinese Truck of the Year award that also came from the Dongfeng stables.


Photo: Dongfeng also presented this full-electric Tianjin medium-duty truck.

The KL series heavy tractor is fitted with a completely new cab, a frugal Renault-derived 6-cylinder, 10.8-litre Euro 6 diesel engine and a 14-speed manual (Volvo licence). An automated transmission is also available, and of course it is equipped with all the modern comfort and safety features. Contrary to a decade or so ago the majority of Chinese heavy trucks today are cabovers. But Dongfeng Liuzhou Motor Co. still builds ‘conventional‘ tractors. The new Chenglong Dragon T7 tandem drive tractor looks very American with its long bonnet and integrated sleeper. This attractive looking truck is equipped with a 14-litre Dongfeng Cummins Euro 6 diesel engine pushing out 417kW (560hp), and a ZF 12-speed AMT transmission. Younger drivers especially favour it.


Photo: The futuristic interior of the Tianlong with its unusual steering wheel and digital displays.

FAW
FAW Jiefang is the largest Chinese automaker. It showed the new FAW J7 ‘Eagle‘ with a GCW of 40 tonnes. The top of the range cabover not only looks much better than its angular J6 predecessor, it is also technically more advanced with a Level 2 autopilot system. There was also a FAW J6P tractor shown with a 328kW (440hp) Xichai Euro 6 engine and 12-speed FAW gearbox. The 6×4 drive truck had a 1000-litre cryogenic fuel tank behind the cab.


Photo: The new FAW J7 ‘Eagle‘ looks and rides like a European truck.


Photo: Installed behind the cab of this FAW J6P is a 1000-litre hydrogen tank.


Photo: FAW Jiefang is China‘s largest commercial vehicle manufacturer.

JAC
JAC Motors unveiled the JAC K7W that has a 14-litre Dongfeng-Cummins Euro 6 diesel engine pushing out 417kW (560hp), and a 12-speed automated ZF box under the European style sleeper cab. It was proudly announced that the new truck could achieve a top speed of 115kph!


Photo: The K7W has definite Euro looks and is the new flagship of JAC.

JMC
Built in cooperation with Turkish Ford, JMC Heavy Duty Vehicle Co displayed its new Veyron range. The HV5 6×4 tractor shown was fitted with an adapted version of the latest Ford F-Max cab. The 13-litre, 395kW (530hp) Euro 6 diesel engine is also a Ford licence and is coupled to a ZF 12-speed AMT. A hybrid is the JMC Veyron 4×2 FCV with old style Ford cab. It has a 250kW electric motor and a hydrogen fuel cell.


Photo: The Turkish-Chinese JMC Veyron FCV has an electric motor that is charged by hydrogen fuel.


Photo: Top of the range JMC Veyron HV5 is fitted with an adapted Turkish Ford F-Max cab and engine.

Shaanxi
Shaanxi is not only a well-known name in China but also exports commercial vehicles to many foreign markets. Its new X3000 LNG heavy tractor has a 343kW (460hp) Weichai Euro 6 engine that can run on a mix of 95% liquefied gas and 5% diesel. Transmission is a manual 12-speed from Chinese manufacturer Fast. Some components are European sourced, like the licence-built MAN rear tandem axles.

Dayun
Another new flagship that attracted quite a bit of attention in Wuhan was the Dayun V9.550. Under the goodlooking cab lies a 13-litre Weichai Euro 5 diesel that is coupled to a 16-speed Fast manual transmission.

Foton
Beiqi Foton Motor Co, which has close ties with Daimler-Benz, showed the new Foton Auman EST-A 2.0. Power comes from a 13-litre Foton Cummins X13 diesel of 417kW (560hp), with a 16-speed automated ZF transmission. The cab is a modified Mercedes-Benz Actros MP4 and it comes with all the intelligent monitoring systems for comfort and safety that are seen in the latest heavy Benz. Why Foton as a partner of Daimler-Benz does not make use of the proven OM-engine platform is not exactly known, but the rumour goes that the Chinese cannot match the high quality level of (licence) build that the Germans require.


Photo: The American style Chenglong Dragon T7 is powered by a 560hp Dongfeng Cummins diesel engine.