IVECO recently put two Eurocargo ML150 4x4 trucks through a series of off-road tests at the Tallarook State Forest, which is just over 100 kilometres (62 miles) north of Melbourne. One of the Eurocargos features a fully automatic transmission while the other has an automated manual transmission (AMT). With both trucks at their maximum gross vehicle masses, they were driven on “demanding bush tracks,” with some areas featuring “inclines and declines of over 30% gradient,” according to IVECO.
Because IVECO was trying to determine which vehicle might be better-suited for emergency services, such as firefighting, a number of people were on hand to observe the test, including engineers from the County Fire Authority (CFA) and IVECO as well as CFA driver trainers and other staff. While the AMT Eurocargo performed well, the tests concluded that the fully automatic model might be a better option “for less experienced drivers” because it eliminated “rollback from standstill” on inclines and operated similarly to an automatic car.
“A Noticeable Shift”
“Across the commercial vehicle industry, there has been a noticeable shift in recent years from manual to automated and full automatic transmissions, as operators search for a more relaxed and safer driving experience with the benefits of reduced maintenance costs,” says Rory Wale, senior key account manager at IVECO Australia.
“More importantly, though,” he continues, “There has been a change in drivers’ skillsets – many emergency service bodies are run by volunteers who may occasionally drive trucks, but most are not professional drivers. With this in mind, we seek to supply the safest and most user-friendly options to suit the application. The ease of use and drivability of the full automatic is certainly attractive to many, and we’re very likely to see this transmission become the preference in the years ahead.”