A new plug-in Daily will arrive within two years with a better chance of success than its forerunners, reports Steve Banner
An electric version of the latest Iveco Daily is set to debut in the UK in two years’ time, according to Iveco global brand president Thomas Hilse: “It will have a longer range than the previous electric model and the price will be lower because the cost of batteries is falling.”
Attempts to sell electric Daily models on this side of the Channel have been unsuccessful to date thanks in part to the eye-wateringly high front-end price.
Something that has been far better received has been the impressive eight-speed H-Matic automatic gearbox offered in diesel models. It remains popular in the latest Daily, said Hilse, and its popularity is rising: “Up to 50% of customers around Europe are taking it, and that could rise to 75% over the next five years.
“They like it because it offers reduced fuel usage, longer clutch life and increased driver comfort, and should increase the vehicle’s residual value.”
Iveco’s European assembly plants are in production again as countries emerge from the Covid-19 lockdown.
“Line speed is getting back to normal and we’re suffering no problems whatsoever with component supplies,” said Hilse. “The factories are working on single shifts at the moment, but they should soon be able to move up to the next level as the order intake picks up.”
They are complying with all the measures necessary in the ongoing battle against the coronavirus, including social distancing. “You soon get used to the hygiene measures that are needed, and there have only been a couple of manufacturing processes that have had to be realigned to ensure safety,” said Hilse.
In a new development, Iveco has joined forces with US manufacturer Nikola in a project to produce heavy trucks powered by fuel cells. Intriguingly, in a separate standalone venture, the Arizona-based firm is developing a double-cab pick-up called the Badger.
With an astonishing power output of over 900hp, it will be available in either hydrogen fuel cell or battery-electric guise. Choose the former and you get a 600-mile range ,says Nikola; opt for the latter and you enjoy a still respectable 300-mile range.
“I’ve been working on this pick-up programme for years and I believe the market is now ready for something that can handle a full day’s worth of work without running out of energy,” sid Nikola Corporation chief executive officer Trevor Milton.
The Badger should be on show later this year, but do not expect to see it on this side of the Atlantic any time soon. The pick-up-hungry US is Nikola’s priority.
Iveco introduced a raft of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) to the Daily last year that led to it winning the What Van? Safety Award for 2020.
The advanced emergency braking system function can activate the brakes at up to 31mph (50km/h) by detecting the potential for a collision if the driver fails to intervene and, Iveco claims, can also prevent accidents at speeds of up to 50mph (80km/h) if the vehicle in front is travelling from 6mph (10km/h).
At the other end of the scale, the City Brake Pro system kicks in at speeds as low as 2mph (5km/h) to stop bumps happening in busy traffic. Iveco claims City Brake Pro can cut the frequency of low-speed collisions by up to 38%.
Iveco has also introduced technology on the Daily designed to keep drivers fresh and reduce their stress levels.
Queue assist, activated by a steering wheel-mounted button, automatically controls the accelerator and brake in slow-moving traffic. When stop/start engages the driver touches the throttle to reactivate the system. Queue assist is borne out of the more widely adopted adaptive cruise control that maintains a set speed and safe distance from the vehicle ahead at higher speeds and comes into its own in reducing fatigue during long motorway hauls.
Other safety features include proactive lane keeping assist, which prevents the van from drifting across lanes by prompting the driver with steering support, and crosswind assist, which intervenes to maintain stability in conditions where there are strong lateral gusts of wind.
Iveco claims the Daily is the first van in its class to offer hill descent control, which controls the vehicle on steep slopes, and traction plus, which provides extra grip on slippery surfaces on a rear-wheel drive model.