Over the course of the program, the Eurocargo 4x4s – one fitted with a full automatic transmission and the second with an automated manual transmission (AMT) – were put through their paces on the demanding bush tracks, in particular on inclines and declines of over 30 per cent gradient.
Both vehicles were operating at full GVM to replicate real-world conditions, to help analyse the best features of both transmission types, as well as to identify any limitations.
In attendance were several Country Fire Authority (CFA) driver trainers, as well as CFA and IVECO engineers, product managers and key account staff.
Among the findings was that although the AMT is a fantastic solution, when operating on hills, the full torque converter automatic with its ability to eliminate rollback from standstill and with similar characteristics to an automatic car, would prove more attractive for less experienced drivers.
IVECO Australia Senior Key Account Manager, Rory Wale, said the event was an enlightening exercise, and was part of IVECO’s desire to provide the most suitable vehicles possible for emergency service markets, including for firefighting applications.
“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,” Mr Wale said.
“More importantly though, 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.”