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miniplus June issue 31

technology What’s in the future for accessible minibuses? There is a huge focus on what technology holds for the future of the PCV industry. One manufacturer is already giving it serious thought – what does it mean for builders and for operators? Accessible minibus operation needs to be as lean and efficient as possible, and what’s certain is that advancing technology brings economies while improving safety. But how it is delivered is likely to change, says Treka Bus Production Director Morgan Clissett. “The industry will face challenges and changes in coming years, many from a legislative perspective. As a manufacturer, Treka is always thinking about that. For example, we already offer an Advanced Driver Assistance System, and I am confident that we will remain ahead of the game.” Safety systems will become more capable as technology advances – which it is already, at a frantic rate. Another area that will become increasingly important is alternative fuels. “Some changes are driven by OEMs like Mercedes-Benz. We see it standardising many things, and the line between cars and 34 | June 2017 | miniplus.co.uk light commercial vehicles like the Sprinter is becoming increasingly blurred.” And while much development is mandated by legislation, Treka believes a customer base that has never been better informed will also demand improvements. “Nothing has liberated buyers more than technology, and the current pace of change will continue,” Morgan adds, and customer demand and OEMs’ ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ mentality means that developments will often come at short notice. That mirrors Treka’s view. At the CV Show it displayed a demonstration conversion in partnership with Dawsonrentals that includes items such as high-definition CCTV and a PLS Doorsafe rear barrier, and Morgan says that it is committed to adopting more product developments. Besides its obvious benefits, technology can in some cases reduce the cost of a vehicle and lower its weight, benefiting fuel consumption. Alternative power sources are relevant to the latter, but Treka remains conservative in this regard. “Electric vehicles (EVs) are the industry’s key mobility trend, but they will not answer every question,” says Morgan. “We haven’t written off electric but we have concerns about it, primarily surrounding charging infrastructure. Some buyers undertake longer journeys and electric is not appropriate for that type of operation. We are also concerned about the initial cost of EVs, their useful lives, maintenance costs, and the ease of disposing of them.” Automotive industry executives are also uncertain about EVs’ future, says Morgan; the majority believe that they will ultimately major on hydrogen fuel cell technology. Treka always has the desire to be the first to do something, but Morgan adds that every change it makes to products is thought through, is done methodically and must benefit the customer. “At some point there will be a development that will make a generational leap overnight, but until it arrives, we will continue to develop and improve incrementally while still challenging ourselves to think about where the future lies.” Tim Deakin Editor Nothing has liberated buyers more than technology, and the pace of change will continue to be rapid The recent Treka and Dawsonrentals demonstrator showed examples of the latest technology for use in minibuses


miniplus June issue 31
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