KAMAZ, which celebrated its 50th anniversary this year, is preparing to launch a new flagship tractor for long-haul transport. taking into account the sales plans of this model in the old world, the Big European Seven may well turn into the G8
The prototype KAMAZ-54901 main tractor was first shown at COMTRANS in 2017. Last year, a pilot batch of these trucks was assembled, and the start of mass production of K5 series machines was already planned for this year. Now in the fleets of the plant’s partners in pilot operation there are about 80 vehicles from the pilot batch that are undergoing final testing before being launched into the series, and the maximum mileage of one of the trucks has already reached the estimated resource of 1.2 million km (despite the fact that the engine resource is declared at level 1 , 5 million km). Drivers give comments and recommendations that can still be taken into account when putting the new model on the conveyor, but in general, customers like the car. It is important that, no matter how much you want to start production of new machines early, the manufacturer seeks to do everything so that their reliability meets the expectations of consumers. Therefore, the model will still go into series next year, although already at the beginning of this fall, the plant received orders for the purchase of 2,300 K5 tractors in 2020 and another 1,000 in 2021.
Three engines and a “robot”
The manufacturer, taking into account market trends, will offer new trucks with three types of engines – diesel, gas-diesel and gas. The main will be the new KAMAZ R6 engine, created in partnership with Liebherr and three quarters consisting of domestic components. So far, the declared power of this diesel engine is 450 hp, but in the future it can be almost doubled.
Judging by the previous KAMAZ-5490 NEO model, there is an obvious increase in demand for versions with a Mercedes-Benz gas-diesel engine – in 2018, 2010 of these trucks were sold. The use of methane in some modes together with diesel fuel allows to reduce annual fuel costs by about 20% (with a mileage of 185 thousand km), as well as significantly reduce the amount of harmful emissions, mainly soot. By order of KAMAZ-54901, it will also be equipped with a Weichai engine, which they will start producing at the new plant of the Weichai-KAMAZ joint venture, launched last summer in China. This engine runs on liquefied or compressed gas according to the principle of an internal combustion engine with forced ignition of the mixture.
The proposed gearbox for the new “trunk” is a 12-speed automated unit ZF Traxon. This “dry clutch” robot makes it possible to save 6–8% of fuel compared to the “mechanics” car and greatly facilitates the work of drivers, including through additional functions – an assistant to start on the rise, a “creeping” mode (like “ automatic machine “), coasting. In addition, the maneuvering assistant, limiting speed, helps to accurately perform maneuvers, and the buildup assistant helps out when you need to get out of small holes.
Design in the spirit of the times
The stylish cabin, which is based on the frame used on Mercedes-Benz Actros MP4 trucks, attracts attention with a powerful wedge of the radiator grille, good proportions, LED head optics and a modern look. It is important that the form is dictated by functions. For example, deflectors direct the air flow below the door handles so that they remain clean, and the huge windshield is easy to clean by standing on the wide front footrest and holding the handle at the base of the glass.
Four steps with “toothy” non-slip pads lead into the cabin. Moreover, the upper steps are closed by a door. To climb the steep stairs inside the cab, you need to hold on to the handrails tightly.
The new cockpit pleases: this is the workspace of the modern “mainline”. Behind the multifunctional steering wheel are clearly visible devices separated by a display, and closer to the center of the front panel is a 10-inch display of the infotainment system. There are all conditions for the driver to feel comfortable on the road: an anatomical sprung seat with heating and armrests, air conditioning, an additional air heater. In the parking lot, the cab turns into a comfortable apartment with a flat floor and almost two meters high, as well as with equipment that makes the life of drivers as comfortable as possible. For example, lying on a sleeping shelf 2.2 m long, you can control the heater. To ensure driving comfort, the rear of the cab leans on suspension struts, and the cab itself for servicing the engine now leans back with an electric drive.
The first test drives for dealers, drivers and journalists were held on the race track in Myachkovo. Of course, to fully appreciate the capabilities of a new car on a half-kilometer loop is not easy, especially if it is a single tractor – without trailers. Nevertheless, it was impossible not to notice the excellent visibility, the convenience of landing and the fact that driving such a “trunk” is not much more difficult than any car with an “automatic”. Since the car had an optional intarder, it was necessary to slow down only at a few particularly sharp turns (by the way, in this model all the brakes are disc).
The developers of the truck took care of safety. Numerous electronic assistants are optionally offered for the new model, including a character recognition system, lane guidance, blind spot monitoring and adaptive cruise control.
The new flagship has good prospects – its maintenance cost is half as much as that of the previous model, and fuel consumption is 10% lower. The starting price of KAMAZ-54901 with a service contract is 6,436,000 rubles. This is lower than the prices of the cars of the closest competitors even without such a contract. Thanks to him, the manufacturer guarantees the normal operation of the car for three years, and the consumer knows that after this period or after 540 thousand kilometers the residual value of the vehicle will be below 60% of the price of a new truck.