Aiming to serve ambitious customers that are always on the hunt for faster transit of goods at optimised costs, Pro 2000 series packs in many industry-first features to offer a car-like experience to drivers in their workhorse as well
VE Commercial Vehicles (VECV) has raised the bar in Indian CV segment when it showcased country's first BS VI compliant new light-duty truck, the Pro 2000 series in June 2019 much ahead of the BS VI emission norms kicking in April 2020, and at a juncture time when the CV industry is witnessing the worst slowdown in the last one decade. According to the company, the truck range offers many industry-first segment features to increase the safety, reliability and comfort quotient for modern business operators both pan-India and international markets. The Pro 2000 series available in BS IV guise for now, under two new models - Pro 2049 and Pro 2095 XP that have been designed keeping in mind the growing demands of ambitious customers, who are always on the hunt for faster transit of goods at optimised costs. Auto Tech Review recently got a chance to drive both the new models at the company's Pithampur facility to understand the deeper aspects of the new Pro 2000 series that is claimed to offer a car-like experience.
Understanding New Workhorses
VECV’s two new workhorses - Pro 2049 and Pro 2095XP clearly bank on the decade-long partnership among the Eicher and Volvo Group in developing frugal solutions. The company carries long-standing expertise in manufacturing and exporting base engines for Euro VI requirements of the Volvo Group over the last 6 years. The experience has allowed VECV to gain the first-mover's advantage in showcasing new-generation products. Aimed at taking intra-city logistics at the new level, the Pro 2000 series is available in 1.8 m and two-metre tiltable, walk through cabin configurations across Pro 2049 and Pro 2095XP respectively. The Pro 2000 series offers a dual-panel design cabin at the front to reduce crash effect and improve safety. The two workhorses carry somewhat similar fascia from the front with the traditional Pro-series grille, huge clear DRL-headlamps, fog lamps and big ORVMs on sides. The Pro 2000 series has been designed using advanced high strength steel cargo body that is rust resistant and developed on a domex chassis. The cabin features body coloured bumpers in three piece configuration for maintenance.
Among the two, the Pro 2049 is a 4.9 tonne GVW truck with a legal payload capacity of 2.7 tonnes. Designed with cargo body dimensions of 10.4 ft x 6 ft, the truck is equipped with a wheelbase of 2,580 mm riding 225/75 R16 radial tyres for a decent ground clearance of 160mm. On the other hand, the Pro 2095XP is a 10.7-tonne GVW truck with a payload capacity range of 6.83-7.2 tonne and is available in five different wheel bases - 3,370mm, 3,970mm, 4,420mm, 4,420mm and 4,470mm and thus five cargo body configurations - 14.1, 17.6, 19, 20 and 21.5 ft. Where Pro 2049 has been packed with grease free semi-elliptical leaves (with shock absorber in front) as well as anti-roll bar in front and rear for stability, on the other hand, Pro 2095XP packs in grease-free semi-elliptical laminated leaves (shock absorber in front) for smoother and hassle-free operations that would not require the vehicle to undergo suspension re-grease operations for life, sans a few bushes that too after 1.5 lakh kms.
The cabin strength and rigidity is clearly visible once you step inside the cabin of Pro 2000 series. The cabin is ergonomically designed to reduce driver fatigue and the use of material inside is plush for a premium feel and keep the inside temperature lesser by up to 10°C. Taking inspiration from a car cabin, the Pro 2000 series offers steering mounted controls for music and taking phone calls and a gear lever generally seen in a car cabin. The company has also introduced 18cm touchscreen for driver infotainment and can be connected via bluetooth on Android phones. The cabin has been introduced with a four-stage high speed blower, 105 °reclining seats for sleeping for driver comfort. VECV engineers have equipped the Pro 2000 series with fuel coaching technology and M-booster to optimise gear shifting as per the power required according to load and thus fuel efficiency. The Pro 2000 series also offers Eicher Live telematics technology as standard to allow tracking of vehicles during goods transit and keep a track of the overall vehicle performance as well as its health.
Powering both the new trucks in Pro 2000 series is the BS IV compliant E483 four-cylinder engine with hybrid GSL that has been optimised as per the demanding applications across both models. Putting the engine to life, the cabin remains silent to a great extent and the little bit noise that enters can be overpowered with the music system installed with ease. The engine is mated to a 5-speed gearbox in Pro 2049 and churns out 95 hp power at 2,600 rpm along with a peak torque of 300 Nm at 1200-1800 rpm range. However, E483 is mated to a six-speed gearbox to deliver 115 hp power at 2,600 rpm for Pro 2095XP as well as peak torque of 400 nm at 1300-1500 rpm range. The seating posture in both trucks is comfortable and provides an upright clear view of the surroundings.
Obviously, one would feel that the cabin of Pro 2095XP is much bigger and roomy, but Pro 2049 is not left behind in other quotients. Shifting of gears seems much refined and does not require much effort on both the models. The big ORVMs offer a decent view of the surroundings and play a crucial role in keeping track of the truck surroundings, thus aiding manouverability. The anti-roll bar on the Pro 2049 comes in handy during corners and keeps the vehicle stable nicely and also has been packed with all-wheel disc brakes for shedding speed confidently. On the other hand, Pro 2095XP has been tested for gradeability of 26° for robust performance and gets air brakes as standard.
VECV also introduced its new BS VI compliant engine E484 a few months back that will be deployed in the company's CV portfolio once the new emission norms are implemented next year. The company’s engineers have extensively capitalised on the Volvo and Eicher’s partnership and used aluminium, plastic and composite materials to make a lightweight design engine and deliver better power-to-weight ratio. For the Pro 2000 series, the company has obtained feedback from over 3,200 customers, nine lakh kms of endurance load testing and 6.5 lakh kms of accelerated endurance testing at NATRAX facilities. The company claims that the range is 7 % more fuel efficient, 7 % lesser turnaround time over its competitors as well as offers 500-kg more payload for various applications such as FMCG, white goods, LPG cylinders market load as well as courier & logistics. However, with sluggish demand still plaguing the CV industry, how soon the truck industry will be back to post numbers it registered in March 2019, continues to be a big question mark for all stakeholders.