Daimler India Commercial Vehicles (DICV) is all set to launch India’s first deep mining tipper truck with its ‘Made in India’ BharatBenz 3143.
On a rainy afternoon, BharatBenz invited us to its manufacturing facility at Oragadam, Chennai. What they had waiting for us was a monster of a truck with a six-cylinder, 12-litre engine delivering 430bhp and, believe it or not, 2,100Nm of torque. Yes, 2,100Nm!
There’s one very good reason why BharatBenz is banking on this truck to be a success, and that’s affordability – both in terms of acquisition cost as well as running costs. The idea is to enable owners to maximise their profits in the long run.
Driving this truck around a purpose-built-track was more fun than I had anticipated. Firstly, you’re acutely aware of the fact that you’re in charge of something this big. But thanks to the encouragement from the Daimler expert sitting next to me, it felt almost as easy as driving a (quite) large SUV. The cabin, which had the optional air conditioning unit fitted, has just one row of seats that can accommodate three (really tall) people. The truck can be shifted from Manual to Automatic at just the press of a button – which is easily accessible. The manual pattern is required when the conditions are demanding. Otherwise, the automatic works just fine.
I felt uneasy, dizzy and even a little scared when I put it in first gear. Unlike the automatic cars I get to drive inside and outside the Buddh International Circuit, the transmission in the truck won’t engage the next gear till you take your foot off the accelerator. Let it go for a second, press it again, and, voila, you’re in the next gear. It took me a few minutes to get the hang of it, but once I did there was no looking back. Another thing was that I was sitting right at the very front of the vehicle – as there was no bonnet outstretched ahead of me. Having said that, there were some occasions when the truck was at such obscene angles that all I could see was either sky or land. But such was the traction of the 8x4 drivetrain that it always goes exactly where you point it. The steering was not nearly as heavy as I anticipated. Sure, you can’t turn the steering wheel with one hand – but it’s no sin to use two hands to tame such a monster.
Commenting on the new tipper truck, Erich Nesselhauf, Managing Director and CEO, Daimler India Commercial Vehicles said, “By 2020, the deep mining segment will double to 3,000 units. Our Made-in-India BharatBenz 3143 will be the game changer with its low acquisition cost and strong technological prowess. Better performance of parts and customer service ensures higher uptime of vehicles.”
Daimler India claims that this truck will spend the absolute least amount of time at the service station, which will ensure higher uptime as compared to the competition – and therefore more profitability for the owner. Another aspect of this truck is its 85% localisation, which will make it cheaper to own and repair. This level of localisation also makes it India’s first indigenized deep mining truck. This also represents BharatBenz’s commitment to the Indian market – so don’t be surprised if you see the circular BharatBenz logo a lot more frequently on our highways from now on.