Geely has just introduced their ultimate commercial vehicle, an electric semi-truck called the Homtruck!
In spite of all of this, no one would have seen this coming, as Geely has just announced that they will be making an electric semi-truck called the Homtruck. This is the Chinese auto giant's attempt to bring electric vehicle technology to the commercial vehicle market.
There are only a few companies participating in this EV truck segment, namely Tesla, Rivian and the Warren Buffett-backed BYD. To be developed by Farizon Auto, which is Geely's commercial vehicle subsidiary, the company said it's planning to roll out the electric truck by 2024 and is aiming for markets outside of China too.
CEO Mike Fan said in an interview with CNBC that the Homtruck "will be product designed and developed for the global market". He added by saying that the truck's primary target market will probably be Europe, Korea, Japan, and North America.
According to Geely, the truck will also have a couple of powertrain options, including pure electric and methanol hybrid. Methanol power cells is a technology that Geely has been investing in for several years now which indicates that they will probably utilise it in the Homtruck.
The Homtruck will also be designed for battery swapping, which would prove to be useful for long-haul commuting. The futuristic features don't stop there either, as the truck according to Geely, will be developed to include partial driverless features with more advanced systems by 2026.
Within a growing number of selected routes, the Homtruck will be able to utilise Level 4 hands-off autonomous drive functions and introduce convoying features for longer journeys that allow the trucks to communicate with each other and maintain safe speed and distance that will lower operator stress levels. Hardware sensors such as lidar, millimetre-wave radar, ultrasonic radar will be standard equipment along with 5G and V2X communication.
"I'm sure regulations and standards of autonomous driving are in the process of formation," Fan said to CNBC.
According to Farizon Auto, the Homtruck will be made with tech that helps it connect to the logistics network's big data platforms to help drivers obtain the most optimal orders in real-time, analyse and track deliveries, and calculate operating costs along the routes.
The Homtruck's 'brain' can utilise vehicle sensors to analyse traffic data in real-time and receive route recommendations. In addition, the energy management system can also manage the Homtruck's power or fuel supply to achieve the most optimal economic performance and recommend optimal refuelling or recharging routes to the driver.
Farizon has also thought of driver comfort and has designed a cockpit that applies the home concept and optimises space to create a driving and a living area. The design includes a bathroom complete with a shower and toilet, single bed, refrigerator, tea maker, kitchen, and even a small washing machine.
The ergonomic seat design and high-definition camera help ensure drivers are well-rested and well-focused, whereas an intelligent AI assistant coupled with full 360-degree cameras help to keep the driver aware of any issues around the vehicle whilst in motion or whilst stationary.
Is this the semi-truck of the future? It definitely looks the part!