To boldly go, where no van has gone before -


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Thursday, 11 March 2021

To boldly go, where no van has gone before

MAN Truck & Bus has unveiled a van in Austria for previously unthinkable operations. The TGE 3.180 4x4 combi van is equipped with special caterpillar drive. This enables it to drive over snow-covered slopes or muddy meadows even in winter, for example to reach alpine pastures, hotels or ski lifts.

"You glide along on the snow, it's fabulous," says Martin Zeller, branch manager of MAN Truck & Bus in Innsbruck, describing his experience with the TGE converted to track drive. The MAN service company he manages has made a reality of converting a normal road transporter into an off-road wonder. "TrackSystems - the developer and manufacturer of the track conversion kit - is also based in Tyrol, and together we wanted to show that this unusual combination works with the MAN TGE," Zeller says. The initiative for the conversion came from the two van salesmen in the Austrian state of Tyrol: Thomas Kofler and Fabian Bonora. What has emerged amazes everyone who sees the vehicle. A broad grin is pre-programmed.

Ski resorts are the ideal place to use the tracked TGE. Within a maximum of one hour, the crawler drive can be exchanged for the tyres.

The high-terrain transporter can be used, for example, by ski lift operators in mountainous regions. Since it is a TGE combi van with a total of 8 seats plus a driver's seat, the transporter can transport people as well as goods. Supplying remote alpine pastures even in winter or comfortably transporting guests to their snow-covered alpine hotel becomes possible with the tracked TGE. The conversion can be applied to the entire range of vans, so it can also be used, for example, to equip a panel van or a double cab with a flatbed.

The amazing thing: Conversion to the caterpillar drive takes not more than an hour. The assembly or disassembly is done like a wheel change, it is not necessary to visit a special workshop. An adapter plate, which is fixed with the original wheel bolts, establishes the connection to the axles. The simple conversion also makes it possible to use the van all year round if it’s required: Caterpillar drive in winter, tires in summer. The additional weight compared with the regular equipment with tires is approximately 300 kilograms. The width of the TGE increases to 2.40 meters.

Off-road, the caterpillar drive manages 25 to 50 km/h and is usually in 1st to 3rd gear of the 8-speed automatic transmission recommended for this application. Thanks to the Seikel chassis, which is raised by around 3 cm, the Innsbruck crawler transporter also has sufficient ground clearance to perform its tasks in extreme terrain. The caterpillar drive is braked by the standard disc brakes; no adjustment is required here. However, the converted caterpillar TGE is not allowed to drive on the road, for which it then needs its tires back.

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