As a leading telecommunications and information services company in Australia, Telstra offers a full range of communications solutions with a focus on connecting businesses, governments, communities and individuals. Part of this includes the development and delivery of products and services over the National Broadband Network (NBN) which come on line as the network is rolled out across the country.
As part of its sales and marketing strategy, Telstra has designed a walk-in mobile retail shop and demonstration centre, housed in a purpose-built body fitted to the long wheelbase Iveco Daily cab chassis. Shirley Wienand, Telstra’s National Retail Asset Program Manager, had tasked Alan Johnson, the Brisbane-based Telstra Fleet Engineering and Procurement representative, to source a suitable vehicle that could be used to accommodate her requirements, which included the ability for the vehicle to be driven on a standard car driving license. The mobile shops are equipped to allow the public to get hands-on experience of the latest generation telecommunication systems and products available from Telstra.
“The mobile stores have been designed to allow Telstra to promote and demonstrate its products and services in areas where Telstra may not have a retail store presence. The mobile stores will also be used at promotional, local community and sporting events and in regional areas where the NBN is starting to come on line,” said Mr Johnson. “The Daily was the best fit variant in the market segment and the only vehicle that met all our operational requirements.”
According to James McHendrie, Key Account Manager Light-Medium Product at Iveco, some of the features of the Daily that Telstra was looking for included a long wheelbase, light tare weight, drivability on a car license at 4500kg, rear wheel drive and a good towing capacity.
Mr Johnson said. “The short delivery lead time from Iveco enabled us to quickly develop our prototype mobile retail units.”
The van market is becoming more competitive each year but Iveco has managed to keep ahead of the competition through its deep understanding of the light and medium commercial vehicle market. “The design of the Daily has been refined and enhanced since its introduction, with new models of the latest evolution to be released next year,” McHendrie said “The standard specification of the model we recommended ticked all the boxes Telstra was looking for.”
Iveco brings its expertise from the medium and heavy truck business into the design of light commercials. The latest engine range is impressive for its performance as well as its fuel efficiency. The ergonomically-designed cabin interior demonstrates comprehension of the needs of drivers that work from their vehicle. The Daily undoubtedly provides one of the best workplaces for any vehicle in this segment. While designed to drive like a car, the steel chassis provides the enhanced support, structural rigidity, resistance to stress and long-term durability for any type of body mounting. Standard safety features include driver, passenger and curtain airbags and daytime running lights, while the design of the front grille increases airflow to the cooling system
The vehicles will mostly be driving in the harsh conditions of regional and outback Australia so a smooth ride is essential. The Daily features torsion bar front suspension with double acting shock absorbers, and long-leaf parabolic rear suspension. The dual rear wheel configuration provides superior load distribution for increased durability and resistance to wear and tear.
The Daily model supplied to Telstra is the 5017C powered by the Iveco three–litre, four–cylinder diesel engine with turbocharger, intercooler and common rail fuel injection. These engines—delivering 176 hp with 400 Nm of torque—are renowned for supplying maximum torque at low engine speeds, class-leading power and exceptional fuel consumption. Telstra chose the standard manual transmission, which has a dash mounted gear lever that glides through the gates and rests comfortably in the palm of the driver’s hand.
The initial eight units are being built in Queensland and a unit will be dispatched to each state and territory around Australia. Telstra has plans to increase the fleet of mobile shops across the country. “Any future units would be for the slightly higher spec. vehicle, featuring additional factory options such as rear air suspension, driver and passenger suspension seats, upgraded entertainment centre, and a fridge,” Johnson said.
The relationship with Telstra could be extended in the future to include 4X4 service vehicles based around the Daily cab chassis. “Iveco is looking at some minor modifications to the base unit that would adapt the vehicle to best suit Telstra’s operational requirements,” Mr McHendrie stated.
The Telstra requirement is for an enclosed body that is fitted out as a tool and test service vehicle with ready access to the equipment from the ground. “We have worked through Telstra’s range of applications and operational requirements where the 4WD version could be adapted to suit our business requirements and have gone to the extent of sketching up body styles to suit our applications,” Mr Johnson added.