K riege, crises, natural disasters - The world has become neither safer nor more peaceful in the past few decades. Armed conflicts, but also the outbreak of epidemics or devastation after earthquakes, storms and floods are increasingly demanding from international aid organizations. Emergency vehicles with a high payload are indispensable in such scenarios in order to transport aid supplies and technical equipment to the crisis areas. Instead of the usual all-wheel-drive truck, a student at the Offenbach University of Design has planned an alternative. With the support of the commercial vehicle manufacturer MAN, he designed an all-terrain 8x8 bus for such purposes.
Military 8x8 as a base
The all-terrain MAN GL comes as the chassis 8x8 with front engine used. This military truck, which is used, among other things, by the German armed forces, but also as a base for airport fire engines, is considered by experts to be one of the most off-road wheeled vehicles and also has some technical features that make it superior to standard trucks in off-road use - For example, the use of coil springs or the protected motor, with which even the deepest water passages are possible without any problems. This means that the flexHVC concept can also be built as a 6x6 or 4x4 variant; the MAN GL is available in all of these versions.
The flexHVC concept consists of three areas: There is a residential unit in the front area for up to four people and the driver's cab. The vehicle has an armored floor and a protected cockpit so that the crew is as well protected as possible in war zones. The rear part of the flexHVC 8x8 forms the highly specialized core of the bus. It has a rail system with the help of which from the rear of the four-axle8x8 version two so-called modules can be pushed into the vehicle.
Container-compatible insert modules
These modules have different equipment and can be selected individually depending on the application requirements. A module variant can be equipped with up to six beds. Alternatively, there are flexHVC modules with medical equipment up to the operating room. The design student Johannes Schmutzler has also given thought to the transport of buses to the crisis regions. He therefore selected the dimensions of the modules so that they can be shipped in ISO containers.
During the design, the graduate student paid particular attention to the exterior and its external impact. “Buses do not arouse negative emotions and are generally not perceived as threatening like many other types of vehicle. That is a major advantage, ”says Stephan Schönherr, Vice President Design Bus at MAN Truck & Bus. The design of the flexHVC is characterized by robust, but also soft and therefore inviting shapes, which are complemented by clear functional elements. In the vehicle, doctors could even carry out general medical, trauma surgery and radiological examinations and operations. At the same time, the team is mobile and not tied to one location. With the flexHVC, a wide variety of civil and military deployments can be mastered.