Germany is the birthplace of the Mercedes Benz Unimog, an ultra-capable, four-wheel drive vehicle that was designed to be equally as much a truck as a tractor. After the end of the Second World War, German farmers, short on cash, needed both tractors to work their fields and a truck to haul their produce and get them to the local village. The Unimog was the combined answer to both those two needs.
Today, other German companies are pushing that concept to another level. Paul is one of the brands offering high-horsepower hybrid vehicles to the ag sector with its Agro Mover Spezialfahrzeuge (Specialized vehicles), billing them in its corporate brochures as “a powerful and versatile alternative to tractors.”
Paul takes a variety of regular Mercedes over-the-road trucks and performs extensive modifications to them to meet the needs of different industries. A 480 horsepower Mercedes gets converted into the model specifically intended for farmers, the Agro Mover. These four-wheel drive trucks get any of a variety of special ag tires to meet whatever needs a customer has. The idea is to make these trucks powerful machines as capable of hauling or running machinery in the field as on the road, spec’ing them out exactly to do whatever jobs a customer wants.
“We do a lot of applications for agriculture, so each truck is different,” said Christian Huber, who was manning the company’s display at Agritechnica in Germany in November. “We do it customized for the customer.”
Inside the cab is a joystick controller at the operators right arm. Beside that is an ISOBUS-compatible virtual terminal capable of handling input from any standard ag implement. It’s easy to imagine this machine running a round baler through a field.
“We can add whatever is necessary, even a PTO at the rear as you see here,” added Huber, as we walked around the truck at the centre of Paul’s Agritechnica display. “It has an ISOBUS system. It has a load-sensing hydraulic system.”
An added advantage of using a truck chassis is it can achieve road speeds no tractor can match. “It can go up to 80 km/h,” adds Huber. “It depends on the tires.”
According to the company, the on-road-off-road capability and high speed makes these trucks popular with custom silage operators, among others. Added to that appeal is its competitive cost compared to high-horsepower tractors with 50 km/h transmissions.
“It starts at 120,000 up to 180,000 euros (C$180,000 to C$270,750),” explains Huber. “It depends on the kits and the configuration you choose.”
In a cab-over configuration, the truck has a short wheelbase, making it pretty manoeuvrable.
Huber says the company can export an Agro Mover anywhere a customer wants one. “We can do it for Canada,” he says.
The company’s website is paul-nutzfahrzeuge.de.