Saturday 24 August 2019

Scania goes flat-floor with ‘most important trucks ever’

16141-261Scania has launched its first all-new truck cabs in a more than a decade, and announced a renewed commitment to sustainable transport and renewable fuels.

The S-series, with a flat cab floor, sits above the replacement for the current range-topping R-series, which has also been launched, and there’s a new 500 bhp version of the 13-litre SCR-only six-pot engine too. The rest of the engine lineup, including the V8s, is carried over from the previous trucks.

Introducing the new trucks, Scania president and CEO Henrik Henriksson said the manufacturer aimed to tackle two problems at once: the global need for sustainable transport and the more local need for truck operators to run profitable operations.

“Most transport operations have only a two per cent margin,” he said. “They only make a profit in the last two weeks of the year. This makes uptime very important.

“These are the most important trucks we have ever built. We will reduce fuel consumption to a level unheard of in our industry. The truck will have a two-million kilometre life. These designs have been 10 years in the making and are the result of a €2 billion investment.

“This is our most important launch ever.”

The new cabs will initially only be available in limited quantities on Scania long-haul trucks. Production of the current P, G and R ranges continues alongside the new models, but revisions to these designs to bring them into line with the new models are expected in due course.

Although driver desirability has long been one of Scania’s strongest suits, the manufacturer has lagged behind in terms of cab space since Renault turned the truck world on its head with the launch of the Magnum back in 1990, and is the last European heavy truck maker to launch a flat-floor cab.

The S-series changes that, and features four entry steps into the cab to access a flat-floor driving and living space with 207cm headroom.

Christian Levin, Scania’s executive vice-president sales and marketing, explained that Scania had established that it needed a step-change in three areas: the driver’s experience (because hauliers faced growing problems with recruitment and retention), the operator’s profitability, and environmental sustainability.

Unveiling the new cab, he said: “Nothing has been left untouched…we have the most ergonomic driver station in the industry.”

scania1The driving position has been moved 65 mm forward and the rest of the all-new cabshell has been designed around this in conjunction with fellow Volkswagen Group subsidiary Porsche Engineering.

Mr Levin claimed the new truck offered a “level of interior quality never seen before in the industry.”

Safety has also been a priority: the S-series is the first truck to offer (optional) side airbags which, in combination with the seatbelt, prevent the driver from being ejected if the truck rolls over.

Braking performance has been improved by a claimed five per cent, with uprated front brakes, a front axle set 50 mm further forward than before and revised cab suspension.

There’s improved visibility thanks to the new driving position, bigger windscreens, slimmer A-pillars and all-new mirrors.

A variety of bunk and storage options are offered (including the replacement of the upper bunk with a storage module – many drivers of the current models use the second bed as a storage shelf rather than sleeping place), along with a rotating and reclining passenger seat for use in rest periods.

Two telephones can be connected into the vehicle via Bluetooth for hands-free operation, Scania acknowledging that many drivers use both ‘company’ and ‘personal’ phones.

The truck’s adaptive cruise control can now be used in traffic queues.

Both S and R cabs have ‘Normal’ and “High’ roof options: the Normal roof on the R is 10 cm higher than the predecessor model, with the High offering 6 cm more on top of that.

The automated gearshift’s action has also been speeded up by 45 per cent, thanks to a layshaft brake.

Reducing fuel consumption was a key factor in improving both operator profitability and transport sustainability.

scania2Better aerodynamics on the new cab, (including flush headlamps, an adjustable air kit, and optional DAF SSC-style integrated roof-line spots) returned a two per cent improvement, with new engine management, thermostatic control of the oil cooler, and revised cylinder heads and fuel injectors introduced across all engines yield a further three per cent.

Fuel savings of up to 11 per cent are attainable, Scania claims, particularly if operators can take advantage of the new high-ratio 2.35:1 drive axle.

Scania has been running so-called ‘connected vehicles’ since 2011, and has been harvesting data about their use and performance ever since. It now has a database from over 200,000 vehicles, and can use this information to make sure that every truck gets the maintenance it needs.

Lars Karlsson, head of services range at Scania said: “We know that with the old approach, before vehicles were connected, there were both over-serviced and under-serviced vehicles, as one size doesn’t really fit anyone perfectly. I think we can all agree that the best thing is to give every vehicle exactly the amount of main­tenance it needs.

“Rather than customers having to keep track of and accommodate fixed service intervals, Scania instead contacts them to arrange a suitable time to visit the workshop. Naturally, this change is based on the idea that all the vehicles are connected.

“If you then connect additional services, like Remote Diagnostics and VRS, Vehicle Related Services, we can be proactive in our relationship with the customer and improve their chances of keeping their vehicle at work through planned and preventive maintenance.”

An example of this is the ability to stretch oil drain intervals to as long as 150,000 km for trucks that are on long-haul work and using the correct rating of engine lubricant.

Scania and sustainability

Scania president and CEO Henrik Henriksson shared a vision of a future where carbon-free transport was the norm, at a Sustainable Transport conference hosted by Scania prior to the truck launch in Paris.

Tasked with delivery is Magnus Höglund, director for sustainable transport at Scania Trucks.

“We are seeing a rapid development in which many customers are focusing all their attention on reducing CO2 emissions,” he said.

“Development towards sustainable transportation is now being driven by a number of factors, with greater awareness of climate chall­enges being perhaps the single biggest driving force.”

Scania cites its early introduction of Euro 6 engines back in 2011 (well ahead of the regulatory deadline in 2014) as an example of the way in which it drives the environmental agenda.

The company admits there can be no single path to this ambitious goal and is planning offering customers various technologies including hybrid drivelines, gas engines (biomethane) and engines with full biodiesel capability, from next year.

Meanwhile, it says that conventional engines in the new trucks will be able to run on 100 per cent hydro-treated vegetable oil as well as pump diesel, and still meet Euro 6 emissions levels.

Henrik Henriksson angrily pre-empted criticism over growing fuel on land that “might grow food to feed poor people”.

“In Europe we have more land being used for golf courses than to grow biofuels,” he said.

To help operators navigate their way into a carbon-free future the company has developed the Scania Fleet CO2mposer, an advanced calculation tool that customers can use, in dialogue with Scania, to obtain accurate decision-critical data based on their own CO2 ambitions.

Customers can get an immediate idea of what a given reduction would cost them, with a solution from Scania.

Magnus Höglund said: “A common uncertainty factor among customers is the difficulty in correctly asses­sing how high any possible additional costs will be when using alternative or rene­wable fuels.

“With our optimisation tool, we can obtain relevant decision-critical data which, in commercial terms, is based on the local circumstances for each unique customer.”

Scania will draw on the data generated by its ‘connected vehicles’ and also its experience in running its own transport fleet to help its customers.

In 2008, the company started its own Transport Laboratory: an own-account logistics fleet serving the various Scania factories, assembly plants and parts warehouses using Scania and other vehicles.

Mr Henriksson said: “We have reduced its CO2 emissions by 40 per cent since then.”

He also reiterated the savings that could be made by the introduction of more longer, heavier vehicles into mainstream road transport: a move which has been vigorously opposed by the rail and environmental lobbies in the UK.

“I don’t understand why we have longer vehicles in Sweden and not the rest of Europe,” he said.

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