Scania has for many years stuck to the message that there is no silver bullet solution for the transport industry when addressing emissions reductions.
Fossil-free fuels such as biomethane and biodiesel will play an important role for reaching the company’s environmental goals in parallel with electric vehicles.
Scania has already imported several battery electric bus chassis, the first of which is being bodied by Bustech in Adelaide and will be trialled by the South Australian Department of Infrastructure and Transport within its route bus fleet.
Three Scania battery electric trucks have also been brought into the country, including two 6×2 units which are being trialled in the mining industry in Western Australia and have been equipped with Scania XT-style fittings at the front including steel bumpers and front under-run protection.
The trucks are series production vehicles from Sweden, currently offered for general sale in Europe in either 4×2 or 6×2 drive configurations.
Similar to other forward-looking manufacturers, Scania has seen a significant increase in interest in the concept of battery electric trucks, not only for last mile deliveries, but also for a wider range of applications.
The purpose of this first batch of trucks is to determine where their abilities will be best employed in Australia.
The shorter wheelbase 4×2 Scania currently in Australia is planned to be fitted with a distribution style body as soon as the currently overworked body builders can allocate the necessary physical and human resources to manufacture it.
Rather than wait for that, we have taken the opportunity to have a brief test drive prior to the body being fitted. It has the benefit of providing ready access to the electrical architecture which would normally be hidden under a body.
The electric Scania 25 P is based on the traditional P-series cab and chassis, with a mid-mounted permanent magnet electric motor drawing its energy from nine large lithium-ion batteries with a total output of 300 kW/h.
Recharging utilises a CCS type 2 plug-in connection with up to 130 kW / 200A DC charging. The battery packs are mounted outboard of the chassis on each side as well as under the cab in the area traditionally occupied by a conventional ICE engine and gearbox.
Drive is to the rear wheels via a two- speed integrated automated gearbox. The Scania 25 P can operate at a range of up to 250 kilometres, and the motor produces peak power of around 295 kW and 2200 Nm of torque, while continuous operation delivers approximately 230 kW and 1300 Nm of torque.
There is also a facility to power a 60 kW PTO. Equipped with Scania’s latest electro-hydraulic steering system, the Scania 25 P provides excellent manoeuvrability on tight city streets, while braking can be almost completely handled via the regeneration system.
This is operated in the same way as the Scania Retarder found on larger diesel Scania models by pulling backward on the right-hand wand on the steering column.
There are five stages of retardation which provide extremely efficient stopping power although this is probably magnified by not having the weight of a body.
Driving around the Melbourne CBD, the truck delivers almost silent operation which belies its impressive acceleration capabilities, although again exploited by the absence of the weight of a body or load.
The interior of the cab is essentially the same as ICE-powered Scania P-cabs and the evaluation vehicles include Advanced Emergency Braking, Adaptive Cruise Control, Scania’s rollover protection side curtain airbags, and Lane Departure Warning.
There is also a large fridge mounted behind the seats. The instrument cluster has a battery charge meter instead of an engine tachometer.
After two and a half hours of predominantly stop-start city driving the battery charge meter shows a remarkable 82 per cent remaining. Scania quotes a charging time of less than 100 minutes at the rate of 130kW.
“We have brought these first battery electric trucks to Australia to evaluate their performance in local real-work environments, to see not only how they cope with our conditions, but also to experience and demonstrate the benefits of silent running and of course, zero tailpipe emissions,” says Scania Australia’s Director of Truck Sales, Ben Nye.
“If operators can use ‘green’ energy to charge the batteries of these trucks, their carbon footprint would be extremely minimal compared with a traditional diesel truck.”
By 2030, 50 per cent of the total vehicle sales volume is expected to be electrified. In Europe, Scania can provide a total package of operating solutions for customers keen to add a battery electric vehicle to their fleet.
Using the electric solutions concept, Scania will ensure the vehicle can be charged, operated, maintained, serviced, repaired, financed and insured, along with long-term and continuous advice and guidance from Scania’s electrification experts.
This solution is an all-in-one package and is tailored to individual operations. Scania Australia’s holistic approach to its introduction of the BEV trials and its confidence in the future expansion of the electric vehicle fleet has been underscored by an award for the training regime it has already introduced nationally.
The Heavy Vehicle Industry Australia 2022 Award for Safety Innovation recognises the foresight Scania has put in to preparing all levels of its business to deal safely with battery electric vehicle (BEV) systems and components that are to be a part of its future product line-up.
The training involves all staff from cleaning contractors to the executive management team and is focused on ensuring there are no incidents involving electrical shocks at its company-owned workshops, and those of its authorised independent dealer network.
“The training we have undertaken and continue to undertake ensures everyone knows how to be safe around batteries and BEVs in general,” says Scania Australia Managing Director, Manfred Streit.
“We hope that we can lead the way in demonstrating the safest ways to deal with BEVs in workshops. There is no place for complacency with high-voltage electricity.”
In preparing the training package Scania Australia referred to local legislation and Worksafe standards. The Scania national parts team established not only the supply of spare parts and propulsion batteries, but their appropriate recycling as well.
Scania is installing BEV-specific workshop gantries complete with gates and warning signs and insulated wheels, and has established PPE, tools, tool board, and trollies specifically for use with BEV systems.
This equipment has been adapted to suit Australian standards and will be provided as full kits to Scania workshops when they are certified to work on BEV trucks and buses. Certification requires process, equipment, and training to align with the national framework, which includes level 1 to 4 electrical training, and Law and Safety for workshop managers.
Scania will be training rescue services as well to be able to deal with BEVs at road accident scenes.