Scania introduces world-class hybrid trucks

Scania introduces world-class hybrid trucks

Scania is introducing Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs) and Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) trucks that can be fitted with different powertrain and charging options, thus offering solutions that can fulfil various demands for applications such as refrigerated transport, concrete mixers, and regional distribution.

The truly new electric machine GE281 works in tandem with a Scania seven or nine-litre combustion engine, providing unique opportunities for creating fossil-free transport solutions for heavy trucks with demanding bodywork. Scania’s new hybrid powertrain has been developed in-house, according to the company’s modular philosophy.

By coupling two electric motors with each other and merging them with essential parts of Scania’s latest Opticruise gearbox generation, something truly new and remarkable has been created: the GE281 is a Gearbox Electric machine with seamless power transmission and capacity for dealing with GVWs of up to 36 tonnes, without support from the combustion engine. But it also works the other way: since the electric machine is always supporting the combustion engine at take-off and acceleration, the combustion engine can be downsized in both volume and power output. Hybridisation means fuel savings of up to 40% in city areas compared with traditional powertrains.

“The GE281 is something brand new in the heavy truck industry,” says Fredrik Allard, senior vice-president and head of e-mobility at Scania Sales & Marketing. “With this fourth generation of hybrid trucks from Scania, we have reached a point where hybrids are strong candidates for a variety of applications and operations where sustainability and smart solutions are the main priorities. These new hybrids have the capacity for taking on a multitude of tasks and will come out on top in all kinds of relevant comparisons.”

The latest hybrid truck generation from Scania can be ordered as HEVs or as PHEVs, available in the P, G, and L Series cabs. The trucks can be specified as rigids or tractors, while both the DC07 and DC09 combustion engines are available in three power outputs. All Scania Euro 6 engines can run on hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO), while some can also run on biodiesel FAME (please refer to our model specifications).

Scania’s GE281 offers 230 kW continuously and 290 kW as peak power output, while the max torque is 2 100 Nm. It has six forward gears but no traditional clutch, since a planetary gear takes care of that process, providing gear shifts without any torque interruption. This solution also provides for excellent creep drive capabilities at low speeds and the Power Take-Off (PTO) can be engaged in both electric and combustion engine mode while the truck is moving.

“The driving experience can actually be compared with what you get in a passenger car with a dual-clutch system,” says Allard. “With this solution, we can offer all the support functions that Scania customers are accustomed to, such as adaptive cruise control with active prediction and downhill speed control. Another great improvement with this solution is that the energy recuperation during deceleration is also uninterrupted, which is important since the electric machine is the primary brake source in these vehicles.”

More about hybrid vehicles and hybridisation

Scania is one of the few major OEMs that is committed to offering heavy commercial hybrid trucks. Scania was in fact pioneering this segment as early as 2014, when a first generation was introduced with an electric range of up to two kilometres.

“That range of course sounds meagre today when we are offering 60 kilometres, but it was an important first step for our industry,” says Allard. “With that release, Scania started to teach both ourselves and our customers about the potential for zero tailpipe emissions, silent mode, and substantial fuel saving from the hybrid solution. With the GE281, we have reached a new level. The electric machine equals or often exceeds what the combustion engine can offer, thus creating the opportunity to downsize the internal combustion engine (ICE) and save both fuel and weight. The ICE is only motivated by its capability to offer the range needed when travelling longer legs between different assignments.”

Scania’s new HEV/PHEV generation offers driveability on a new level; not only is it powerful, but it also comes with all the options and opportunities requested by customers, including the PTO that can be used while driving, even in full electric gearbox-driven mode. The hybrids also offer start/stop functionality that eliminates unnecessary idling and provides support systems such as Scania Adaptive Cruise Control with Active Prediction. Different drive modes are supplied; when the “Power” mode is selected, for example, about an extra 100 hp (or 74 kW) is added on top of the combustion engine’s peak performance.

“This is a mature and fully-fledged product,” says Allard. “It offers all the capabilities and functions that you expect from a Scania, while also offering electrification, the opportunity to run the combustion engine on renewable fuels, and substantial fuel savings. We do believe that these kinds of trucks will eventually be replaced by battery-electric vehicles. But until long electric-powered ranges and relevant charging infrastructures are available in all markets, there is definitely a window for hybrids during this decade.”

The PHEV has an installed battery capacity of 90 kWh (3 x 30 kWh batteries), while the HEV version has one 30 kWh battery. The PHEV can be fully charged in 35 minutes when using a 95 kW DC charger, meaning that the vehicle can be charged at depots and during breaks or loading sessions (so-called opportunity charging). A hybrid truck with a downsized engine – from DC09 to DC07 – will actually have a payload 250 kg higher than its ICE sibling; the hybrid will only add a net weight of 750 kg, well within the one tonne of extra weight allowed for electric vehicles in the EU.

The level of fuel savings that can be achieved from this modular Scania solution differs according to the usual factors, such as the operation itself, how hilly the route is, and how many start and stops there are. The electric machine is always active, but the extra help it provides is less useful when at cruising speed on motorways. The most substantial fuel saving is achieved in urban traffic, where some customers will save up to 40%. Customers can also benefit from Scania’s regular repair and maintenance contracts for these hybrid vehicles.

Major cities such as Paris and Amsterdam are implementing strict emission, noise, and safety zones. This means that progressive hauliers who want to stay relevant and competitive are turning their minds towards fossil-free and electric solutions that are available here and now.

“These Scania hybrids are a smart way to make great strides towards full electrification and a sustainable transport system,” says Ema Ceco, product manager e-mobility at Scania Sales & Marketing. “They also offer the best of what is available today when it comes to flexibility and usability. The engines are equals from a power-output perspective – using only the electric machine in sensitive urban areas does not mean you suffer from a loss of power. For instance, a Scania L 280 6×2 4 PHEV would make for a perfect city tipper in dense urban areas, fully capable of running in electric mode where zero emissions and noise levels below 72 dB are required.”

We look forward to seeing these vehicles in South Africa in the not-too-distant future.

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Focus on Transport

FOCUS on Transport and Logistics is the oldest and most respected transport and logistics publication in southern Africa.
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