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Scania switches on electric truck test

At Visby, on the Swedish isle of Gotland, Scania and Siemens are exhibiting an electrically-powered truck.

Scania is looking forward to demonstrating an electric truck on the road between Pajala and the iron mine at Svappavaara in far northern Sweden, if the route is electrified with overhead cables.

“This is one of many different projects at Scania to identify new fuel-saving future alternatives,” says Sara Bengtsson, Manager, Scania Public Affairs.Trucks containing iron ore will drive the 150 km or so to Svappavaara round-the-clock for reloading to the Iron Ore Line (Malmbanan), a railway that will carry the ore to a port on the Atlantic coast of northern Norway.In a recent report, the Swedish Transport Administration (Trafikverket) stated that electrically-powered trucks, either using overhead cables or rails on the road, are a realistic alternative.Scania and Siemens have devised an electrically-powered experiment truck with current collectors.An overhead conductive power supply is probably also the only realistic solution for this service, since the road is built on bogs and moves up and down.“Development of our electrified vehicle has to take place on a step-by-step basis,” explains Johan Lindström, Expert Engineer at Hybrid Systems Development, NBB.“We are using electrified gearboxes that were developed in hybrid projects, but then a large electrical motor must be added to the powertrain in order to drive 90 tonnes of payload entirely by electricity.”Siemens’ technology ― known as eHighway ― resembles the trolley buses of old but is far more advanced. Systems in the truck detect whether there are overhead cables via a laser sensor and unfurl the current collectors.A hall sensor monitors that the truck follows the cable, and the current collectors move backward and forward laterally to ensure continuous contact.Siemens has built a four-kilometre-long test track outside of Berlin, Germany. The challenging part was not building the overhead cables, but building the systems that will allow the truck to be rapidly connected to and from the power supply, for example while overtaking, when the truck is instead powered by diesel.The Swedish Transport Administration has proposed that overhead cables should initially be placed along a 12 km stretch of the Pajala–Svappavaara road in order to gain experience for continued development.