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Scania Opticruise passes the test: Ingenious gearchanging system approved for fire tenders

Following exhaustive tests by the Swedish Rescue Service Agency, the Scania automatic Opticruise gearchanging system has been approved for fire tenders in the BAS 1 class, which imposes the toughest standards on speed and manoeuvrability. Scania Opticruise is based on a conventional manual transmission which changes gear automatically through the use of advanced electronics – a solution that has been patented and received many awards. To date, a fully-automatic transmission was an absolute requirement by the authorities for such operations.

"The first truck on the way to a fire is always the one in the greatest hurry. Progress is characterised by alternate full acceleration and harsh braking. This imposes immense demands on the gearchanging system. The stringent demands of the Swedish Rescue Service Agency have been met on all scores," says Björn Michelsen, head of special purpose vehicles at Scania.

"We did not need to modify the control program to suit Opticruise. In an emergency call-out, you use KICKDOWN to make the system change gears faster and the engine rev higher in each gear. This gives us the swift response we need. Our concern here is not to save fuel but to get to the incident as quickly as possible," continues Björn Michelsen.

This type of rescue tender usually carries extinguishing and rescue equipment for traffic accidents, ladders and tanks.

For the sake of maximum acceleration, the BAS 1 truck is equipped with the Scania 11-litre engine producing no less than 340 hp, linked to a 12-speed Scania transmission with Opticruise. Braking performance and reliability are given top priority. Unique among such special purpose vehicles, the Scania offers electronically controlled disc brakes on all wheels. This ensures high precision, good response and durable braking performance.

The highly modular design which is a Scania hallmark allows the building of highly specialised vehicles using standard Scania components. Opticruise is linked to a conventional manual transmission. This is why Scania can supply emergency rescue vehicles built entirely from components that can be easily serviced at any Scania workshop. The crew-cab, which is fitted in the regular assembly process, is based on the modules used in Scania's standard cab range. The chassis, which is available with a choice of two, three and four axles as well as four-wheel drive, is identical to that fitted to the rest of the Scania range.

Scania Opticruise was introduced with the launch of the 4-series in 1995. Ever since, it has become a popular alternative for long-haul operations, since it permits relaxed progress and consequently the same performance and fuel consumption that a skilled driver can provide.

Almost 19 percent of the long-haul trucks Scania sells in Germany are equipped with Opticruise. At the start of this year, the system was also made available for distribution trucks in city traffic, in combination with a low-emission engine.

In common with the Scania Retarder, Scania Opticruise features a number of patented engineering solutions, details of which can be found on the Scania homepage.

Illustrations of this type of emergency rescue vehicle can be found under "Media Services" on the Scania homepage.

For further information, please contact:

Per-Erik Nordström, Corporate Communications, tel. 08-55385577

Håkan Lionell, Sales Engineering, tel. 08-55383601

Peter Holm, Project Manager, tel. 08-55381555