Scania is conducting extensive research and development in order to make preparations for electrically powered trucks and buses in the future.
“Now we are facing the prospect of being able to utilise electricity in many different applications,” says Jonas Hofstedt, Senior Vice President, Head of Powertrain Development at Scania. This will be based on energy recovery and energy storage. What is pneumatic power today can be electric, as well as hydraulic power. We will not be dependent on the internal combustion engine for several critical systems and components.”
Thus hybrid is far too narrow a description. If anything, it is about electrification of vehicle functions to a greater or lesser extent ― ranging from pure electrical power to electrification of systems for greater efficiency and fuel savings.
Implemented in more vehicles
Electrification will initially occur in city buses, after that in distribution of goods in urban areas and finally in long-haulage and long-distance coaches. But all vehicle categories will be electrified to a varying extent, in the not-too-distant future. The largest benefits will be gained when electrified vehicles are combined with renewable fuels.
“I am convinced that all of our vehicles in the future will more or less use electricity,” explains Hofstedt. “We have been working on electrification for many years and have conducted, and are conducting field tests using various forms of power transmission. When it becomes sufficiently profitable we will be ready to launch vehicles commercially.”
The main obstacle today to a commercial breakthrough in trucks and buses is the difficulty in obtaining good enough and cost effective batteries. Suppliers are focused on the car industry and are showing insufficient interest in heavy haulage. There are also crucial differences in service lives among modes of transport where a truck is often driven as much in one year as during the entire service life of a car.
Scania is at the leading edge when it comes to research on future vehicle electrification and has established close collaboration with the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Sweden.
“We are well-equipped in terms of knowledge. The main outstanding issues are to simplify electrification of powertrain systems and to achieve greater production of batteries at a lower cost.”