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How crashing trucks makes them safer

Deliberately crashing a Scania truck may sound crazy, but crash tests are actually a vital way for our engineers to ensure the vehicles are as safe as possible, as our film shows.

We are of course extremely proud of the trucks that we make here at Scania. But sometimes we crash them into things and smash them up piece by piece. Deliberately.


No, we haven’t gone crazy. In fact, we perform crash tests on real trucks and individual truck parts, so we can ensure that the next vehicles we make are even safer than before.


Months of preparations go into a crash test. “And then it’s over in less than a second,” says Test Engineer Jakob Leygraf at Scania R&D.

The power of simulations

The ‘big bang’ itself only takes place after many simulations have been carried out beforehand. These simulations are vital to the whole process.


“We simulate over and over again, with different speed and angles,” says Mikael Littmann, Scania’s Head of Mechanical Testing. “Simulation is a powerful tool that is both faster and less expensive than the full-scale equivalent. We base the actual test on the results of our simulations.”


“The actual crash test is ultimately only to confirm that our calculations were accurate,” adds Jakob Leygraf.

Why it’s different crash testing an electric truck

Crash testing an electric truck is a bit different to one with a combustion engine.


The energy from the impact needs to be distributed and should spread throughout the structure surrounding the battery. The engineers want it to turn into plastic deformation and kinetic energy in the less critical components.


“Since we want the crash test to be as authentic as possible, we use a real car for the impact, as that puts a lot more stress on the structure than if we’d used a barrier,” Littmann explains.


Fire-fighters are on stand-by when the crash test is performed because, as Leygraf notes, “This is the ultimate test. We’re doing this for real.”


And how did the test go?


It went as expected and the battery emerged unscathed.

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