Seamless gearshifts with Scania’s new hybrid powertrain
10 DECEMBER 2021
It is silent, soft and smooth. Also, it is good for both the urban environment and the fuel economy. Holmlunds Åkeri has field tested a Scania P 250 PHEV with the new hybrid powertrain.
Winter has just arrived in Skellefteå in northern Sweden. The frost on the paint shimmers like gold when the morning sun hits the hybrid on its way through the streets to the day's first run. The truck resembles the industrial history of this town, well-known for its gold mines.
Robin Holmlund is the owner of Holmlunds Åkeri, a haulage company he started in 2010 when he bought five trucks from his father and uncle. Over the years, Holmlund has gradually expanded, and the company currently consists of 30 employees and 22 vehicles.
“We have a mixed fleet in various applications for different types of operations. It's everything from construction to distribution vehicles,” says Holmlund.
Robin Holmlund, owner of Holmlunds Åkeri.
An interest in new technology
Now they have added their first plug-in hybrid to the fleet. The field test truck is a 7-litre Scania P 250 PHEV with the new hybrid powertrain. It has an innovative electric machine with a six speed clutchless gearbox, resulting in seamless and instant gearshifts.
But Holmlunds did not know in advance exactly what was being tested in the truck. Still, there was no hesitation in saying yes when asked to do field tests.
“It is an honour to be part of the development of new Scania products and be involved early in the process. Also, I love new and innovative technology and we are very happy to try this hybrid. It's really exciting. I believe it’s the future”, says Holmlund.
A comfortable drive
Per Risberg has been a truck driver for thirty years. When he found out that it was a hybrid he would test drive, he was at first a little sceptic of the new technology.
“I must say it has been a positive surprise. The truck is extremely silent and is flexible to work with. It is easy to get in and out of and it has an incredible cab comfort. I'm really pleased with it.”
Per Risberg, field test driver Holmlunds Åkeri
He drives the truck daily, on flexible routes. Every other day the vehicle runs regional operations through the landscape of forests and rivers, usually towards Piteå in the north. The other days the vehicle runs in urban environments in Skellefteå.
“The hybrid works very well for local transport in city traffic. This one runs almost exclusively on electricity in the city so there is no exhaust fumes. A fun part is that it is the silence that attracts people’s attention and they are usually very positive,” says Risberg.
The truck also performs well through narrow streets or in tough road conditions.
“The hybrid is a bit different compared to previous trucks I have driven. With this truck you drive really smooth. The gearbox performance is amazing in cities where you need to take it really easy or it is slippery. It does not wait between shifts, it goes smoothly between back and forth, without having to stop," says Risberg.
Incredible fuel efficiency
Holmlund is also pleased with the trucks performance. And the fuel consumption for the truck was a nice surprise.
“The gearbox seems to be seamless. It is really, really nice and smooth to drive and probably good for the fuel economy as well”, says Holmlund.
For the type of operations this hybrid runs, the average fuel consumption is decreasing with about 25%.
“Depending on where you drive, it might be possible to decrease it even more, like if you only drive in urban environments and can recharge at some point during the day. But it usually is around 1.5 litres per ten kilometres. It's really good for a 2-axle distribution truck,” he adds.
Builds for the future
Through the city runs a river, which flows into the open sea of the Bay of Bothnia about 15 kilometres further out east. It is close both to the nature and its relaxing silence and the vibrant life in the city centre. It is a perfect place for experiencing bright summer nights, or the sight of the dancing northern lights over the winter sky. As a truck driver, Risberg has the opportunity to enjoy it as he drives through the beautiful terrain.
“I love the freedom as a truck driver. I have great possibilities to plan the day myself. I am outdoors a lot and see the light and the seasonal changes in nature,” he says.
For the future Holmlund has many ideas that are driven by his current interest. Right now a new garage is being built with a big power station so they can charge several trucks simultaneously. Also, they are building a solar cell plant to reduce the cost of charging and become more self-sufficient.
“So I definitely believe in the new technology, it’s the future,” says Holmlund with a smile.
Disclaimer: the Scania Hybrid truck in this article is used for ADR assignments under a special exemption only applicable in Sweden.
Scania has created an electrification roadmap which takes a multi-faceted approach to electrified transport, including research into different kinds of bio-fuelled hybrid technologies and fully-electric vehicles.