From extreme heat and high altitudes in Spain to dramatic winter conditions in Swedish Lapland. Years of tough summer and winter tests have helped shape Scania’s new generation of trucks. When placed under extreme conditions, the vehicles really showed their true colours.
It’s a tradition for Scania to carry out its summer vehicle-tests in Spain’s Sierra Nevada mountains. Temperatures range between 40ºC on the Mediterranean coast to as little as 12ºC at a height of 2,500 metres, providing ideal extremes for developing the new generation of trucks.
“The conditions in southern Spain are ideal for us,” says Bertil Olsson, a veteran of Scania’s summer and winter tests. “Down on the coast, we’re able to test vehicles in both extreme warmth and humidity, while up in the drier mountain air we can do tests on steep hills.”
Almost at the top of the Sierra Nevada range, Magnus Skjutar, who works with Engine Development within Scania’s R&D facility at Södertälje, Sweden, has stopped one of the test trucks to go through the latest measurements.
“Because we’re currently working with engine calibration, the high temperatures and the temperature differences are extremely valuable,” he says. “In just a few intensive weeks, we can check that everything is okay with the development work that we did at home in Södertälje and also that the trucks meet all the requirements placed on new trucks by us and also by the various authorities.”
30 TEST TRUCKS
Testing covers everything from the powertrain to the cabs and the electrical system, with a focus on the interaction between all the different parts of the truck. Thirty or so test trucks, tonnes of spare parts and some 300 engineers, designers, test drivers and mechanics are involved in activities on-site.
“Once we’re in place, we follow a well-established schedule under which we generally begin with the high-altitude calibration of the engines,” says test engineer Johan Skynäs. “Then the various experts come one after another: the cooling team comes, then the retarder team, the durability team, the cab climate team, and so on.”
Winter testing in northern Sweden’s Arvidsjaur municipality is almost as legendary as the summer tests, although there are more journalists observing and more competitors carrying out testing. In this part of Lapland temperatures often fall below minus 30 degrees Celsius, and metre-deep snow, wind, darkness and wandering reindeer challenge the skills of Scania’s test drivers.