“A truck that future-proofs my business”
22 DECEMBER 2021
Swedish haulier Daniel Karlsson’s field test of a Scania Super powertrain makes him confident he’s found a truck that blends sustainability with money-saving fuel efficiency for the years ahead.
It’s raining cats and dogs at the yard of Daniel Karlsson Transport in Örebro, mid-Sweden, as a 460 R truck, equipped with the new Super powertrain, waits to be loaded with piece goods such as textiles and bags of garden soil for the regular journey west to Gothenburg. But the weather on this Wednesday in late May is not dampening the enthusiasm for what, so far, has been a highly productive field test.
DK Transport received the truck in December 2020, and since then the vehicle’s new 13-litre engine has been propelling it about 10,000 kilometres per month on this key route in the company’s standing roster of transports around the central belt of Sweden.
It’s actually the second time that owner Daniel Karlsson has been involved in a Scania field test, and he’s delighted to have been asked to participate again.
“It’s an honour to be part of the development of a new Scania,” he says, sitting in his office on site, on the outskirts of the city.
Sustainability strengthens his Scania loyalty
Karlsson’s a long-time Scania customer, and the new powertrain’s efficiency and reliability have only strengthened his loyalty. He started his company at the turn of the millennium, and when it came to choosing his first truck in 1999, there was no doubt what it would be.
“My dad had his own haulage business, so I grew up with trucks, and especially Scania trucks, because he was and is a big Scania fan. When it came to getting my own first truck, I bought a Scania 142 from my brother because I knew it was safe and reliable,” he says.
Nowadays, Karlsson has 17 Scania trucks in his fleet, and 20 drivers. He cites Scania trucks’ reliability and total cost of operation as their most consistent attributes, but one of the reasons he is so happy to be testing the new truck is the powertrain’s sustainability.
“Beforehand, when I considered my expectations of this field test, the fuel consumption was very important for me. Fuel is always such a high cost, so if you can lower that cost through lower fuel consumption, then that is not the biggest part of the investment. And the tests have shown that the fuel consumption is very stable, with an excellent figure of 35 litres per 100 kilometres, so it confirms what I already know about Scania,” he explains.
“But then I was a little surprised when they came to me and asked me to drive on biodiesel, as I thought that was going away from the market a little bit. However, our larger customers, such as ICA, DHL and Marbodal, are asking more and more for biodiesel now because, especially over the past year or so, their customers are asking them about the sustainability of their transport solutions. So now I see that it’s the right move from Scania to progress that development for biodiesel as a stepping stone to electrification.”
In fact, the 460 R is being driven on biodiesel made from rapeseed oil, which grows in golden abundance in the fields of central Sweden. Daniel Karlsson is no stranger to this fuel. “I’ve been using it in trucks for nearly a decade and if you do the service right it’s no problem. The rapeseed oil has also become a lot better over the years,” he says.
Ultimately, the haulier has a few simple sustainability goals.
“We should be driving on the best available fuel for the environment – biodiesel – and try to only have Euro 6 trucks. Then, of course, when I work with the fuel consumption, that’s another good thing for the environment – because the lower the fuel consumption, the lower the CO2 emissions. We’re future-proofing the business by responding to the demand for sustainability,” says Karlsson.
The driver’s perspective
When the truck makes its regular journeys several times a week, it’s usually Simon Bäckbring who’s at the wheel. He’s a 29-year-old Örebro native, who started at DK Transport about 18 months ago but has been driving trucks for 11 years. He’s enjoying the field test, particularly being able to fend off other drivers’ questions about why a truck disguised as an R 420 on the front is clearly pulling 60 tonnes with no problems at all.
Today’s trip sees Bäckbring driving down to Gothenburg-based customer NTex Inrikes, where, after unloading some of his cargo, he’ll spend the night in the truck. The following day, he’ll have 12 different customers to supply in Sweden’s second city, before heading back to the yard in Örebro in the late afternoon.
His boss Daniel Karlsson cites the improved truck as being “very driver-friendly”, a quality that he regards as vital for attracting and retaining good drivers, and Bäckbring himself likes driving it. “For its engine size, the fuel consumption has dropped significantly,” he says, “which means we have to fill it up less.”
“It should be comfortable when driving, as well. And quiet. The engine revs much less when I change gear than before, so it’s smoother and better to drive,” he adds.
“Then it's important that the engine and the entire powertrain must work well, and that’s the case here. I also like the interior, and Scania trucks really suit my driving style. For example, the retarder brake is great compared to other brands.”
But perhaps one of the standout features for our driver and his boss is the driveability. The active steering gives the vehicle a tight turning radius, which comes in particularly handy for some of Bäckbring’s city customers, such as Mölnlycke Garden Center, his first port of call early on Thursday morning, when the rain has finally given way to a bit of sunshine.
“The truck in general is much smoother. It is a really comfortable truck to drive in an urban environment, such as in Gothenburg. It’s really good,” he says.
And garden centre boss Mårten Johansson is happy that a truck which is supplying his business with soil three times a week is environmentally friendly.
“It fits with our environmental policy of decreasing the harm on the environment,” he says.
Back in the office in Örebro, Daniel Karlsson is still smiling, despite the weather outside getting even worse. He’s reflecting upon some of the other welcome aspects of the Super powertrain.
“The basic service interval for this truck is quite long compared with other trucks,” he explains. “The big service only takes place after more than a year whereas other trucks have that big service once a year with smaller services a few times in between. And the gearbox has a service interval of a million kilometres, so hopefully I’ll never have to change it!”
The much longer service intervals, which keep the truck running for longer and earning more money, also extend to the engine oil.
“I’m now changing the engine oil after 140,000 kilometres; previously it was every 60,000 to 80,000 kilometres. At the start, we change the fuel filter for rapeseed oil but this truck has the systems to clean the rapeseed and take out the water and so on. So now we are only changing the filter every 30,000 kilometres and I think we can go even longer.”
“This should work very well in my fleet”
The field test still has a bit longer to run, but it’s clear that it has been a valuable experience for both Daniel Karlsson Transport and Scania.
“My heart has always been with Scania, and now I can be there in the development of new products that I myself will use later, so that’s a serious mission. It’s a great responsibility,” says Daniel Karlsson.
“Scania needs to check all the parameters to keep improving the quality, and the field test is the only way to do that. We’ve had a good response from the Scania engineers and this one should work very well in my fleet.”
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