The importance of engine power
As a field test driver evaluating the next generation of trucks, Sjöstrand also appreciates the power of the new V8.
“My old truck only had 580 hp. This new one has 650 hp, which makes a huge difference. The engine is really powerful and works well. You would think that a bigger engine would consume more fuel, but it actually consumes three litres less per 100 kilometres than the previous one.”
Sjöstrand was chosen as a field test driver by his employer, Eurolink, based in Ljungbyhed. “Of course, I hope they asked me because I’m good at my job and not because somebody else had already turned down the offer.”
Two years of field testing
Sjöstrand will be driving the S 650 until summer 2018, all the while reporting to Scania about his experience.
“This is the second time I’ve worked as a test driver,” he says. “It’s a great experience for me to help with the development of new trucks, and I think that Scania listens to my opinions.”
Sjöstrand is on the road every weekday, two weeks on and one week off. He transports bags of concrete from Strängnäs, in the Swedish province of Södermanland, to 20 home improvement centres in Stavanger and Oslo in Norway.
He carries three pallets at a time, which take 15 minutes to load. He often drives to the unloading site in the evening and sleeps there, sometimes meeting friends. “When I went there yesterday a colleague of mine had heated up the company’s sauna,” he says. “Being able to sit and talk a bit made for a pleasant evening.”
Good life in a truck
Over the years, the E18 motorway has become Sjöstrand’s second home. He has audiobooks to keep him company and he trades suggestions for books to listen to with a colleague.
“I’ll listen to almost anything,” he says, “but I want to like the main characters in the book. Some personal favourites of mine are The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared and A Man Called Ove. Both have been turned into really good movies as well.”
This fall marks Sjöstrand’s 15th year as a professional driver, but he’s been travelling in the cabin of a truck much longer than that. His father, a freight manager, and other relatives drove trucks, and he says he has many memories of sunny summer roads. “We had relatives in the province of Dalarna, and ever since I was a little kid we would drive a truck there for the holidays.
When I grew a little older, I would spend whole holidays in the truck. That feeling of sitting high up in the truck, that’s the good life – that’s freedom for me.”