In 2020 Scania introduced its battery electric vehicle (BEV) and plug-in hybrid. One year later the vehicle manufacturer is inviting customers to take a test drive.
Scania opted for a two-axle vehicle, loaded to just under 16.4 tons, for the initial presentation of its battery electric vehicle (BEV), with a 6x2 also available. A two-speed transmission with integrated electric motor is followed by a standard series R660 rear axle in the drive train, with the majority of the components coming from stock. Fundamentally, the same is true for the hybrid, with Scania stressing: the modular system is also ideal for “climate-neutral times”.
When the driver presses the accelerator pedal, the BEV moves almost silently and with a feeling of even acceleration. The first slight intermittency occurs at around 35 km/h – it is at this point that Scania’s in-house developed automated transmission shifts from first to second gear. Leaving the electronics to shift for themselves is the real challenge with ultra-efficient regeneration. Ideally, the driver drives in an anticipatory manner, coasting for as long as possible without additional braking, otherwise using the finely tuned braking performance of the electric motor. The driver can do this using the steering column control stalk, or alternatively with the pedal. When gently depressed, the electric motor acts as a regenerative brake; with the disc brakes coming into play if more pressure is applied. With regard to service brakes: an electric air compressor is used in both the BEV and hybrid. The same applies to the electric steering and the availability of the current assistance systems, which are already known from the diesel vehicles. A further common denominator: the BEV and hybrid vehicles are both available with P-series (short, medium, long) and L-series (Low Entry) cabs.
In terms of the consumption of the battery electric vehicle, Scania provides empirical figures of around 1 kWh/km for two-axle and 1.4 kWh/km for three-axle distribution transport vehicles. A refrigerated box body and a cooling unit add a further 0.2 to 0.3 kWh, with the figure climbing to around 2.2 kWh for waste collection vehicles. The Swedes are similarly vague about the range: 250 kilometers are said to be possible with nine lithium-ion batteries with an output of 300 kWh.
When switching to the hybrid, you are met by the familiar rumbling of the diesel engine, although the electric motor ideally starts the vehicle. In principle, the hybrid can also be used without an external charging connection (therefore HEV, rather than PHEV), with an otherwise identical drive train, but with a lower battery capacity of 30 instead of 90 kWh as standard. Either way, the rule of thumb is: charge primarily by regeneration, coast and slow down with the electric motor, and use diesel on the open road. As an alternative to automatic control, the driver can use a rocker switch to change to purely electric drive. The brake lever has five stages, typical for Scania, with the electric motor braking or generating current as a generator in positions one to three. In position four, the diesel engine brake is added, and in stage five, by shifting down a gear, to maximum speed.
With a 31.5-ton payload in the City semi-trailer, the 360-hp DC09 five-cylinder engine in the hybrid test vehicle is properly put through its paces, but is assisted by the electric motor. 50 kW is added with a single press of the kick-down pedal or, more generally, with an additional 20 kW when accelerating in Power mode – or at least for as long as the battery charge allows this. The gear shift strategy is also different to a standard truck: the starting gear is usually five or six with the additional torque of the electric motor, and premature shifting down is avoided in favor of regeneration when decelerating the vehicle. Incidentally, the Swedes prefer to fill the diesel tank of the hybrids with HVO (hydrogenated vegetable oil), which is also capable of powering the DC09.
Scania estimates that the HEV and PHEV weigh an additional 670 and 1,400 kilograms, with the BEV (five or nine batteries) weighing 700 or 2,000 kilograms. Scania states a charge time of 38 minutes for the plug-in hybrid, 55 minutes for the BEV with five batteries, or 100 minutes for the BEV with nine batteries. The planned usage model for the heavy BEVs, which are set to follow in the medium term with up to 800 kWh for regional transport and construction site vehicles, is as follows: 4.5 hours of driving, (partial) charge in 45 minutes, continued driving for 4.5 hours. The necessary infrastructure is the prerequisite for this.