Scania, Traton’s Sweden-based truck brand, is pushing forward with a hybrid approach as a stepping-stone toward full electrification.
Scania is introducing hybrid-electric and plug-in hybrid electric trucks that can be fitted with different powertrain and charging options, offering solutions that can fulfill various demands for applications such as refrigerated transports, concrete mixers and regional distribution. This approach accommodates heavy trucks with demanding bodywork, noted the company.
By coupling two electric motors and merging them with parts of Scania’s Opticruise gearbox, the GE281 can deal with GVWs of up to 36 tons without support from the Scania 7L or 9L combustion engine. But it also works the other way: Because the electric machine is always supporting the combustion engine at take-off and acceleration, the combustion engine can be downsized in both volume and power output. Hybridization means fuel savings of up to 40% in city areas compared with traditional powertrains, according to the company.
“The GE281 is something brand new in the heavy truck industry,” said Fredrik Allard, head of e-mobility at Scania Sales & Marketing. “With this fourth generation of hybrid trucks from Scania, we have reached a point where hybrids are strong candidates for a variety of applications and operations where sustainability and smart solutions are the main priorities.”
In addition, the company noted, all Scania Euro 6 engines can run on hydrotreated vegetable oil, and some can also run on biodiesel FAME, for fossil-free operation.
Scania’s GE281 offers 230 kW continuously and 290 kW as peak power output, while the max torque is 2,100 Nm. It has six forward gears but no traditional clutch, since a planetary gear takes care of that process, providing torque interruption-free gear shifts. This solution also provides for excellent creep drive capabilities at low speeds, and the PTO can be engaged while the truck is moving, in electric as well as combustion engine mode.
“The driving experience can actually be compared with what you get in a passenger car with a dual-clutch system,” says Allard. “And with this solution, we can offer all the support functions that Scania customers are accustomed to, such as adaptive cruise control with active prediction and downhill speed control. Another great improvement with this solution is that the energy recuperation during deceleration is also uninterrupted, which is important since the electric machine is the primary brake source in these vehicles.”
Scania is one of the few major OEMs that is committed to offering heavy commercial hybrid trucks. In 2020, it launched a range of plug-in hybrid and fully electric trucks with a focus on last-mile operations.
“With the GE281, we have reached a new level,” Allard said. “The electric machine equals or often exceeds what the combustion engine can offer, thus creating the opportunity to downsize the internal combustion (ICE) engine and save both fuel and weight. The ICE is only motivated by its capability to offer the range needed when travelling longer legs between different assignments.”
The PHEV has an installed battery capacity of 90 kWh (3 x 30 kWh batteries), while the HEV version has one 30 kWh battery. The PHEV can be fully charged in 35 minutes when using a 95 kW DC charger. That means the vehicle can be charged at depots and during breaks or loading sessions (aka opportunity charging).
“We do believe that these kinds of trucks will eventually be replaced by battery-electric vehicles. But until long electric-powered ranges and relevant charging infrastructures are available in all markets, there is definitely a window during this decade for hybrids.”
Scania recently pledged to support an agreement where 15 countries agreed to work together toward 100% zero-emission new truck and bus sales by 2040.