Scania announced recently its intentions in becoming a leader in the shift towards a sustainable transport system. Battery electric vehicles will be the main tool to drive this shift and to enable decarbonised transport solutions with better transport economy to customers, the Swedish truck maker said.
The rapid development of electric solutions for heavy duty vehicles includes the fast advancement of battery technology in respect of energy storage capacity per kg. Charging time, charging cycles and economics per kg are improving rapidly. This means these solutions will become more cost effective, primarily in repetitive and predictable applications. They will gradually overtake Scania’s industry-leading fossil and biofuel powered solutions in most transport applications.
Alexander Vlaskamp, head of sales and marketing at Scania said: “We see that battery electric solutions are the first zero-tailpipe emission technology to reach market broadly. For the customer, a battery electric vehicle requires less service than a conventional one, meaning higher uptime and improved costs per km or hour of operations.
“We have learnt from the bus segment where transformation started earlier and battery electric options are in high demand.
“Scania’s timing in that segment was not optimal, however it provided good experiences and we are presently accelerating with the new Scania bus range. It also gave us good base knowledge as we ramp up the electrified truck business.”
The company has already launched a fully electric truck as well as a plug-in hybrid truck. In a few years’ time, Scania plans to introduce long-distance electric trucks that will be able to carry a total weight of 40 tonnes for 4.5 hours, and fast charge during the drivers’ compulsory 45-minute rest.
The long term goal of Scania is to continue electrification and increase electrified vehicle share out of the total sales in Europe to 10 per cent by 2025, and 50 per cent by 2030.
Scania has invested in hydrogen technologies and is currently the only heavy-duty vehicle manufacturer with vehicles in operations with customers.
The engineers have gained valuable insights from these early tests and efforts will continue. However, going forward the use of hydrogen for such applications will be limited since three times as much renewable electricity is needed to power a hydrogen truck compared to a battery electric truck.
A great deal of energy is namely lost in the production, distribution, and conversion back to electricity, Scania says.
Repair and maintenance also need to be considered. The cost for a hydrogen vehicle will be higher than for a battery electric vehicle as its systems are more complex, such as an extensive air- and cooling system. Furthermore, hydrogen is a volatile gas which requires more maintenance to ensure safety.
However, hydrogen is a promising energy carrier; good way of storing energy over long cycles, and will play an important role in decarbonisation if produced in an environmentally friendly way. Scania looks forward to sourcing fossil free steel for its trucks as hydrogen will play a greater role in several industries.
Stationary fuel cells are an important component of the electric charging system. This solution is especially promising in areas with abundant renewable energy, and in rural areas off the main electricity grid.
Scania’s science based climate targets will see the company cut CO2 emissions from its own operations by 50 per cent by 2025, as well as reduce emissions from the customers’ vehicles by 20 per cent during the same period.
The company commits to launch at least one new electric product application in the bus and truck segment every year. At the same time, societal investments in a solid infrastructure for battery electric vehicles remains a priority.