Sibling rivalry is alive and well at the Traton Group, as evidenced by Scania and MAN’s conflicting approaches to electrifying heavy-duty truck ranges.
One area which separates the approaches of Scania and MAN are their electric motors. Scania has its EM C1-4 family of electric motors. Using mainly tried and tested electric propulsion technology, this 450kW (610hp) motor incorporates a transmission, which in the case of the regional trucks has six speeds. It is currently matched to a conventional rear axle borrowed from the Super driveline.
Meanwhile, MAN’s centrally located electric motor comes in three performance ratings – 254kW (333hp), 330kW (449hp) or 400kW (544hp). The least powerful is designed for light distribution, and is matched to a 2-speed transmission, while the others have four speeds. It says the 400kW variant, offers similar performance to its 15.2-litre D38 combustion engine. While neither company offers an e-Axle, both confirm that they have one in development. As to whether or not this will be a shared component, remains to be seen.
MAN claims a fully laden 5-axle semi will typically have a range of 400km. Then, having spent 30 minutes on a 375kW charger, can continue for a further 200km, giving it a daily range of 600km. Like Scania, its e-trucks are Megawatt Charging System, or MCS-ready, and when the technology becomes available, their daily ranges will increase to 800km.
Perhaps the Swedes are a glass-half-empty race, as they appear to be downplaying their truck’s range. The official figure quoted is just 350km, but a spokesman told me that the reality is more like 400km. Still, this won’t be enough for all customers to drive 4.5 hours in one stint, which is the maximum driving time without a break permitted under European driver’s hours legislation. There are plans to tackle this by adding another battery in a year or so, increasing capacity to 700kWh.
Using a standard CCS charger will add roughly 270km of range per hour. “Ultimately we want our customers to be able to drive for 4.5 hours, charge for 45 minutes [the minimum required break after 4.5 hours of driving in Europe], and then drive for 4.5 hours,” said a spokesman, “and that will come with MCS.”
Frederik Allard, senior vice president head of e-mobility, added: “We are a bit stuck on the concept of always filling from 10 per cent to 100 per cent as we do with diesel. With battery-electric vehicles the mindset should be to charge for the required range instead: if you have 120km to go to your home depot charger, it would be unnecessary to charge for more than that distance with some small extra margin.”
Both companies believe that electric trucks should look just like their combustion-engined equivalents. Consequently the cabs aren’t shaped like Darth Vader’s helmet, there’s no central seating position, and behind the wheel everything looks very familiar. It’s certainly a more cost-effective approach than starting over again with a BEV-specific cab.
While MAN and Scania’s baked goods do indeed look very different to each other, we’ll have to wait a while longer to see which one electric truck buyers prefer the taste of. While Scania’s BEVs are already in full production, MAN’s require a bit longer in the oven. While its order books are now open, it will deliver just 200 units in 2024, with production ramping up in 2025.
With electric trucks costing roughly three times more than their diesel equivalents, and Europe’s public charging infrastructure being woefully poor, it’s safe to say that customer appetites will be somewhat suppressed, and neither manufacturers’ cakes will be flying off the shelves any time soon.