Scania, Trucks

Germany vs Sweden, in Trucks

Germany vs Sweden in Trucks

PowerTorque’s European Correspondent, Will Shiers, has spent more time behind the of the Scania electric trucks than in the MAN electric offering, but has some opinions on the difference, Germany vs Sweden, in trucks.

Will drove the Scania R40 and S45 electric trucks at its Swedish demo centre, and was impressed with their power delivery.

It’s helped by the integrated 6-speed gearbox, which works in a similar way to VW’s DSG transmission. At any point two gears are selected, meaning changes are seamless, without any interruption in torque delivery.

It stops as well as it goes too, thanks to the five-stage 450kW auxiliary brake.

At low speeds the cab is an incredibly serene place. You can’t fault Scania’s interior build quality, which is noticeably squeak and rattle-free. And without a combustion engine under the cab, the driver is met with almost total silence. At higher speeds, the road, wind and tyre noise begin to develop, but it’s still probably the quietest truck I’ve ever driven.

For as long as I can remember, truck journalists have commented on how quiet cabs are, and are quick to criticise excessive engine noise. In recent years noise levels have dropped significantly, and now that electric trucks have appeared on the scene, you’d think we’d be happy. Well, not quite. With no engine noise at all, they’re becoming a bit…dare I say boring?

While their stealth-like qualities will no doubt be welcomed by the vast majority of people who experience them, especially those carrying out urban distribution work, I reckon some regional and long-haul Scania drivers are going to be less enthused.

Image: MAN/Supplied

This of course especially applies to those stepping out of a V8. That engine holds a special place in drivers’ hearts, and the characteristic growl is a soundtrack some will miss. I wonder how long it will be until someone develops a V8 sound to play in battery electric Scanias! (I have been calling for this for many years! – Ed)

I only had a small taste of MAN’s new 330kW e-TGX in Germany, when I briefly got behind the wheel of an early prototype truck. However, two laps of a flat test track in the dark, didn’t allow me to draw many meaningful conclusions from the experience.

One of my few observations from the drive, was that unlike the Scania, acceleration was not overly smooth. It jerked and shuddered slightly when moving off, and then lurched as it changed up through the 4-speed gearbox. However, the MAN demonstration driver in the passenger seat reassured me that this was down to it being a development truck, and confirmed that production vehicles will be far more refined.

Charging Infrastructure

Both Scania and MAN would welcome European government assistance to boost demand for electric vehicles. MAN is specifically asking for an investment in a proper charging infrastructure, financial support for operators looking to invest in depot charging, and more stable energy pricing.

Together with Daimler Truck and the Volvo Group, the Traton Group has also established Milence, a joint venture to set up a charging infrastructure on major European corridors. It plans to install 1,700 charging points across Europe by 2027.

 

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