3 Oct 2018
Scania makes way for different ways to power vehicles
We at ASAP heard Scania are developing new ways to power trucks and buses, and we got curious. There’s a bit about it under “partners” here on the website, but we wanted to know more. So we did some research on it and wrote this blog post. There are really great things happening, and great challenges to overcome. We enjoyed writing it - hope you’ll enjoy reading it!
Let’s start with the basics. The regular way to power a vehicle (like a truck or bus) is with fossil fuels like diesel or gasoline. And we all know that’s not good for the environment. There is also other ways to power vehicles, which often is referred to as “alternative fuels”. These fuels are usually biogas, biodiesel, ethanol, electrical hybrids or only electricity. And they are usually better for the environment than the regular fuels. Today, most of Scanias vehicles run on fossil fuels. But, they can run on alternative fuels as well and Scania wants to be the frontrunner and move away from diesel. Less emitting fuels should be the first option while diesel becomes the alternative. However, of course we have to look at the big picture. For example consider the environmental or human impact from production of these fuels. We do not want to solve one problem by only creating new ones!
However, the fact is that we already have techniques to become fossil free, but we need to keep improve them while looking at the full lifecycle. To accomplish this, partnership, innovation and creative ideas are essential. These ideas must be tried and tested as well, because they can do no good if they never leave the desktop.
In 2016, a Scania truck was first to drive on a new two-kilometre electric highway, “e-highway”, in Sweden. The trucks were powered from overhead lines (you know like a train), so there was no need for big batteries. Because that’s usually one problem with electric trucks - the battery. Without the overhead lines, the battery would need to be so big that the truck’s filling rate would be significantly reduced. And there’s no use for trucks that can’t transport goods. This problem could be solved with developing new batteries, but overhead lines is a great solution until then.
This “e-highway” project was seen as a major step towards sustainable transport and Scania are now using the experience from this project to take “e-highways” to the next step. A German project with partners from the German Government, Volkswagen and Scania are now working on creating three new German e-highways, as a way to reduce carbon emissions from long-haul heavy-duty commercial vehicles. It’s partnership in action! And as we said - ideas needs to be tested before implemented on a larger scale. Large-scale electrification will also need big changes in infrastructure, and that’s why partnership essential. Electrification has the power (pun intended) to change the transport sector and hopefully, this is just the beginning.