Over a period of ten years, and at a cost of more than SEK 200 billion (around $3 billion), 3,500 Scania research and development people have worked to essentially reassess every component of a heavy-duty truck, in the quest for improvement. Ongoing testing has exceeded 12-million kilometres and the Australian pre-production models have gone through at least 500,000km of local testing, much of which has been done in cooperation with some major fleets.
In September 2016, Prime Mover was invited, along with a select group of Australian transport journalists, to travel to Sweden to experience the New Generation Truck (NGT) range immediately following its European release. In the 18 months since, Scania has ensured that the vehicles destined to operate in Australia’s unique high-weight, high-speed and high-temperature road-transport environment have been specified to be up to the task and then subjected to extensive local trials, including addressing the front-axle tare-weight issue often encountered by European cabovers. Bull bars have also been locally developed to suit the requirements of the operators.
The engines have benefitted from numerous improvements. Every component has been reviewed, and re-engineered if necessary, in terms of its contribution to power, durability and fuel efficiency, and there are some significant changes, ranging from injector pumps and turbochargers to cooling fan drives.
The Scania V8 engine will be available in 520hp and 620hp in Euro 5–compliance specification and 520hp, 580hp, 650hp and the ultimate 730hp in Euro-6 configuration.
The 13-litre (actually, 12.7) six-cylinder engines will be available in the G-series in Euro 6 at 370hp, 410hp, 450hp and 500hp, with identical power outputs available in Euro-5 specification except for the 370hp, which will be a 380hp. The urban and vocational P-series will offer a broad range of five-and six-cylinder engines in both Euro-5 and Euro-6 compliance and an all-new 7.0-litre Euro 6 will also be offered for the P-series, in ratings of 220hp, 250hp and 280hp.
Scania last released a fully new cab in 1995, with revisions in 2004 and 2009, and the Streamline version added in 2013. For the NTG cabs, there are no carry-over parts from the previous P, G and R ranges, and the basic structure of the cabs has been developed with input from Scania’s sister company, Porsche Engineering. The cabs now all have electric tilting mechanisms to make life easier for service personnel. Adding to the line-up is the new flat floor S-series.
Across the range, Scania claims to have achieved a total of a five per cent cut in fuel consumption over the comparable previous models, due to improvements in the power trains (three per cent contribution) and the revised aerodynamics attributed a two per cent improvement. Scania appears typically conservative in the predictions and the V8s’ seven-to-10 per cent improved fuel-economy statistics are impressive (see breakout box).
The aerodynamic changes have resulted in the overall cab design being aimed at making a blunt forward-control truck as wind cheating as practicable. The gaps between the various panels have been closed up to much closer tolerances, through the extensive use of robotics in the manufacturing process. Close examination of areas such as door panel–to-pillar clearances shows a consistency worthy of prestige sedans.
In an industry first, the Australian models of the Scania NGT are fitted with rollover side-curtain airbags for both driver and passenger as standard equipment. European statistics show that 45 per cent of driver fatalities occur in rollover accidents, and Scania’s introduction of the curtain airbags is expected to reduce this by 25 per cent. Seat belt pre-tensioners and steering-wheel airbags also contribute to the cell of safety provided by the cab, as does the energy-absorbing steering column.
The new cabs have been designed around the principle of driver safety and comfort, with a focus on reducing fatigue and optimising the use of interior space. The location of the driver’s seat has been moved forward 65mm closer to the windscreen and 20mm closer to the door than the previous models. Combined with the curved windscreen, this provides panoramic forward vision and improves the overall amenity of cab space. A gap at around eye level between the upper mounted convex spotter mirrors and the main mirrors enhances vision of traffic approaching from the right at roundabouts and intersections.
The range of adjustment of the driver’s seat has been increased so that all drivers between 150cm and 200cm should be able to achieve a comfortable position. Optional rotating seats enhance the ‘living room’ ambience of the sleeper-cab models. The dashboard has been lowered slightly, which achieves the dual benefits of increased field of vision forward through the screen and more ‘overview’ of the dash from the driver’s vantage point. The ‘A’ pillars of the cab are significantly narrower than the previous model, giving better vision without sacrificing strength. The dash is uncluttered and has logical ergonomics, with every control within easy reach. The lighting controls have been relocated to join with the mirror and window switches on the driver’s door armrest.
Scania has developed completely new climate control systems, factoring in maintaining ideal conditions for the driver, despite heat radiation via the large window areas. An optional charge cooling system can provide cool air via the standard vents when the engine is off. A remote-control unit gives drivers the ability to adjust temperature and airflow without leaving the bunk area. The results can be much better at providing a comfortable sleeping situation for drivers on rest breaks than traditional auxiliary systems. The standard bunk width is 800mm, with a 1,000mm-wide pocket-spring bunk available in most premium models.
Scania’s already excellent Opticruise automated manual transmission hasn’t escaped attention, either. In combination with revised software, an air-operated brake on the lay shaft better synchronises the internal shaft speeds and contributes to the transmission being able to complete shifts around 45 per cent quicker than before. The improvement in matching shaft speeds helps maintain vehicle momentum and also provides a bonus in fuel economy, as the engine doesn’t need to rev as much on the throttle ‘blip’, as neutral is passed between gear steps when down-shifting. The difference in gear-shift quality is quite noticeable when driving and engine turbo boost is better maintained.
Our first experience at the wheel of right hand–drive examples is spread between a 500hp six cylinder–powered G-series sleeper cab and a 620hp V8 in an R-series high-roof sleeper. Both trucks are set up in loaded B-double configuration, and to say that the southbound trip on the Hume Highway is a breeze is an understatement. Comfort, vision, lack of wind and driveline noise and sensory feedback via the steering wheel are all at the very top of their various scales.
The new front suspension has moved the front axle forward by 50mm from the previous models. This has resulted in a lower centre of gravity, with reduced diving under brakes, and has improved ride and comfort and – importantly – has reduced comparative stopping distances by up to two metres. That’s around the width of a typical pedestrian crossing and could be a life-saver. Both prime movers are equipped with Scania’s optional R4100D retarders, which, combined with the engine exhaust brakes, means that the service brakes are hardly touched during the 900km trip. Actually, most of the driver input on this trip is via the left thumb on the cruise control and adaptive cruise control buttons located on the steering wheel. The availability of topographical maps provides the option of integrating Active Prediction into the adaptive cruise control system, which will contribute to fuel savings and help trip times as, not only will the truck know where it is on the road, but also where it is on the hills as well.
Scania continues to be at the forefront of the capture and use of data to manage trucks to enhance safety and efficiency. Worldwide, there are over 310,000 ‘connected’ Scanias, with 3,000 now connected to the local digitised system as Scania seeks to partner with its customers to assist in maximising the ongoing value of their investment in new trucks. The optional seven-inch media screen can be configured to receive and display information to the driver that has been transmitted from the operator’s management system.
Due to the limits of editorial space, we are unable to give full attention to the complete range of Scania’s improvements incorporated into the NGT. There is no argument that Scania has been earning its success in Australia. In 2010, it delivered 371 trucks in the 16+ tonnes gross vehicle mass (GVM) category, achieving 4.1 per cent of the market share. This grew to 1,004 units in 2017, for a 7.2 per cent market share. Local management is confident that this trend will continue, and the contribution from the NGT – as it becomes available from mid-year – can be expected to accelerate sales even more. Among a swag of other accolades, the Scania NGT took out the prestigious ‘International Truck of the Year’ award for 2016 at the IAA Truck Show in Hanover. In Australia, the Scania NGT family will be the trucks against which all others will be judged. It’s that good.
The Scania V8 engine’s seven-to-10 per cent fuel-consumption improvements are achieved via:
Internal changes involving increased compression, higher cylinder pressure and reduced friction.
The shift from exhaust gas recirculation (EGR)/selective catalytic reduction (SCR) to SCR only and a fixed geometry turbo provides higher efficiency and maintains exhaust temperatures, so that requirements for raising the temperature are reduced.
The new after-treatment system provides improved AdBlue vaporisation performance, optimised after-treatment and less pressure loss.
1.5 to 2.0%
Customers with normal, representative driving patterns can save through the use of new disengageable auxiliary systems, such as alternator and compressor.
Aerodynamic changes contribute to saving for typical long-distance customers. Local testing has proved that even with Australian specification bull bars fitted, these results are certainly realistic.