Electric trucks – they are a perfectly logical and sensible development in many ways. Smaller vans for city use often do routes where they go to various addresses and then return to their home base. This is useful for both air quality in the city and planning in terms of charging. In addition, they are quieter and do not cough up Particles of Death when they are idling.
The ‘real transport’ obviously covers longer distances, but the very strict rules regarding working hours (a 45-minute break every four hours, decreed by the EU) and strict penalties for misuse of the tachograph mean that most truckers know where they are will be, and when. And that is very handy if you want to plan the charging of your EV.
The infrastructure remains (still) a problem
This of course leads to the usual problem: infrastructure. Truck manufacturers have been working on electric trucks for years, but long-haul trucks need megawatts of simultaneous charging to make them profitable, and that opportunity isn’t available in enough places. Not yet. They have to compete against fuel tanks that can hold 600 liters and that can easily drive 1,600 kilometers. Hello chicken, meet the electric egg.
The technology is already there. Take this Scania BEV trailer tractor for example. It’s a 4×2 tractor that looks just like all the others, but one that can be powered by 624 kWh (of which 468 kWh usable) of batteries. The three engines put out around 558bhp, but a veritable deluge of torque (somewhere north of 4,060Nm), all delivered with that smoothness that only the truly seriously motivated electrons can provide.
The Scania 4×2 BEV drives almost like a normal car
You will not find Hotseklots supporters here. And yes, it’s all incredibly easy – with a six-speed automatic, this particular Scania is hardly more difficult to drive than a ‘luxury car’. You just select D with the stick, check your mirrors and drive off. Even the handbrake is automatic. From an ease of use perspective, it’s really just about being aware of the amount of space you’re taking up. Although TopGear did not allow us to do complicated reversing things, which may also say something. And safer for the environment.
Still, this is a device that allows you to drive about 350 kilometers with a load of 400 tons. And with which you also have the option, for example, to cool containers with the batteries of your car. It all sounds very sensible. And if there were enough really large chargers to be found, you could fully charge the Scania BEV at a 375 kW charger in less than 90 minutes – combine that with such a mandatory stop and you are already quite the man.
A Scania 4×2 BEV for international transport?
In the trucking world it’s all about the time you can actually be at work, and while this may not be ideal for large international transport, it can go a long way for the slightly shorter distances. From a realistic perspective, an electric future for trucks does indeed seem possible. Now we just have to wait for the prices to become friendlier and for an expansion of the much-needed infrastructure. Anyway, hasn’t that always been the case in many sectors? We will get there.
Specifications Scania 4×2 BEV (2023)
3 electric motors
468 kWh (battery)
0-100 km/u in n.n.b.
350 km (WLTP)
1:30 a.m. at 375 kW
4,150 mm (wheelbase)
64 tons (max