LAUNCHED: The New Scania 

  • Ten years of development work, SEK 20 billion in investments
  • More than 10 million kilometres of test driving
  • Global launches in five phases
  • 40,000 customers to be invited to experience Scania’s range first-hand on site in Södertälje
  • A strong focus on customer profitability, through precisely cust­om­ised transportation solutions in the form of sustainable products and services
  • The new truck delivers 5% lower fuel consumption on average
  • Scania’s entire range is re-defining the market’s view of the term ‘premium’

Scania is introducing a new truck range, the result of ten years of development work and investments in the region of SEK 20 billion. With the new range, Scania is extending its offering and can now, thanks to its unique modular system, supply more performance stages, connectivity and a comprehensive palette of productivity-enhancing services as well as sustainable transportation solutions that are precisely customised for each type of customer in the highly comp­etitive transportation industry. The promise is that Scania’s customers will always be able to carry out their work in the most sustainable and profitable way, regardless of industry and area of application.

“It is undoubtedly the biggest investment in Scania’s 125 year history,” declares Henrik Henriksson, President and CEO of Scania. “It is with hearts bursting with pride that my colleagues and I are now presenting the products and services that will bring Scania to new levels regarding market shares and carry us far into the next decade.

“Today we are not just launching a new truck range but also a unique, ingenious toolbox of sustainable solutions in the form of products and services that Scania is first in the industry to be able to deliver – and I feel I can claim this with confidence. We are focusing firmly on our main task: to give our customers the necessary tools for achieving profitability in the one business that really means something to them, namely their own.”

Production of the new trucks starts immediately at Scania’s final assembly plant in Södertälje. Initially the focus will be on vehicles and services for long-haul transportation, but additional options will be continually introduced as more Scania plants readjust and additional options emerge.

“There is a tremendous amount of development work by our engineers behind this introduction,” emphasises Henrik Henriksson, Scania’s President and CEO.

“The most noticeable features are of course the new cabs, but the real innovation is that we are now introducing new technologies, services and insights that will help our customers gain an overview of both their costs and their revenues. Our goal is for our customers to be able to achieve sustainable profitability, regardless of assignment type or the conditions in which they work. Our customers’ vehicles always constitute a link within the bigger picture; Scania embraces this through quality, accessibility and a range of physical or connected services. Our new range of products and services re­defines the term ‘premium’ within the truck industry.”

Scania is launching its new range in phases, with a clear focus on various customer segments and according to a carefully planned schedule. The introductions will continue after the first unveiling in Europe, with more customer options, before the entire process concludes with simultaneous launches on markets outside Europe. Among the improvements Scania is introducing, one that is particularly noticeable is a 5% reduction in diesel fuel consumption, thanks to factors such as improved powertrains and better aerodynamics.

The express goal is for at least 40,000 customers and prospective customers to have test driven the new vehicles themselves in connection with the launches, and to have been introduced to Scania’s entire range, covering everything from sustainability optimisation to financing, insurance and maintenance. Other channels are online communication, the media and Scania’s approximately 1,700 dealers in more than 100 countries. The unveiling was held earlier tonight in Paris, live in front of roughly 1,500 special guests and globally to the online community.

Volvo – The fastest truck in the World???

The Iron Knight’ is a specially-built vehicle and the result of a unique co-operation between technicians, engineers and designers at Volvo Trucks. With the exception of the engine and its series-built I-Shift Dual Clutch transmission, the truck is entirely custom-built. Now with 2400hp on tap, the truck will attempt to set new international speed records on August 24th and the attempt on the record will be shown on Volvo Trucks’ social media channels. A tough challenge and a dream project for the technically-minded, which is how the team behind ‘The Iron Knight’ describe the task of designing the specially-built truck. The powertrain is based on the same unit that sits in a road-going Volvo FH, but the engine has been pushed to its limits to produce maximum power.

“The Iron Knight is the perfect way to showcase the competence and innovative power of Volvo Trucks. At the same time, our aim was to generate new insights into technical and design solutions. The intention is to transfer some of these to our series-produced trucks,” says Claes Nilsson, President and CEO of Volvo Trucks.

With 2400 hp, 6000 Nm of torque and weighing 4.5 tonnes, The Iron Knight has a power-to-weight ratio above 0.5 hp/kg.

More important facts figures that you need to know;

• The mid-mounted engine is a significantly modified D13 unit with water-cooled intercoolers and four turbochargers.

• The I-Shift Dual Clutch transmission maintains torque delivery during gear changes. Apart from a reinforced clutch (the discs and pressure plates are made of a sintered material), The Iron Knight uses the same gearbox that is fitted to series-manufactured Volvo FH trucks.

• Electronics kept to a minimum to lower the vehicle’s weight.

• The software has been re-programmed to permit the high performance.

• The fibreglass cab is aerodynamically optimised with large air intakes in the side-skirts to supply the engine with cooling-air.

The engine in the potential record-breaker is a mid-mounted and significantly modified D13 unit with water-cooled intercooler and four turbochargers, producing 2400hp and 6000 Nm of torque. The electric and electronic systems have been scaled down and the software has been re-programmed, all so that the highly-tuned engine can communicate optimally with the transmission – an I-Shift Dual Clutch of the same model that is fitted to series-manufactured Volvo FH models. The only adjustment to the gearbox is its reinforced clutch, which is necessary to handle the remarkably high torque.

“In order to beat a world speed record, you have to have exceptional performance. The I-Shift Dual Clutch is the best possible transmission for the job since it maintains torque on the drive wheel during gear changes, just like a racing car does. Thanks to this, The Iron Knight can accelerate without losing vital time during gear changes,” explains Niklas Öberg, Volvo Trucks’ Test Engineer.

The Iron Knight is a tribute to the Volvo FH. Its technology and design complement one another and every single detail – from the grille at the front to the side-skirts – fulfils a precise function.

“The cab is made of fibreglass and designed to cut air resistance to an absolute minimum. The side-skirts give the truck an impressive stance with their large air ducts that supply the engine with cooling-air. ‘The Iron Knight’ has an attractive and powerful design inspired by today’s Volvo FH. You just have to look at the vehicle to realise that this is a truly fast truck. Even when it’s at a standstill it looks like it’s on the move,” says Nigel Atterbury, Senior Designer at Volvo Trucks.

 With the celebrated racing driver, Boije Ovebrink behind the wheel, ‘The Iron Knight’ will take a tilt at the world record in two categories: 500 and 1000 metres from a standing start. On August 24th it will be possible to watch the record-breaking attempt on Volvo Trucks’ social media channels, including YouTube, Twitter and Facebook.

Barcelona to Monaco by Nick Ireland 

We returned to Barcelona on the 19th May, and were transported by coach from the airport to Mataro, a town north of Barcelona. Arriving late in the evening we just managed to get an evening meal at a local restaurant, and were told that the rigging crew who were dismantling the Brand Centre onto the trucks were still working, they had been badly delayed.

In the morning we got the coach back to the circuit in Barcelona around 8am. On arrival the trucks were lined up in the paddock area all loaded and ready to go. After our daily checks we headed off for Monaco, I ran ahead of the other side atrium trailer and the truck carrying the large curved glass sections of the Brand Centre frontage. Traffic was light, and within a couple of hours I was nearing the French border at La Jonquera. The road up to the border involves a really steep climb, and I knew this would be a good test of the Volvo. At the bottom of the hill I put the gearbox into ‘power mode’ which dropped a gear and held it as I started to climb. Even though my truck weighed in at 40t it stormed up the hill at 70kmh the entire climb, luckily nothing got in my way to slow me! The previous Mercedes trucks were down to about 50-60kmh up the hill. Dropping down the other side into France the retarder held the outfit back easily, maintaining the limit for trucks of 70kmh. Once onto the notorious flat section heading for Perpignan which is normally very windy I pulled into a layby to stretch my legs and let the trailer tyres cool down. Being low profile tyres with heavy weight on, they tyres on the Anderson Trailers step frame are prone to overheating and subsequent puncture. As the side atrium trailers suffered so many punctures last season the Volvos had been fitted with tyre pressure monitors which warn of low pressure or high heat. However, since departing Barcelona my monitor had decided not to work so I decided to do regular stops to try to keep the temperature in check. From Perpignan our route took us past Narbonne, Beziers, and north of Montpellier we took a lunch break after around four and a half hours driving, the parking area in the services was full of F1 team trucks, and in the main building the drivers were easily recognisable by their team uniforms. On the road again we turned east at Nimes and skirted Marseille heading for Cannes and Nice. I had wanted to fill with fuel and AdBlue before my lunch break, but the pumps were full. We pulled into a garage near Cannes but they did not take any fuel card that we carry, so we had no choice but to press on, by now the gauges were warning me I needed to fill up with AdBlue imminently, but the needle was still well above the empty mark. We couldn’t pull into the next garage either, and as I went past the sign telling me the next services, and the one we normally fill at was 20km away the warning lights went mad, I got a message saying there was an injection problem, I lost all power and the truck shook worryingly when I accelerated, basically it was going into ‘limp mode’ as the AdBlue had finally run out. I crept into the services finally, one of our other trucks was in front of me and filled his AdBlue tank as he was on the verge of running out too. I then pulled forward, put the nozzle into the tank, and nothing happened. I was told that the AdBlue had run out! So I had to buy several 5 litre bottles and pour a couple in which took forever as I was unable to puncture a breath hole into the carton. 

After fuelling we were ready to go and didn’t have that far left to go to Monaco. Our lead driver pulled in and warned us that the traffic out on the motorway was at a standstill he’d been told, and advised us to have a break to ensure we could get there legally. I only had an hour left but as there was absolutely nowhere to stop in the small services I had no choice but to carry on. I ended up behind our lead driver, which was handy as I was unsure of where the parking area was that we were heading for, in previous years I’d followed other trucks into the town itself and parking on the harbour side. This year I had to park in the ‘dust bowl’ on the outskirts of town. It is a relatively small parking area and every team has to park their trucks here and shunt them in and out to the town as and when the restrictions allow. The build up of the paddock area would begin the next day, and would have to be done quickly as a week of events and parties precede the actual race. As soon as we re-entered the Autoroute it came to a standstill, I began to doubt my decision. We crawled the 2km up to the peage, and it was absolute mayhem the other side, rush hour in Nice on a Friday evening. Eventually we got through, I stuck to the other truck like glue. Climbing up out of Nice on the motorway, after a few tunnels through the mountains we were climbing up the lead truck indicated off at the first Monaco signpost, and slipped off onto a steeply descending road towards Monaco. As we exited a very long tunnel he indicated to the right and we took a tight turn into the parking area, squeezing between the gates, you would think after all these years that the trucks had been parking here the access would have been improved. We had a long wait while the trucks that had arrived before us shuffled into any available space. By the time I drove in the only available spaces left were in the centre of the park, blocking in many who were parked there. I was backed into position and made ready to go, packing my bag and drawing the cab curtains, I have yet to learn why race teams draw the cab curtains across whenever they are left for the night as the drivers rarely sleep in them. Several of the smaller teams drivers were indeed staying for the night and had their BBQ areas set up and were sitting socialising. We had a fairly long wait for our hired mini buses to arrive to take us to the hotel, the hire company had tried to give out Transit panel vans instead of nine seater buses and it had taken a while to sort out. And that was another drive over with. The next day we flew home, again leaving a handful of blokes behind to shunt the trucks in and out for the set up. Rather them than me! I have been to Monaco lots of times now, and the tiny streets combined with the huge amount of traffic is a nightmare. It is also hugely expensive so costs a fortune if you need to get food or drink during your stay. Our hotel was in the nearby town of Menton, an attractive place very close to the Italian border, it’s just a shame that by the time we arrive there around midnight there is never any time to explore it. The next job will be taking the trucks out of Monaco in a weeks time and onto the beautiful setting for the Austrian Grand Prix.

Also spotted on the trip was this Astra 8×4 cement mixer,seen at Barcelona. Bizarrely on Italian plates and it was being imported from Africa to Germany! And how about a nice Dane also seen on route?

Delightful Dutch DAF’s

As you’ll be aware by now I had my  annual weekend away from the family and once again this year we went to the Truckstar Festival at the Assen TT circuit in the north of the Netherlands. On the drive up, the closer you get to Assen the more you convoy along with show goers and show going trucks. One of the first to come past was the above big white DAF. Like many of you I love a good sounding engine and I have to say that sadly DAF’s seem to get over shadowed quite regularly, but the sound of a straight through pipe on a DAF is a sound to be enjoyed. Much more of a purr than a thump like its Scandinavian competitor, but easily as enjoyable to the ear!

Firstly every truck should be painted and therefore every grill should be painted. All manufacturers love the use of horrible grey plastics these days but if you paint them they can look a treat. None more so the XF grill on the big Dutchman. I wasn’t a fan of the lower than previous DAF  badge but again bring paint into the equation and it becomes a different beast. Pick out the lines on or around the grill and add a couple of Dutch lights and its instantly transformed. The one accessory that all you DAF drivers need to get is the light up DAF badge. I love them! So simple but such a great idea, we had these years ago picked out in LED’s but these as you can see are back lit badges. I’ve got no more detail on them but I’m sure it wouldn’t take much effort to find them. This year is definately the year of “less is more” styling, so a painted grill with a back lit badge and Roberts your mothers brother. 

I’ve lived in DAF’s and I yes I do have a soft spot for them. They’ve not changed much in the 20 years of the Super Space Cab but they are still popular and still loved by both operator and driver and rightly so. A simple all one colour paint job makes it a very attractive truck in my book. There were a couple of plain coloured examples on show and each one stood out from what is was parked next too. The black one above is nothing special but again a couple of lights and that gorgeous deep sun visor and it instantly becomes a standout truck. Don’t forget folks, this year less is more. 

Truckstar, Assen – Day 4

Day 4 (Sunday) the last day. A late night last night but I’m glad I slept in the truck, I think I may have drowned judging by the lake we woke up to. Anyway the rain cleared and another pleasant day followed. As is becoming the norm, on the second day at the show proper we walk the other half of the track and see the rest of the working trucks. The idea of parking all trucks around the circuit (essentially a circle) means that you don’t miss anything. If everything is parked up in different sections and different areas it’s very easy to miss something, perhaps some of the U.K. shows should take note. As you don’t miss anything you find all sorts, ex show winners, everyday trucks and also the odd golden oldie. Although we were parked in the Oldtimer section, there are still some working that obviously park with the working trucks. The red 143 was adoreable! If Father Christmas is reading this, then I don’t need to write my letter this year. 

The rest of the day was spent wandering the main show trucks and also around the manufacturers stands. I’m not a big Iveco fan but they did look a treat sitting in the sun. Just to clarify the only reason I’m not so keen is down to an old dog I used to drive a few years ago, nothing against the new ones! Most of you will have worked out that I’m a fan of the MAN TGL LX, also a fan of old Scanias, 1995 backwards and also a very big fan of the new Mercedes-Benz Actros. Knowing  a fair bit about them they aren’t a truck that regularly gets pimped up, before you all comment yes I know there are a few. But in general there aren’t many so what a pleasure it was to find one. A GigaSpace with 630hp on tap. Very subtle in black with some well placed orange stripes, a nice set of fuel tanks and lockers on the chassis making use of the limited space, a few lights mixed in but best of all a pair of 7 or 8 inch straight exhaust pipes up the back of the cab. I had to sit down.

As it’s the last day of the show we packed up all of our stuff back into the little cab of the 141 and waited for the 1630hrs exit. We had to get away sharply so we had the best chance of getting back to the boat. This was of course fine, a good run with 1980’s tunes on the radio and the sun beginning to set (although we all know the sun never sets on a long distance lorry driver!) and a co driver feeding me sour pastimes and hanging out the window taking photos! These will follow at some point. As is customary in the Netherlands thousands and thousands of people come out on Sunday evening to watch the trucks leaving the show. The devices on the motorway way are packed, people sitting in parks and gardens waving and thousands on bridges over the motorway virtually all the way back to Utrecht, that’s about 160km. I can’t do it justice but to see this many people enjoying watching trucks come pass is almost mind blowing. I think I struggle with it as trucks are so hated in the UK it’s just an alien concept. Anyway a good run back and a good shower and hot meal onboard Stena Brittanica saw out what can only be described as my best non-family weekend of the year. If you’ve not been but you like trucks, I know you do otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this, then get yourself out to next years Truckstar Festival, it’s just awesome. TB out.