Scania: An electrifying new project

For years freight has been moved around on our roads by traditional HGVs in much the same way. Diesel or petrol fueled,

Scania, the Swedish automotive company, has been developing an interesting new way to power HGVs transporting freight. The major issue at present with HGVs is the cost of fuel, both in monetary value and also in costs to the environment through pollution. Scania are attempting to solve this issue by fitting HGVs with both a conventional fossil fuel based engine as well as an electric powered one.

HGVs will be able to switch between the fuel engine and electric engine while driving to alternate the source of drive power for the vehicle. When there is an electric supply the HGV can switch off it’s conventional fuel engine and drive along powered by electricity. This will reduce the costs for the operator of the HGV as electricity is cheaper when compared to diesel or petrol. It will also mean that there won’t be any emitions being released from the HGV while it is on this mode.

Now, I hear you ask: “How does it get the electricity?” Well that is a good question! Scania is trialing two ways of electrifying roads. The first way is to erect pylons by the side of the road and hang electric cables over the carriageway, in much the same way as would be done on an electrified train line. The HGVs are fitted with a pantograph at the front of their cabs which connect with the electrical cables and supply the HGV with electricity. The pantograph can also be lowered when not in use. This is a good solution as existing roads can be easily electrified without much disruption as works can be completed on the side of the road, but does mean that an obvious height limit will be imposed.

Scania has teamed up with Bombadier for an even more ingenious solution. Using the power of wireless current induction! Cables can be installed under the road surface which give off a special electronic field which can be connected to, wirelessly, by HGVs driving overhead. A large pad running the entire undercarriage of the vehicle picks up the power supply. This way gives the obvious advantage of not imposing a height limit on the road, but also does mean more disruption when being installed due to the required work on the road.

Scania is beginning now to test this innovative new technology on some roads in Europe. This could be a fresh approach to tackling the issue of emissions from HGVs transporting freight, all while potentially reducing the costs of fuel for haulage companies.