A major contribution to fuel and emissions efficiency in recent years has been the “down-speeding” of diesel engines and Scania’s new V8 engine platform is an excellent example of this technology.
With prodigious amounts of torque available at low revs, the new Scania 16.4 litre V8 engine family is available in ratings of 590hp, 660hp and 770hp. We drove the 770 earlier in 2022 with the acknowledgement that not every customer is going to need or buy a 770hp truck.
The 590hp/3050Nm version has its maximum torque available from as low as 925rpm and is more applicable to the current Australian linehaul market where it will be quite a few years before a practical, possibly electric, ‘zero emission’ driveline is widely available.
Until then, Scania parallels its development of low and zero emission trucks alongside improvements in its internal combustion engine (ICE) offerings including the new and more efficient V8s.
It is unlikely there are any more quantum leaps in ICE improvements in terms of fuel economy and subsequent emission reduction, so Scania’s development of this new range of engines has been aimed at refining existing componentry and incorporating the latest technologies.
Scania’s new Engine Management System (EMS) enables a smarter and more advanced engine control software with higher accuracy in managing engine functions such as injector timing.
Another instance of what can be considered ‘tweaking’ are the new single-bank exhaust manifolds which are lighter and more efficient than the previous ones, and also contribute to the distinctive throb from the V8’s exhaust, particularly when under load.
If Harley-Davison have chosen to patent their motorcycles’ idling sound, then perhaps Scania should take a similar approach to what is a unique marketing feature.
The new Scania V8 engines feature reduced internal friction, higher compression ratios, and improved after-treatment systems in which AdBlue is injected twice, once directly into the exhaust manifold downstream from the exhaust brake, and a second dose at the more conventional position in the muffler itself.
A new high-pressure fuel pump also contributes to improvements in the fuel and emission metrics.
Complementing the 300kW of available engine braking, the Scania Retarder continues to do its amazing job of managing descents and stopping.
The EMS interacts with the After-treatment Management System (AMS) to meet Euro VI regulations regarding NOx and exhaust particles.
In Europe, complying with emission legality applies not only when a truck is new, but also over time and the EU requirement is to still meet Euro VI standards for at least seven years or 700,000 km.
The engines are complemented by a new range of automated manual transmissions which eventually will replace all models using the current Scania Opticruise automated gearbox.
Scania has a long history of offering automated manual transmissions, dating back to the early 1990s.
The 590hp and 660hp V8s and the two highest output new “Super” inline sixes are the first trucks equipped with the all-new G33CM transmission which has no parts in common with the existing Opticruise range. The G33CM is around 60kg lighter than the current Opticruise, mainly due to the all-aluminium housings and smaller overall dimensions.
Lowered noise is another notable achievement with an average noise reduction of up to 3.5 decibels.
Scania’s new 14-speed gearbox range has a significantly wider ratio spread with a true overdrive that contributes to a top gear that contributes to a fuel saving of up to one per cent.
On this B-double test drive we are grossing 62 tonnes and when comfortably sitting at a 100 km/h cruising speed the engine is spinning at just 1180 engine revolutions per minute compared with around 1400 rpm in the previous models.
Scania’s engineers have particularly focused on reducing internal friction when designing and developing the new transmissions and internal losses have been reduced by no less than 50 per cent.
This was accomplished through polishing some of the gears, by using low viscosity transmission fluid and by locating most of the oil in a separate, dry sump-like container located on top of the gearbox.
This reduces drag caused by internal oil splash since the gears are not continuously exposed to oil.
Certain cog areas vulnerable to significant wear when absorbing force are supplied with extra oil by spray pipes for increased cooling and lubrication.
By only using two synchromesh gears –compared to seven in the Opticruise – between low and high range split, the new gearboxes are shorter and sturdier, with shafts capable of handling more torque. This also enables Scania to use gears with slightly wider cogs which can handle more load and are more durable.
However, removing synchromesh components also places higher demands on the gearbox management system and the overall gear-shifting strategy.
Consequently, all the electronics associated with the transmission are new and manage the pneumatic actuators and the three shaft brakes required to operate in combination to deliver swift, smooth and accurate gearshifts.
While we cannot recall any notable shortcomings from past experiences with the Opticruise, this new box takes gear selection and shifting smoothness to another level.
There is even a new approach to reversing. In most truck gearboxes, selecting reverse entails having a separate cog-wheel rotate the main shaft in the opposite direction. By contrast, in the new Scania range, the planetary engagement at the output shaft is used which results in the provision of eight reversing ratios at speeds up to an optional 54 km/h.
This application would be suitable for tippers reversing over extended distances such as at tunnel construction sites.
Scania is now offering diesel-fuelled internal combustion engines to Australian operators that can have a significant impact in reducing their carbon footprint by switching from regular diesel to biodiesel, provided it meets the EN 14214 standard. Biodiesel (or FAME as in Fatty Acid Methyl Ester) can be produced from various sources such as rapeseed, animal fats and even used cooking oil.
An advantage with Scania’s biofuel compatible engines is that if biodiesel is unavailable when the truck needs to refuel, regular mineral diesel can be used instead with no adverse results.
While all Scania diesel truck engines can run on up to B10 biofuel (10 per cent mix with mineral diesel), the new R 590 V8 and the new 460hp and 500hp ‘Super’ six cylinder engines can run on B100 (100 per cent biodiesel). It was only at the completion of this test drive when it is revealed to us that this particular R 590 is in fact running on 100 per cent biofuel.
We note no apparent differences at all. What does catch our attention though is the Electric Active Steering (EAS).
It now comes standard in V8 models and provides the driver with precise road feel without being overly sensitive.
The stability of the steering function translates to the lane departure warning system requiring a deliberate veer towards road markings just to make sure it’s operating. The R 590 features airbag front suspension which, in conjunction with the load transfer system and an extra stiff anti-roll bar, contributes to a stable yet comfortable ride with the bonus of in-cab readouts of axle weights.
The ergonomics of the R-Series cab are of the typical first class expected from Scania and the wrap around dash provides easy viewing and access to all controls and instruments. The mattress in the sleeper has pocket springs to ensure the resting driver is as comfortable as when they are sitting on the heated and very adjustable seat and holding the flat-bottomed steering wheel.
The attractive interior features plenty of V8 logos in case you forget what you’re driving. In-cab safety is further enhanced due to the standard fitment of the Scania driver airbag and side curtain airbags.
Globally, as a member of the Traton Group, which includes Volkswagen and MAN, Scania is in the vanguard of low and zero-emission commercial vehicle development. While that area continues to be explored, the latest V8s deliver improved fuel and emission results that will suit the local situation over the next decade or so.
“While in the process of shifting toward fossil-free transport, we all must do everything to improve our current solutions,” says Benjamin Nye, Director of Truck Sales at Scania Australia, “and the transition must be seamless.”
In the case of the new V8’s, “seamless” is an appropriate description.