Long-term fuel use forecast to fall 20 per cent

Fuel is currently more than a third of truck operating costs, way ahead of truck purchasing, Scania says

Long-term fuel use forecast to fall 20 per cent
Scania Head of R&D Harald Ludanek


Scania forecasts that fuel use in trucks could be cut by about 20 per cent in coming decades.

Harald Ludanek, Scania’s Head of Research and Development, made the bold statement at the recent International Vienna Motor Symposium.

Scania says that more than a third of the operating costs of a truck are related to fuel, with the other big-ticket item being driver costs.

By comparison, acquisition costs for the vehicle only account for 11 per cent of operating costs, the company says.

Of course burning fuel produces carbon dioxide, or CO2.

"Continuously reducing CO2 emissions from heavy vehicles is thus driven naturally by business and competition considerations," Ludanek, who is also Scania Executive Vice President, says.

He therefore predicts that technical solutions to reduce fuel consumption are likely to be realised sooner for heavy vehicles than for passenger cars.

Ludanek says further CO2 reductions will only be achieved with a "holistic" approach including driver training, better maintenance, easy servicing, and vehicles and engines being optimised for the transport task.

Scania foresees optimised combustion through refined control of fuel dosage, flow optimisation of intake and exhaust ducts, improved turbocharging and improved thermal management.

"More efficient exhaust after-treatment systems will also be developed with lighter and more efficient particulate filters, refined urea dosing and evaporation, and temperature control to ensure chemical reactions," the company says.

"Extensive efforts are being undertaken to improve exhaust heat recovery. Currently, Euro 6 engines achieve an average thermal efficiency of 43 per cent. With further combustion improvements and increased utilisation of exhaust heat, engine efficiency is expected to reach 55 per cent in the next 5-10 years.

"Alternative fuels and electrification of the powertrain will also significantly contribute to reducing CO2 emissions.

"Various driver support systems provide further help in reducing fuel consumption, for example driving hints in the instrument display and predictive cruise control systems such as Scania Active Prediction."

Traffic management systems, better road routing and the introduction of guidance systems are examples of external ways to reduce fuel use, says the company.

Better aerodynamics for trucks and trailers are also major ways that Europe expects to cut unit fuel consumption.

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