The biggest electric car we’ve driven. The battery-powered truck is revolutionary for Scania

Just a few years ago, it was argued that electricity made no sense for trucks. But development is moving forward quickly, faster than the infrastructure for charging tractors with flashlights. What’s it like to drive a truck that doesn’t burn diesel? We tested the battery Scania Pegasus 25 P. Attention, can you hear the silence?

Audi e-tron, Volkswagen ID.Buzz, Peugeot e-Traveller… Until recently, these were the biggest electric cars that the editors had the opportunity to test. Compared to a machine that waits quietly in the garage before driving, connected to a mobile fast charger, these are small wonders.

From the outside, the electric Scania Pegasus P 25 looks like a regular, medium-sized conventional truck. If it didn’t have the type markings on it, you’d be hard pressed to tell the difference. The 25 P type designation on the bow indicates the power and cabin type.

It measures less than 9.6 meters in length and almost 2.6 in width. It weighs twelve tons empty, another seven tons can be loaded into the cabinet behind the cabin. By the way, it is ingenious, it can be raised by dozens of centimeters, so the driver can increase the height of the cargo space when needed, or, on the contrary, lower it and safely drive the car under a narrow bridge.

The linear acceleration and the silence in the cabin are great on the electric Scania. | Photo: Martin Přibyl

So far, it is offered in a single power variant with 230 kilowatts and 1300 Nm, the short-term peak power is increased to 290 kW and 2200 Nm. Two battery capacity versions are available. The weaker one has 165 kWh, where the batteries are stored in five “boxes”, the tested one with 300 kWh has a total of nine of them, eight are fixed in the space under the semi-trailer, where the fuel tanks are also used, the ninth is stored between the driver and passenger, where normally finds the internal combustion engine. While the first variant has a maximum range of 130 kilometers per charge, with a larger battery capacity it promises a range of up to 250 km.

The electric motor with permanent magnets is relatively small and takes up space in the middle of the frame. While electric “passengers” have a single-speed transmission, here there are two. “The driver needs to have torque available under any circumstances, at low and high speeds,” explains Ondřej Koubek from Scania.

The charging connector is located in the right front corner. It has a standard CCS connector, which is also used by passenger electric cars, but the Scania can only charge with direct current at a speed of 130 kW. That’s why the demonstration piece also comes with mandatory equipment, a special charger that can be connected to a 32 A socket of the “five pin” type. By the way, it will cost 15,000 euros, i.e. less than 400,000 crowns, but it charges with a power of “only” 44 kW.

Although the whole technology has increased the weight of the car by about one and a half tons to 12 tons, it has no effect on its load, and the car will carry the same as the diesel equivalent, i.e. a seven-ton load. Electric trucks have an exception and their weight limit has been raised by up to two tons, so they still fit into the 18-tonne category.

“However, the increase in weight is relative, because when you put full tanks of diesel into an equivalent truck, the weight is practically the same. Most companies will not buy a Scania with a six-cylinder engine only with a basic 150-liter tank, but more often a 1,000-liter tank, which is, of course, significantly heavier with diesel “, adds Koubek.

In order to fairly assess the driving characteristics of the Pegasus 25 P, we also tested a modern Scania Super diesel tractor. It drives great, but an electric car is even better. | Photo: Eva Srpová

With concrete to Prague

To make our ride as authentic as possible, the Scania has four tons of concrete lintels loaded inside. There are only two places in the cabin, behind them is a place to store things, there could be a bed if the car operator wishes. But the Pegasus 25 P is not a long-distance tractor that should transport pallets from Stockholm to Rome, it is a car suitable for the city and its surroundings, or for company premises where excessive material needs to be transported, but not somewhere far away. Some European cities are introducing emission-free zones where there are no exemptions for trucks, so Scania is also targeting bakers or goods distributors, postal transport or municipal services with it.

Håkan Lijla, a Swede like a log, also travels with the test demo car that drives around Europe, of course he has a Saab at home in the garage. He was a firefighter in the fire brigade in Stockholm all his life and drove as a driver-engineer with Scania, he retired this spring. “As a test driver, I have driven new Scanias before, I took a vacation to do it. I enjoy it, so I continue to do it, this year for the first time with an electric car,” he says.

So he always loads “his” electric Pegasus on the tractor, here he is in Barcelona for a week, another time in Germany, now in Prague. It would not make sense to drive along one’s own axis, there is not yet a network of chargers for trucks in Europe, and with a promised range of a maximum of 250 km, Håkan would drive from Sweden to Chrášťany in a week.

We sit in the cabin. It looks practically the same as the interior of conventional Scanias. In the instrument panel, however, an alarm clock with engine speed replaced the power and charging indicator. To the right under the giant steering wheel is the classic engine speed lever, but here it fulfills a different function, the recuperation regulator. It has five levels, and learning how to work with it as efficiently as possible is essential for economical driving.

It measures 9.6 meters in length and weighs twelve tons. It is pleasantly easy to drive. We drove with a consumption of less than 80 kWh per 100 km.

It measures 9.6 meters in length and weighs twelve tons. It is pleasantly easy to drive. We drove with a consumption of less than 80 kWh per 100 km. | Photo: Scania

After turning the key, the typical sound of a large diesel is not heard in the cabin, the acoustic-electric performance is practically the same as in battery passenger cars. You will never experience such silence in a truck in anything else.

It is completely trouble-free to drive. The power is immediately available and the acceleration is pleasantly smooth, the driver does not need to manually jump through the gears to make the acceleration as smooth as possible. When shifting from first to second gear, however, there is a short interruption of performance and a kind of “kick”, you need to get used to it.

We can imagine that for some less experienced truck drivers, driving an electric machine will still be much more comfortable, just as driving an electric passenger car is addictively easier than driving an internal combustion engine. And those seasoned greasers who love the good old six- or eight-cylinder will probably have to get used to it over time, because Scania wants to electrify gradually.

Next year it will launch a smaller tractor for regional transport and the next year a large one for long-distance transport. A network of high-speed charging stations for freight transport with 1,700 charging points is to be built in Europe within five years.

But it will be important to teach professional drivers to drive as smoothly and efficiently as possible. In a passenger car, it doesn’t matter so much if you forget to anticipate intersections and recover in an orderly way, but in a truck it’s a lot. That’s why the on-board computer rewards you with stars every time you brake effectively to motivate you.

In the Czech Republic, the electric Scania went on sale in April, but none are on the road yet. According to company representatives, however, several companies are close to signing the contract. Scania is part of the Volkswagen concern, so there is a possibility that Pegasus 25 P could soon be used, for example, in the premises of Škoda Auto in Mladá Boleslav and its immediate surroundings when transporting cargo.

It is difficult to calculate whether it is worth it in terms of price, because Scania does not publicly communicate the price. “We can only outline that with a more powerful battery it is more expensive in lower multiples, with a weaker one significantly less,” says Koubek.

According to estimates, however, it consumes roughly one to two kilowatts per kilometer driven, an equivalent internal combustion truck burns over twenty liters of diesel per 100 km. We were even more economical, after sixty kilometers of driving from Chrášťany to Kladno, through both Přítočn and along the D6 to the western part of Prague and back, the on-board computer showed a consumption of 77 kWh, so we should have traveled over 300 kilometers. But it’s fair to admit that four tons of concrete on your back is not such a big load.

But the most important thing about freight transport is how much it costs. Is the consumption of the electric version small or a large saving compared to a diesel truck? This must be calculated by companies that would consider it. The manufacturer promises that it can accurately calculate based on the analyzed data which car is exactly suitable for the company. Perhaps it will be more reasonable to choose a hybrid for now.

The article is in Czech

Tags: biggest electric car weve driven batterypowered truck revolutionary Scania

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