Urbanisation – the proportional increase of people inhabiting urban areas compared to rural regions is, and has long been, a growing worldwide phenomena. Half a century ago, the global figure stood at around 30 percent. Thereafter, the United Nations projected that 50 percent of the world’s population would live in urban areas by the end of 2008, and today the world’s urban population stands at around 54 percent.
The global urban population is expected to continue its growth, partly because of the lack of resources in rural areas, the belief that city life can provide a better standard of living and because of the generally longer life spans. The implications from a transport perspective are many-fold as ever more people and goods need to be moved within our towns, cities and conurbations in order to satisfy the needs of the growing global urban population. With increased traffic comes the threat of increased pollution, meaning the need to develop sustainable transport solutions has never been greater.
With a long history of developing products at the leading edge, Scania now aims to be the leader in sustainable transport and building its business while creating value for its customers, employees and society. It does this by delivering bespoke heavy trucks, buses, engines and services with a focus on fuel-efficient, low-carbon solutions which enhance customer profitability.
From Scania’s point-of-view, the trend towards sustainable transport is not a need but a must. Meeting society’s demand for transport and mobility with a much smaller footprint means reducing waste and emissions, boosting efficiency, and switching to renewable fuels.
Euro 6 Truck
Scania is already a recognised market leader in high quality, efficient diesel engines and vehicles. The company received the Green Truck Award 2014 for the Scania G 410 Euro 6 truck and its record low fuel consumption. The company also took the lead in the transition to Euro 6, a platform which provides substantial reductions of particle emissions compared to Euro 5.
Scania’s Euro 6 offering is unique on two fronts; it does not compromise on fuel efficiency and can be adapted to every type of available biofuel. Thanks to Scania’s early introduction of Euro 6, it is strong in renewable fuels, especially biodiesel. The Euro 6 launch is also one reason why Scania achieved an historic 15 percent market share in Europe in 2014.
One of the Scania Gas-powered Reading buses.
In parallel to its diesel-fuelled successes, Scania has developed its engines to allow the use of a range of alternative and sustainable fuels, which are especially well-suited for use in urban areas. In addition to ethanol and FAME fuels (Fatty Acid Methyl Ester fuels, which includes fuel derived from rapeseed oil, used cooking oil and so on), Scania has focused heavily on gas-powered operation.
Gas power is, in fact, nothing new: As long ago as the First World War, Scania was producing vehicles which operated on producer gas. In more recent times the company has supplied in excess of 3,800 gas engines for various applications in a number of countries worldwide. Included here is the world’s first Euro 6 gas-powered truck, which entered service with Swedish operator, Bring Logistics, in June 2013.
Reading buses in the UK
In the UK, gas-powered Scania buses have been working since April 2013, when Reading Buses became the first operator to adopt them. To ensure a readily-available supply of fuel an inhouse CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) filling station has been installed at the company’s premises. The filling station sources its gas from the main, with every litre taken being replaced by a litre of biogas, thereby effectively making Reading’s a carbonneutral operation.
This replacement of mains gas with biogas is a key part in the process, biogas being able to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide by up to 70 percent, a massive reduction by any measure. With Reading Buses and another leading operator, Stagecoach, now both operating approximately 40 gas-powered Scania buses each, interest within the industry is at an all-time high.
Gas-powered Scania Trucks The same is true on the truck side, where Scania became the first manufacturer to announce a dedicated gas-powered Euro 6 truck back in June 2014. Here, the word ‘dedicated’ is key as it means the engine runs solely on gas, rather than the duel-fuel (diesel/ gas) option offered by several other manufacturers. Scania’s gas engines are designed to provide the same performance as their diesel counterparts. Power ratings of 280 and 340 horsepower are available, making them suitable for a range of transport operations, especially within the urban landscape. Here, local distribution and refuse collection are two applications to which Scania’s gas-powered trucks are ideally suited.
Argos with the first UK Gas-powered Scania buses
The UK’s first gas-powered Scania trucks were delivered to UK digital retailer, Argos, in March of this year. Now in regular daily service, Argos’ Fleet Manager David Landy comments:
“The ultra-low emissions and environmental benefits of these trucks makes them an extremely attractive proposition.”
Within urban areas, the biogas benefit of reduced carbon dioxide emissions is complemented by a second environmental gain; a considerable reduction in noise. Cleaner, quieter vehicles operating on sustainable fuels are certain to play a sizeable part in our transport future. More major retailers are now either specifying gas-powered Scania trucks or are actively engaged in evaluating the possibilities biogas could bring to their operations.
Back on the buses, Scania is working with its body builder partner ADL to produce a Euro 6, gas-powered double-deck bus. The fi rst options will be designed for provincial operators, with a London-specifi cation model following soon after. This project is scheduled to come to fruition early in 2016.
While all this is encouraging, sustainable innovation does not stop at fuels, engines and transmission. Sustainability in the transport sector is also closely linked to ‘connectivity’ – the use of onboard data to further streamline and enhance performance. By end-2014, 100,000 Scania trucks were connected. The company sees huge opportunities to help customers in the transition to sustainable transport – including within urban areas.
Argos became the first UK transport to take delivery of a Scania Euro 6
gas-powered truck in March 2015.
Through better everyday communication with the vehicle, transport systems can be optimised, which is of value to both society and Scania’s customers. Society benefits through better transport flows, and customers benefit through safer driving, and information on fuel consumption, maintenance needs and driving behaviour. The potential is already evident, with urban areas being a direct and major beneficiary.
In support of its sustainability goals, Scania invests significantly in research and development (R&D). In 2014, SEK 6 billion of Scania’s sales income was invested in R&D – mostly focused on solving sustainable transport challenges.
For the future, more innovative solutions are sure to emerge, the next being a hybrid vehicle option which is currently being trialled by Scania. In the quest to fulfi l its objective to be the leader in sustainable transport solutions, Scania is committed to leaving no stone unturned – which, against a backdrop of growing urbanisation, is exactly what the world’s towns and cities need to see in order to preserve our way of life.
This livery was applied to a gas-powered Scania bus by an enterprising operator in the West Country in order to show their customers how it is powered by fuel produced from human waste. Unsurprisingly, the vehicle captured the headlines nationwide – and soon became known as the Poo Bus!
To hear more about the global challenge of growing cities, join the Chamber on 17 September at Marriott London County Hall for this year's Urbanisation Forum.
Photo Credit: Malinda Rathnayake/ Flickr, Toshihiro Oimatsu/Flickr, Scania