Longer, heavier, environmentally friendly truck trials get Swedish go-ahead 08 July 2014

By running combinations with two full-length trailers, Scania expects to reduce fuel consumption by up to 30%, with an equivalent reduction in CO2 emissions.

The Swedish Transport Agency has granted permission for Scania Transport Laboratory to operate rigs of 31.5 metres in total length between its Södertälje and Helsingborg production units in Sweden.

Scania Transport Laboratory has been conducting research on the road for the past six years, transporting the OEM's own materials under real operating conditions between its Södertälje, and Zwolle (Netherlands) sites.

Now, the organisation is on track to prove that longer, heavier vehicles can reduce CO2 emissions to 20 grams per tonne-kilometre.

Whereas to date it has been running with European maximum 16.5 metre tractor-semitrailer combinations and 18.75 metre 6x2 rigid and drawbar rigs (as well as 25.25 metre Scandinavian limit combinations: rigid with a convertor dolly and a 13.6m trailer; or B-Double tractor, short A-trailer and 13.6m semi-trailer; or artic towing a short drawbar trailer), it will now be running 31.5 metre combinations.

"There are positive environmental effects of longer vehicle combinations, but it is difficult to find support for [tirals] in many European countries," comments Erik Ljungberg, senior vice president, corporate relations at Scania.

"It is really gratifying that the Swedish authorities are taking action to obtain these benefits. To achieve an equivalent climate effect through vehicle development would take several years."

Ahead of the ruling, the Swedish Transport Agency conducted stability tests on the proposed ultra-long vehicle combinations to prove that they would not present any risk, for example during sudden evasive manoeuvres.

"Our long haulage services will not cause any disruptions to the pace of traffic and we will quite easily be able to maintain the legal speed limit of 80 km/hour," insists Anders Gustavsson, managing director of Scania Transport Laboratory.

Scania Transport Laboratory is on record as having halved CO2emissions per tonne-kilometre from 2008 to 2012, by a combination of improving driver skills, optimising vehicles and reducing average speeds.

Brian Tinham

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