At this point you have to be blind not to know that the future belongs to electric cars. However, we are still not sure what will happen with long-range trucks. Technology is still not there to provide a sufficient range and power, so what is the alternative? Numerous manufacturers think it is gas. Now Scania introduced a new engine to further strengthen this idea.
Scania, Swedish truck manufacturer, revealed its new OC13 engine, based on a conventional 13-littre diesel unit. OC13 can burn LNG or CNG gas and produces 410 horsepower and 2,000 Nm of torque – pretty much the same as equivalent diesels. Many truck manufacturers now are taking notice that gas infrastructure in Europe is improving every year. Owning and operating gas-powered truck now is not that much or a burden anymore. However, there are some disadvantages.
The most obvious one is the price. A truck with OC13 is going to be a little bit more expensive than a conventional diesel vehicle. It is because gas-powered trucks require a lot of additional equipment to run smoothly and safely. Furthermore, the service interval for OC13 is 45,000 km – significantly smaller than that of a diesel truck. On the other hand, it is an improvement over 30,000 km that the previous Scania gas-powered truck had. OC13 operates according to the Otto principle, which is simple and well-proven. And then there is a matter of safety – some drivers are concerned about what will happen in case of an accident. Truck manufacturers typically say that the structure of the system is relatively safe and there is no need to worry.
However, there are many advantages as well. Depending on the gas used, OC13 can lower CO2 emissions by 15-90 %. That is a huge improvement, which may help meeting some regulations. Then there is a small deal of areas with noise regulations – gas-powered trucks are much quieter and can enter areas where noise levels of no more than 72 dB are allowed. Gas-powered trucks are bound to get very popular between people who are environmentally conscious.
Scania is ready to provide gas tanks as well, both for LNG (for refrigerated, liquefied gas) and CNG (for compressed gas). LNG will provide a range of 1,100 kilometres. It is a better solution for long-range operations. However, companies can fill up CNG tanks themselves – CNG infrastructure is easier to develop. CNG will give a range of 500 kilometres and is better for regional and city distribution.
Other truck manufacturers are gravitating towards gas technology as well. It is easy to implement and can provide neutral CO2 emissions. While we are waiting for electric trucks to come along, this is a good alternative.
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