Scania talks urban product technology ahead of Freight in the City Expo 2018

Scania is heading to Freight in the City Expo at London’s Alexandra Palace next week (6 November) with its focus firmly set on helping operators adapt to changing urban fleet requirements.

As headline partner for this year's event, the truck manufacturer is keen to support the expo's aim to share operational best practice and technology advances when it comes to getting goods into urban areas safely, cleanly and quietly.

Steven McLachlen, product marketing manager at Scania (Great Britain), said: "The UK is experiencing change at a rapid pace with the introduction of increased legislation to help make cities cleaner, quieter and safer for the millions who work and live in them.

“Freight in the City is a great event which allows stakeholders to get together to learn, share best practice and showcase products helping customers plan for the future and navigate the upcoming changes."

The manufacturer will be showcasing its latest line-up of city-centric trucks at the show, which includes its enhanced direct vision, low-entry L-cab as well as a compressed natural gas-powered G-series tractor unit.

MT took the opportunity to ask McLachlen a few key questions ahead of Freight in the City Expo about the trends affecting UK operators today, and how Scania is stepping up to the challenge.

Has Scania noticed an increased appetite from its UK customers for urban vehicle solutions?

McLachlen: "Customers are under increasing pressure and have to ensure that their businesses are well prepared for the future. We continually consult with them regarding topics such as low-emission zones and ensure that our products help them meet stringent legislation – helping them plan for the future with their business; for example the Scania L-cab and London's Direct Vision Standard.

"We don’t see ourselves as simply selling vehicles, we’re all part of a transport ecosystem and everyone has an important role to play. When our New Truck Generation was launched in 2016, our aim was clear, ‘Driving the shift towards sustainable transport’, and we’re putting those words into action.

"We work to support our customers closely and offer as much help and advice as they need in order to get the right solution for their business. This emanates from understanding the application and honing the specification around their individual requirements.

Which diesel alternatives are gaining most traction for UK operators in the here and now?

McLachlen: "We believe that the future of urban transport can’t be solved with just one solution, therefore we offer a range of alternatively fuelled vehicles. We work closely with customers to make them aware of the alternatives available here and now, as well as being realistic about what is suitable for their business.

"Sustainability must also be commercially viable – so we work with a number of stakeholders including local governments and councils, lobbying bodies and fuel suppliers to ensure that we’re all driving together towards a common goal and getting the best for our customers."

Which technologies are in the pipeline at Scania’s R&D lab?

McLachlen: "From a research and development perspective, we continually work with a range of technologies and fuels. We have numerous trials, across multiple countries, to understand how specific fuels and technologies work in certain applications and how they perform at their optimum.

"Electric powertrains will doubtlessly develop along with battery and fuel cell technology, offering real opportunities to improve both the commercial and social offering.

"We need to work towards change today and develop solutions with a real emission reduction, both with infrastructure and commercially available fuels so we can offer the fastest route to sustainable solutions for our customers."

Is there life left yet in diesel engines? Can further emissions gains be made?

McLachlen: "The internal combustion engine is still viable in certain applications. Especially when combined with initiatives focused on honing specification and training drivers which can offer CO2 reductions of over 10% in real world applications. We need to continue to work with energy efficiency to ensure we offer total solutions as different technologies reach their commercial maturity.

How achievable does Scania think the EU’s CO2 reduction targets are for manufacturers?

McLachlen: "A fossil-free commercial transport system in the timeframe of the Paris Agreement target is not only possible, but also financially attractive from a societal perspective.’

"This is the key conclusion of a comprehensive analysis study undertaken by Scania and reviewed by an external academic panel.

"The Pathways Study: Achieving fossil-free commercial transport by 2050 can be found on our website for those that want to view it in more detail and find out more about the various pathways to a fossil-free future."

Freight in the City Expo takes place on 6 November at London's Alexandra Palace. This free-to-attend annual event combines an exciting seminar programme discussing key urban logistics challenges and best practice, alongside a vast exhibition of the latest city vehicles and technology.

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