Faster, safer and more cost-efficient V8 with a new gearbox

4 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineSeptember 29, 2020

For nearly 30 years, Lars Johansson has hauled timber from forest to sawmill in northern Sweden. With Scania‘s new V8 engine and the completely new gearbox, he can do it quicker, safer and cheaper than before.

In the middle of the forest outside Skellefteå, in northern Sweden, with great precision and skill, Johansson manoeuvres a giant mechanical hand full of logs and lowers the load in over the trailer of his ‘secret‘ timber truck. The logs end up in perfect order. In 20 minutes, the trailer is fully loaded, with all the chains in place to secure the cargo.

“Now, all we have to do is get out of here, on this slippery, twisting and icy road,” he says.

Really heavy timber transport places great demands on both vehicles and drivers. Reliable tyres, good drivability and precise steering on the cars are self-evident requirements.

“Up here in the north we have a long winter. This means you have to have a good truck that can manage the forest. But the terrain can also be quite hilly when I reach the road, and that places great demands on the gearbox, which has to work hard on all the gears. In this business it is very important to have trucks you can trust. You can‘t be stuck in the woods, many miles from the nearest workshop,” he continues.

For the past two years, Johansson has been secretly testing one of Scania‘s new 590hp V8 engines and the all-new G33 gearbox. He‘s found it to be a powertrain combination that he knows can improve both timber and other heavy transport and make them more cost-effective.

“The gearbox feels really good. You feel safe on these roads, in these hills, at the crossings. The gearbox always selects the right gear and torque on the engine.

“Startability, which means always being able to get started, is incredibly important for those of us who drive in the woods with heavy loads. Starting on a slope has always been a problem. But with this new gearbox it‘s pretty simple. As an old experienced driver, you always think that you should be careful in such situations, slip with the clutch and so. Now, I can just let the gearbox take over.”

Ultimately, it‘s always a question of finance. In combination with Scania‘s new generation V8 engines, the new gearbox is a real piggy bank for hard-pressed drivers. Fuel consumption can decrease by about six percent, and in some cases by even more. That makes a big difference for the profitability of a transport company like Johansson‘s Åkeri – as well as for the environment.

The fuel savings Johansson can obtain are the result of Scania‘s cutting-edge technology. From a blank piece of paper, the company‘s engineers have developed a brand new powertrain with reduced internal friction, higher compression ratios, improved after-treatment systems and an extremely intelligent engine management system (EMS). And the new gearbox is made of aluminium, which makes it lighter than its predecessors.

“Today, transport economy is increasingly important, not least in the timber industry. Margins are small and it is important to reduce costs wherever possible,” Johansson says.

“With this new gearbox and the V8 engine, there‘s a noticeable reduction in fuel consumption, especially if you drive with cruise control. It beats manual driving any day of the week!”