Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Truck & Bus: Scania at the MCVE 2017 - Scania on the Future of transportation, Driver Education for Konsortium E-Mutiara Bhd, 15 meter long buses & trying out a G series truck in the SCANIA driver's MCVE competition

During the Malaysian Commercial Vehicle Expo 2017, Scania Malaysia presented to the media a report on the future of transportation and what Scania is doing in Malaysia, the region and also as a whole. It was quite a relaxed session between Marie Sjödin Enström - MD of Scania SEA and a few of us. During the session she briefed us on how Scania is already gearing up for a future Malaysia that they foresee to be sustainable, smart, safe, fuel efficient, digitally connected and unmanned. Of course, this is more in relation to the future of the transport and logistics industry rather than for passenger cars. 

So in line with global and regional trends towards a sustainable and digital future of the transport industry, Scania has basically set a goal in which they intend to play a leading role in providing sustainable transport solutions. They have stated that they intend to improve their energy efficiency by applying alternative fuels, using electrification on their vehicles, creating cleaner emission vehicles and creating smarter as well as safer transport for everyone.

As for keeping the environment clean, Malaysia has a commitment to meet the greenhouse gas emissions reduction target of 45% by the year 2030. As of 2013, Malaysia was already at 43%, where our pollution index has actually been reduced from around 0.53 unit per GDP to 0.3 unit per GDP and continues to improve. This I believe is due to more use of cleaner petroleum fuels (note the use of Euro 4m petrol and Euro 5 diesel), the implementation of alternative power by TNB (solar panel farms) and other reduction in greenhouse gases throughout the country. It does look like Malaysia is a promising place to be living in, in terms of emissions control. 

Of course, let’s now see how Scania intends to provide more transport solutions over the next few years. 

One of the first items discussed was on fuel efficiency. Whilst the push for electrification and other alternative means of fuel, the current crop of internal combustion engines must still be looked into. This is so that there is a reduction of carbon emissions even prior to using any other forms of fuel for transport. Scania has already provided fuel efficiency solutions as part of its products and services. 

A good example is the Scania Vehicle Optimiser (SVO) software (which was on display at the MCVE 2017). This software can help its customers spec out a vehicle for the best in terms of fuel economy. Fuel consumption is one of the major costs in any transportation business so the SVO can assist in making a Scania customer have the best truck for the job in terms of fuel efficiency.

Scania’s choice for the optimum and efficient long haul or medium to heavy haulage truck is their G-Series truck (pictured above). This truck, whilst being easy to operate and easy to handle (I have driven at least two of these in the past few years) is a popular choice among long haul businesses for its comfort, storage and fuel efficiency benefits. Of course, sometime in 2016, the Scania G-series in Malaysia was upgraded slightly with a bigger cab size and more aerodynamics. The larger cabin allows more comfort for the driver (an important fact in reducing driver fatigue) and the aerodynamics actually help reduce drag which in turn reduces fuel consumption. 

They also displayed one of their newer Prime Movers – the slightly larger but a lot more aerodynamic R series (pictured above & below). The truck features many improvements in aero and actually has covered front and side skirting for optimised aero. It looked very impressive from any angle. According to Scania Malaysia, they are planning to bring in this looker of a truck.

Aside from just having the best vehicle for the job, Scania believes that the customer’s business needs are also analysed through the ScaniaTotal Operating Economy (TOE)calculator to help operators appreciate the difference between purchase cost and operating costs. The best profitability is even more achievable when coupled with Scania Maintenance and Scania Repair & Maintenance (as part of Scania Contracted Services), Scania Maintenance with Flexible Plans (which will come soon), Scania Assistance, Scania Fleet Management System, Scania Training & Coaching (part of Scania Driver Services), Scania Genuine Parts and Scania Financial Services. All provide a total transport package in terms of reliability, up-time and costs. This in turn also means more efficiency and less damaging use of fossil fuel resources in some ways.

And what all of these will do is pave the way towards the next step, which is - 

Alternative Fuels and Electrification

Alternative fuels and electrification solutions are already operational in many parts of the world. Some are being field tested by Scania themselves. These vehicles can already run on all alternative fuel from natural gas, bioethanol, biogas and biodiesel which has a proven track records of lowering CO2 emissions up to 90% while being as reliable as fossil fuels. 

Since Biodiesel and biogas is available in Malaysia now (our Palm oil based B10 diesel, even with some concerns by manufacturers is now available) and as Malaysia is a resource-rich country, there is opportunity for creating more jobs by developing the use of biofuels.

Whilst, biofuels answer an aspect of using sustainable energy as well as an alternative, Scania believes that a large part of our future lies in Electric vehicles. This is because electrification can lower emissions by up to 100% if running on renewable energy sources such as solar power (basically as long as there is a sun, there is energy to power solar panels which in turn give us electricity). In Sweden, Scania is already testing electric trucks on the world’s first electric road in Gavle and wireless charge buses in real life operations now in Stockholm, both for heavy applications. The company is basically ready when such changes happen in terms of alternative fuels and electrification of land based transport industries.

These improvements in fuel sources make Efficient, Smarter and Safer Transport and when you combine these aspects with.. 


It will accelerate the potential of existing solutions, as completely new avenues emerge such as the coordination and control of transport movements. Scania is applying digitalisation to accelerate progress towards sustainable transport movements featuring safe and efficient flows of goods and people. This gives more precise control over the whole operation. Control is always important when you want to transport goods or a large number of people.

For example, Scania One is a new digital platform for all connected services from Scania that will be coming to Malaysia. This system enables the already connected 250,000 vehicles around the world including nearly 1,000 in Malaysia to be operated in a smarter way and with higher safety standards.

Scania customers in Malaysia are already using Scania Fleet Management System where a set of services connects the vehicles with customers’ office through a communicator device to provide vehicle data, fleet position and reviews of driving performance. 

With such detailed information, it helps save money for customers as they can make decisions that cut fuel consumption, identify vehicles that are being driven in a suboptimal way and plan service schedules to reduce unplanned downtime. Vehicle and driver performance can save up to 10% (or even more) in fuel consumption if Scania Fleet Management is used together with Scania Driver Training and Coaching services. 

With drivers being one of the most important assets of a company, Scania driver training teaches them techniques that are aimed at immediately increasing fuel efficiency, road safety and sustainability, while significantly reducing downtime and operating costs.

Scania’s driver coaching programme meanwhile provides one-to-one driver coaching that paves the way to excellent driving habits and techniques help that reduce wear and tear, stress, fuel consumption while increasing comfort and road safety.

The Scania expert coaches use a driver’s data on coasting, idling and acceleration to provide smart analysis to increase safety and comfort and reduce fuel consumption and emissions. This is a holistic approach to transport. Every aspect should be looked into including the human aspect of things.

The confidence in the services was demonstrated by the signing between Scania and Konsortium E-Mutiara Bhd for Scania Driver Training and Coaching services for 175 drivers of the express bus service, which was represented by its Managing Director Haji Che Ibrahim Che Ismail (pictured above, 2nd from left). This is a good example of what could and needs to be done in to integrate all functions in a transport or logistic company for efficient transportation. 

Aside from talking about sustainable energy sources and the efficiency needed in the transport industry, Scania also briefed us about other matters. 

15-metre bus & coach chassis 

Also on display at the MCVE is a 15-metre bus and coach chassis from Scania that was shown to the Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Abdul Aziz Kaprawi. The first of its kind in Malaysia, it is part of a long bus field test to introduce buses that are longer than the current 12-metre buses in the country that Scania is working on together with the Ministry of Transport, Jabatan Pengangkutan Jalanraya, Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research and Universiti Teknologi MARA to field-test the feasibility of a more-than-12-metre higher capacity bus or coach chassis on Malaysian roads. 

Higher revenue for operators from increased passenger and luggage capacity and lower fuel consumption are the benefits that Malaysian operators can benefit from in order to increase productivity and profitability.

The unique thing about this bus/coach chassis is the fact that the construction of the bus differs from normal buses. It uses more of a monocoque type chassis rather than a traditional ladder frame or beam chassis used on buses. It allows for a lower floor which means added stability and easier loading of luggage as everything is built lower. 

Another interesting aspect of the 6x2 wheeled chassis is the fact that the rear most wheels are also steerable (see above). At low speeds, it will swing and assist the front wheels to turn thereby ensuring that the extra long bus would be more maneuverable in tight spots. It would feel quite close to a regular 12.5 meter bus rather than something longer. It may still not be useful in tight city streets but this service is good for long haul or for stretches where the routes are specific and without tight corners. The extra length allows more passengers, thereby increasing space utilisation and efficiency. 

It would be interesting if these sort of buses were allows to be used in Malaysia. We hope that after the rounds of testing, it would be road legal to operate these sorts of buses.

All of the items which was discussed above is about efficiency and sustainability in the commercial vehicle sector. However, in the very near future, even the driver may be out of the equation. This is when self-driving vehicles come into play. Scania, like every other large vehicle manufacturer are playing their part in the development of self-driving vehicles. 

Autonomous Vehicles

Scania has autonomous trucks running in mines and is planning similar trials with other applications such as platooning (convoy) autonomous trucks between ports. Driverless, automated and digitally connected, these smart unmanned vehicles are under supervision from a control tower to ensure the best efficiency and productivity. Why in mines? These are dangerous places for humans to be. So the best case would be to use artificial intelligence to pilot the vehicles in and out of the mine or quarry. It makes sense. Some say that piloting by remote control was the way, but why not having the vehicle drive itself?

“At Scania, we believe the eco-system of the transportation industry is already changing and will continue to change rapidly by 2023. Manufacturers, customers or operators, consumers of transportation and commercial vehicle drivers will shift their business model and lives tomorrow. Scania is already poised to meet this new and exciting shift in demands from the industry through sustainable transport solutions,” concluded Marie.

It is an inevitable, if it wasn’t Scania, other companies are hard at work researching so. Scania is playing their part in this like any other major player. It would be quite interesting to see how the near future pans out for all of us. I would imagine sometime in 2040 buses and trucks in most countries may be fully autonomous. This will be an era where the jobscope will be different and changing. It could be a time where a lot of actual work will be taken over by machines. 

Humans may spend their time given life wages, just to live. We can actually spend our time doing what we like rather than work for a living. If you like sewing clothes, or making sculptures or painting, you now have the time to pursue your interests. I do wonder how the whole game would be played once this happens. I do suppose companies like Scania will still be there to carry our supplies needed. But everything will eventually change in terms of working for a living. 

There is a shift in things happening. I suppose which is why Scania showed us their Shift Table concept at the MCVE 2017.

The Shift Table 

On display at MCVE is the Shift Table, which demonstrates how Scania is shifting together with global trends towards higher demand for sustainable transport solutions in order to enhance lives of people and offer the best profitability for our customers. 

Congestion, pollution, energy security and climate change affects not just the world but also here in Southeast Asia and especially in Malaysia. Scania has the technology of tomorrow, today to meet this demand. 

The Shift Table visualises the future of transportation by 2023 but the eco-system of transportation is already changing and will continue to change. They ride on major global trends like Urbanisation, Sustainability and Digitalisation. 

We also asked Scania what do they think about when the borders open up across Asia and whether it will affect the company. According to Marie, it shouldn’t affect them much as their systems are already in place. It would be the same system used in Europe where cross border transport is in use. 

In short, Scania is already gearing up for a future in Malaysia that is smart, safe, fuel efficient, digitally connected and unmanned.

The future is going to take us to many places in many different directions. We have sustainability, efficiency, urbanisation, automation and so many aspects to think about!

Of course, we did not just sit and listen to the talk or discuss about things, we actually had fun too.

Scania Driver Competition – Truck Simulator and MCVE Edition

Scania also gave visitors a taste of what it feels like to be a trucker at MCVE with the Scania Truck Simulator video game but most visitors also had the chance to try driving a real truck by registering to take part in the Scania Driver Competition – MCVE Edition and win prizes every two hours for being the best driver. 

We managed to try out the Driver Competition – MCVE Edition and it was actually quite tough to be precise. We had to knock down four red coloured poles. Each red pole was located between two blue poles at all corners a distance away from the truck we had to drive. We had to knock over the red poles without knocking the blue ones down and then we had to touch a blue pole right after that but not knock it down. It was just a nudge. 

The aim for this is all about precision driving. It was about finesse and not about power, which the truck had loads of it. 

It was a fun yet interestingly educational insight with Scania and the future at MCVE 2017.

Scania 15 meter bus chassis photos below

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