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16/03/2021
Big rigs revamp the look

Technological development

 

As sustainable power-units are still in the pipeline, diesel trucks will continue to circulate for some time. However, manufacturers are continuously improving performance and fuel consumption in an attempt to reduce the environmental impact and increase efficiency as evidenced by the latest Scania, the “low cost” Ford and the completely renewed Man range

Massimo Condolo

The world of heavy trucks is not just focusing on full electric systems and hydrogen. That is the future and all top manufacturers are looking into it, showcasing prototypes that will quickly become the standard before the end of the decade. Today's vehicles, however, still run on diesel, albeit with very low emissions, and the latest innovations are proof of this.

 

Scania, new record

Huge power has always been a prerogative of the Swedes in this sector. Scania is raising the bar where few others dare to go, 770 hp. The latest version of the new V8 engine will allow its heavy-duty trucks to tow exceptional loads without problems on difficult terrain and to maintain respectable average speeds on steep roads, but you can bet that choosing a model like this will also depend on key elements such as pride and passion. Over the years, the V8 from Södertälje, first introduced in 1969 on the Scania 140, has become an icon that is hard to remove from the first place among the most desired engines. Behind the constant evolution that has accompanied Scania's eight-cylinder unit over the last fifty years is a keen interest in improving energy performance: in fact, the latest version of the eight cylinder boasts a 6% reduction in fuel consumption compared to the super-powerful engine it replaces, which delivered "only" 730 hp. This was made possible by the adoption of a new automatic gearbox, redesigned from scratch, despite the “old” name: Opticruise. Not only does it reduce consumption, it also offers more efficient and smooth gear changes. The new V8 range now includes a 530, 590, 660 and 770hp versions available.

 

Man, great news across the board

The German producer renewed both its medium and heavy-duty ranges (TGL, TGM, TGS and TGX - the latter has just been named Truck of the year 2020) in a single stroke, under the banner of safety and energy efficiency, at the core of the company’s path towards innovation and underlined by the adjective "Efficient". On the outside, designers have focused on the rear-view mirrors (which remain traditional, no mirror-cam!) and new side design to improve air flow; they have also revisited all the aerodynamic features such as spoilers, fenders and deflectors and updated the look of the front grille to underline that this is a new generation. As soon as the cab door is opened, the driver will find, on his line of sight, several Easy Control panel on the driver’s door (functions will be assigned in the workshop). These allow, for example, to open the door on the opposite side of the cab, start the engine or the PTO - all operations that previously required climbing into the driver's seat, something made simpler by the newly designed steps. The dashboard design in all models is now similar to the heavy-duty TGS and TGX, with a rational and ergonomic layout of the controls. The same concept has been applied to the instrument panel, which is divided into functional zones and can be configured to select essential information and not distract the driver from keeping his eyes on the road. Many of the main controls are located on the spokes of the steering wheel, the latter also being redesigned. The comprehensive on-board infotainment system has a control knob to scroll through and select all needed functions, following a scheme borrowed from high-end German sedans. On the powertrain, the most important news is the slimming down of one of the most popular engines, the 12.4-litre D26, which weighs 70 kg less than its predecessor. This means an increase in load capacity or, with the same load, a decrease in consumption. Precisely in order to reduce consumption, the engine has been revised and now "drinks" 8.6% less than its predecessor, obviously with the same power and workload. The gearbox is now controlled by a single lever on the right-hand side of the steering wheel entrusted with managing the choice of shifting strategy; every vehicle offers at least three.

Idle Speed Driving brings the engine to idle when cruising speed is reached and resumes acceleration when it drops below a set minimum. Power, gives priority to power delivery, shifting to a higher gear above maximum torque. Manoeuvre, is made for very low speed movements where driving precision is essential. Stop and Go, automatically stops and restarts during traffic delays. Furthermore, the use of a longer axle ratio has reduced engine speed by 100 rpm at the same speed. On the new Man, the Lion Individual program not only allows you to choose from an extensive catalogue of cab colours and equipment, but also to set up the chassis according to the equipment to be installed, such as the arrangement of certain elements of the chassis or the exact length of the wires. The Man Essentials telematic software provides the fleet manager with all the data available on the Can-Bus and geolocation. Finally, the 100% electric eTGM medium-sized vehicle is now in production, albeit in small experimental batches.

 

Ford Trucks, economical and robust

After the long-distance flagship F-Max, the multi-purpose Legacy produced by Otosan, Ford's Turkish subsidiary, is now ready to tackle Italian roads. Born in 1981 as Ford Cargo, the truck quickly became a world truck, sold in five continents first as a medium and medium-heavy truck and then as a heavy multi-purpose, always keeping the 2200 mm wide cab with the lower window for roadside control, one of its distinctive features. The Legacy offers updated safety equipment and modern engines designed and produced by Ford-Otosan as Euro 6. These are a 330-hp nine-litre and a 420 or 480 twelve cylinder (the same that pushes the F-Max), paired with the latest generation ZF automated transmissions (Ecotronic the 330-hp, Traxon the other two). The chassis comes in three ranges (distribution, construction site and road tractors), with 4x2, 6x2, 8x2, 6x4 and 8x4 axle configurations.

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