PowerTorque’s European Correspondent, Will Shiers, tells us sibling rivalry is alive and well at the Traton Group, he looks at their electric trucks – Scania vs MAN, examining the conflicting approaches to electrifying their heavy-duty truck ranges
“If you give two chefs the same ingredients, they will bake different tasting cakes,” said an MAN spokesman, when I asked him why there isn’t more parts commonality between its recently launched electric trucks and those of sibling Scania.
The analogy was made in Munich, Germany at the launch of its eTGS heavy distribution and eTGX long-haul trucks, just a week after Scania revealed its R- and S-series regional battery electric vehicles (BEVs). Knowing that both companies are part of the Traton Group, I had assumed that they would have similar approaches to electrifying their trucks, but in actual fact they’re poles apart.Scania 45 R BEV 4×2 Highline. (Image: Scania)
For starters, Scania has opted for nickel manganese cobalt (NMC) for its 104kWh batteries. Constructed in Northern Sweden by Northvolt, they’re billed by Scania as the world’s greenest batteries. It claims a key advantage to this chemistry is its ability to be charged repeatedly up to 100% without any impact to lifespan.
Consequently, Scania says they’re good for 1.5 million km. NMC batteries use rare earth metals, which makes them expensive, but according to Scania this has an advantage when the vehicle reaches its end of life, where a business case for recycling will exist. In total, six of them (624kWh) are mounted on the outside of the truck’s redesigned e-chassis rails.
MAN on the other hand sources cells and modules for its lithium ion batteries from CATL. The Chinese manufacturer produces them in eastern Germany, while MAN assembles the actual batteries at a plant in Nuremberg. It has 6,000 of these batteries on the road in the 1,000 electric buses it has already produced.Image: Scania
Although MAN’s 80kWh batteries are all chemically identical, they vary in size. This is because MAN, unlike Scania, has designed two of them to fit directly beneath the cab, in place of the engine and gearbox. Further batteries (you can have up to six in total, giving a maximum output of 480kWh), are positioned along the chassis. Whether you opt for three, four, five or six batteries, there will always be a pair of them under the cab.
MAN says locating them here has numerous advantages, one being favourable weight distribution. By moving them forwards, there is less chance of overloading the drive axle. MAN cites the truck’s comparatively short wheelbase as another positive. Unlike its Swedish sibling, whose 4×2 electric prime movers have a whopping 4,150mm wheelbase in order to accommodate the batteries, MAN’s is just 3,750mm. This is only 150mm greater than an equivalent diesel-powered prime mover. MAN claims that this is the shortest on the market, and says it means customers can pull their existing trailer portfolio without breaching European length limits.
Additionally, by changing the shape of the batteries to fit the truck, MAN has been able to retain its existing chassis on both prime movers and rigids, which it says was a conscious decision to appease bodybuilders.