Scania P450 Euro 6 truck review

By: Matt Wood


Green Scania P450 Euro 6 dressed in orange livery features both exhaust gas recirculation and selective catalytic reduction

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TNT Australia just received five Scania P450 Euro 6 prime movers that will work double shifts of metro pickup and delivery during the daylight hours and regional freight runs at night.

Euro 6 regulations mean that nitrogen oxide needs to be reduced by one fifth from current Euro 5 levels.

Particulate also needs to be reduced to satisfy Euro 6 as well. In most cases this means that the engine requires a combination of the EGR and SCR.

That said, Scania and Iveco both have Euro 6 compliant engines that use SCR only.

EGR gets a bad rap from a lot of operators that have been stung by their association with this technology.

However, in a Euro 6 application the EGR system is working at a much reduced flow rate as the SCR system is chipping in to help as well.

Weight and fuel consumption are a concern for some, yet Scania claims that this Euro 6 engine will equal if not better it’s Euro 5 equivalent.

TNT Australia is no stranger to cleaner and greener technologies boasting one of the biggest hybrid fleets in the country.

"We already run Australia’s largest hybrid truck fleet, and a recent four-year internal study found that our 30 hybrid trucks have emitted 112 fewer tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere than comparable diesel-powered trucks over that period," TNT national fleet and equipment manager Kurt Grossrieder says.

"Recently we commissioned another 24 hybrid trucks to further reduce our total output of greenhouse gases while using less fuel, which is a positive step for TNT and the environment."

TNT has also been conducting its own CNG trial with its Canberra-based fleet.

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Engine

These Scania units use a 13-litre 6-cylinder that relies on both exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) and selective catalytic reduction (SCR) to reduce emissions.

This engine is touted to be a rather torquey little unit with peak torque at 2,350Nm (1,733lb/ft) from 1,000rpm to 1,300rpm.

The engine is backed by Scania’s Opticruise 14-speed (12+2) automated transmission.

It’s easy to get caught up in the apparent complexity of the new engine but from behind the wheel there’s little difference.

EGR can be somewhat of a dirty word in heavy-duty trucking these days and evokes painful memories for those that have had to deal with blown variable-geometry turbochargers (VGTs), dicky EGR valves, failing engine fans and raised engine temperatures in the past.

However, it is worth noting while Euro 6 engines do use EGR it is at a much reduced flow rate than a Euro 5 EGR-only engine.

Basically the SCR system does all of the heavy lifting, the EGR system sweeps up afterwards.

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Performance

On the eve of these new trucks joining the TNT fleet in Melbourne we had the opportunity to take a Scania P450 Euro 6 for a spin at its typical working weight.

There were a couple of firsts here for us, the first real world drive of a Euro 6 truck on the road and the first time I’d dragged a B-double as with Scania’s P-series.

Our bright-orange combination tipped the scales at 46 ton gross, a typical TNT B-double working weight. There were a couple of unique TNT aspects to the truck aside from the colour.

First, the company had specified the low-to-the-ground P cab and, second, the fitment of a very meaty staircase and handrail to the driver’s side of the prime mover chassis.

It’s very clear from just looking at the Scania P450 Euro 6 everything has been about making the drivers life safer and easier in a multi trailer drop situation.

The stairs also stop drivers from climbing onto a very hot after-treatment box to gain access to the chassis.

Our test route took us on a return trip from Laverton to Ballarat, a distance of 221 km.

With the engine fired up, I pointed our combination at the Western Highway and Ballarat.

As we got going, I fell into my usual habit of over steering the P-series until I really settled into it. The direct response from a turn of the wheel takes a little getting used to.

But the engine and Opticruise automated manual transmission (AMT) worked well as a team to get the big orange bus up to highway speed and heading west.

The P-series bopped along quietly until we hit the bottom of the Pentland Hills just west of Bacchus Marsh. This drag makes the best of them work, so I was interested to see how the little 13-litre Scania pulled up the long grade.

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The Opticruise tranny was quick to say goodbye to overdrive before holding on to the next couple of gears and making the most of the engine’s 1,733ft-lb (2,350Nm) of torque. 

Torque peaks from 1,000 to 1,300rpm in typically European fashion so it’s no surprise that I crested the grade in ninth gear with the tacho needle bang on 1,300rpm.

Rolling down into Pykes Creek gave the retarder a workout before it was again time to pull. Again, the P-series dropped overdrive quickly and set about dragging up the hill in eighth gear with the tacho again at 1,300rpm.

I deliberately left the cruise control and hill descent control alone as I wanted to get a feel for this new engine and despite its modest size, the DC13 had a red-hot go and wasn’t afraid to work, something I’d expect to improve as the truck gets some kilometres under its belt.

Okay it’s no 730hp (544kW) V8, but considering its working weight and the role it’s expected to play within the company, the DC13 seems to have more than enough grunt on tap. It’s a torquey little unit.

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Fuel economy

We rolled back into Laverton and I backed the double up to the dealership fence.

Over 221km I’d averaged 54.7 litres per 100km or 1.82km/l, which I reckon is not too shabby for a brand spanking new truck towing a couple of trailers.

Cab and Controls

Line-haul flagships usually grab all the attention in the stables of any big OEM, but I often find the sweetest combination for the Euro manufacturers is the smallest cab with the biggest engine.

As a local yokel, the P-series prime mover is a nice little option with excellent cab entry. It’s also a very nice steerer, which makes cranking two trailers into a tight dock quite a bit easier.

Steer axle weights and fuel capacity aren’t a big issue for TNT trucks and our P450 was loaded to a typical TNT B-double weight of 46,000kg gross.

One neat little addition to this P-series was a staircase complete with handrail to access the catwalk behind the cab. It was even on the right side of the truck.

As these prime movers will be hooking up and dropping off trailers constantly throughout the working day any thing that makes getting to the Suzi coils behind the cab easier and safer is a good thing in my book.

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Verdict

From a performance perspective the P450 is a nice little rig and one that is well at home as a metro trailer shunter.

Whether or not you buy into the whole emissions debate it’s nice to know that the world won’t end when or if Euro 6 lobs into Australia. In the meantime, it will be up to companies such as TNT to invest in cleaner, efficient engine technology on our behalf.

 

Specifications

Make/model: Scania P450 Euro 6

Engine: 12.7-litre 6 cylinder DC13 with SCR and EGR

Power/torque: 450hp (331kW) / 2,350Nm 

Transmission: 14-speed Opticruise AMT

Tare weight (WET): 9,355kg

GVM: 60,000kg

 

 

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