Stig delivers: transporting TG's Speed Week contenders to the Gotlandring | Top Gear
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Speed Week 2023

Stig delivers: transporting TG's Speed Week contenders to the Gotlandring

Getting the cars to Gotland in one piece required some out the box thinking...

Published: 06 Nov 2023

We had a plan. Transport all the cars using electric trucks. It’s becoming more feasible these days and a great way of cutting our carbon emissions. Scania stepped up, offering us its prototype electric tractor units to pull car transporter trailers. Stig was lined up to drive. Clearly couldn’t wait to get started.

But it turns out trucks aren’t as simple as towing a trailer behind your car. Car transporters need complicated, bespoke connectors and systems to manage the trailers – they’re entirely integrated. Which meant we were unable to use not only the electric truck, but also Scania’s new plug-in hybrid truck. Instead transport specialist MenaKlars stepped in with its Scania trucks that are able to run on both diesel and HVO (hydrotreated vegetable oil). Mostly diesel for this return trip.

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The cars, plus spare tyres and more, were loaded at Dunsfold and less than three days later, arrived at the Gotlandring. As a compare and contrast out in Sweden Scania lined up both its PHEV and electric (see below) trucks. That was fascinating. Stig tolerated a lap in the PHEV before carving through the traffic and demanding the keys to the Atom 4R, leaving the rest of us to have a go. The Scania R360 hybrid features a 90kWh battery that yields a range of around 40 miles. Very load dependent, obviously. Super simple to operate, a button on the dash turns the ICE engine on or off and you’re ready to hit the road. Or track. Viewing the Gotlandring from three metres above the ground gave us a fresh perspective. Which is what electric promises to bring to the haulage market.

Photography: John Wycherley, Olgun Kordal & Mark Riccioni


Driving Scania's BEV truck

The numbers are always bigger with trucks. The Scania 45 R/S 450 has a 624kWh battery pack. With only seven tonnes of load onboard the 15-tonne truck, the range indicator was showing nearly 500 miles. Even at its gross weight of 64 tonnes it can still do 150 miles. Then charge at 375kW on one of Gotlandring’s record-breaking 600kW chargers.

But that’s not what’s most remarkable about it. Even compared to the R360 PHEV the silence and smoothness of this tri-motor, 600bhp Scania is remarkable. It’s silky to drive, more isolating and comfortable than any Rolls-Royce. Three levels of air suspension, that’s what you need. The chassis is suspended on the wheels, the cab is suspended on the chassis, and the seats are suspended in the cab. The level of isolation is total. Made us all want to be truckers. The future’s looking bright. 

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