There’s a race nowadays between companies to develop the perfect vehicle for an electric and autonomous future, and the competition is not restricted only to automakers.
Truck and bus makers are also part of the race and VW Group-owned Scania has an interesting vision for the future of urban mobility. It’s called the NXT Concept and it’s a new battery electric self-driving urban vehicle designed with a highly flexible component in mind.
Scania believes future vehicles of this kind need to have the flexibility to do as many activities as possible. For example, they can ferry commuters to and from work in mornings and evenings, deliver goods during the day, and collect refuse at night.
That’s exactly what NXT is designed for and its party piece is the modular system which allows it to change shape for varying urban assignments. More specifically, the front and rear drive modules can be fitted to a bus body, a distribution truck body or a refuse collector.
The bus module is eight meters (315 inches) long and weighs less than eight tonnes (17,637 pounds) thanks to its construction as one composite unit. The cylindrical cell batteries are placed under the floor, contributing to better weight distribution while utilizing otherwise unused space. Scania estimates the NXT self-driving bus can cover 245 kilometers (152 miles) on a single charge using present-day batteries.
“NXT is a vision of the future for transport in cities. Several of these technologies have yet to fully mature but for us, it’s been important to actually build a concept vehicle to visibly and technically demonstrate ideas of what is within reach,” said Scania’s President and CEO Henrik Henriksson. “NXT is designed for 2030 and beyond while incorporating several cutting-edge features that are already available,” the executive added.
We have to admit this is a very interesting idea for optimizing transport flow in cities, with Scania proposing a holistic approach that could reduce traffic congestion as well as make the transport of people and goods more flexible and efficient.
“We at Scania can’t redraw the entire transport system for cities. What we can do is inspire change and that is the idea behind NXT – to think about transport and vehicles in a different and sustainable way,” says Henriksson.