Raw Talk episode 1: Shaun "Wattie" Watts


In this video, The Ed climbs into the cab of a 2016 Scania R620 en route from Christchurch to Nelson, via Lewis Pass.

The Scania is a formidable piece of machinery. With 620 horsepower from the Scania V8 (730hp version is also available) underfoot and a 14-speed GRSO905R transmission with two-pedal Opticruise automated gear shift system delivering all that power through 3.67 ratio, RBP735/RP735 hub reduction diffs, this rig is specced to handle the company’s time-critical freight fast and efficiently.

Also becoming commonplace in the latest Scanias are the huge technological leaps that have reared their heads over the past few years. In the case of the rig I am travelling in today, one such feature is the Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC). Unlike your regular cruise control, this system uses sensors to automatically adjust the speed of the truck so that it follows at a safe distance behind the vehicle ahead.

Another feature is the five-stage braking retarder, which Wattie says is very effective—so effective that during our trip from Christchurch to my drop-off point in Nelson, he tells me he touched the truck brakes only a handful of times.

Mid-way through our discussion Wattie shakes his head as two cars fly past the truck in a less than clever passing manoeuvre as a passing lane merges back into the main highway. Out of nowhere, a set of ‘blue and reds’ appear and pursues the two offending vehicles, pulling them over a bit further up the road, justice for one being close at hand.

Read the full article in issue #278 of Deals on Wheels magazine (on sale 10 October 2016).

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