Hot on the heels of Tesla, Volvo Trucks has introduced its first all-electric truck for commercial use – the Volvo FL Electric. Mainly targeted at urban areas, it’s ideally suited to cargo transport at night and early mornings, due to its low noise output.
“We’re immensely proud to present the first in a range of fully electrically-powered Volvo trucks ready for regular traffic. With this model we are making it possible for cities that aim for sustainable urban development to benefit from the advantages of electrified truck transports,” says Claes Nilsson, President Volvo Trucks.
With better air quality and less noise in the city, it is possible to plan for housing and infrastructure more freely than at present. An electric truck without any exhaust emissions can be used in indoor terminals and environmental zones. Their low noise level creates opportunities for doing more work at night, thus reducing the burden on the roads during the day.
There is considerable market interest in electric trucks. Many potential customers have questions about the opportunities generated by the new technology and how it can impact their operations.
In order to make the transition secure and smooth, Volvo will offer holistic solutions based on each customer’s individual needs regarding driving cycles, load capacity, uptime, range and other parameters. Such a solution may encompass everything from route analysis and battery optimisation to servicing and financing. Volvo Trucks is also working closely with several suppliers of charging equipment to offer customers high uptime and ensure ongoing productivity.
Backing the Volvo Trucks offer is the Volvo Group’s accumulated expertise in electrified transport solutions. Sister company Volvo Buses has sold more than 4,000 electrified buses since 2010. The technology used for propulsion and energy storage in the Volvo FL Electric has been thoroughly tried and tested from the outset and is supported by Volvo Trucks’ far-reaching network for sales, service and parts supply.
“From experience we know how important it is that cities, energy suppliers and vehicle manufacturers cooperate in order for large-scale electrification to become a reality. With attractive incentives, agreed standards and a long-term strategy for urban planning and expansion of the charging infrastructure, the process can go much faster,” explains Jonas Odermalm.
Volvo Trucks believes that it is essential to take a holistic view of electrification of the transport sector to handle the ongoing challenges in areas such as electricity generation and batteries.
“For instance, in order to ensure that raw materials for the batteries are extracted in a responsible way, the Volvo Group works with the Drive Sustainability network, which has a special function that monitors this issue. The Volvo Group is also involved in various projects where batteries from heavy electric vehicles get a second lease of life, reused for energy storage. All the questions about handling of batteries have not yet been solved, but we are working actively both within the Group and together with other actors to drive development and create the necessary solutions,” says Jonas Odermalm.
Battery recharging time from empty to fully charged (on fast charge) is 1-2 hours and trucks can also be charged overnight for up to 10 hours. With a range of up to 300 km the first two Volvo FL Electric trucks will be operated by refuse collection and recycling company Renova and haulage firm TGM.
The Off Peak City Distribution project studied the effects of goods transport at night in central Stockholm. By avoiding peak hour traffic the trucks were able to do their jobs in one-third of the time compared to daytime operation.