An announcement by Volvo Trucks this week sees electric trucks heading further up the weight scale. Many efforts so far are in the local distribution field, but longer distances are now being contemplated.
Volvo recently started sales of electric trucks for urban transport, but the truck maker says it believes that electrification can become a competitive alternative also for heavier trucks. To explore and demonstrate the possibilities, Volvo Trucks has developed electric concept trucks for construction operations and regional distribution.
“We see great potential for heavy-duty electric trucks for regional transport and construction in the longer term,” said Roger Alm, President Volvo Trucks. “With our concept trucks, we aim to explore and demonstrate different solutions for the future while evaluating the level of interest in the market and in society.
“To increase demand for electrified trucks, the charging infrastructure needs to be rapidly expanded, while stronger financial incentives must be created for hauliers who act as pioneers by choosing new vehicles with a lower environmental and climate footprint.”
Heavy duty electric trucks can help improve the work environment for drivers and construction workers thanks to low noise level and zero exhaust emissions during operation. The latter will have a significant and positive effect on air quality in cities with many ongoing construction projects.
Due to the lack of noise disturbance, these trucks also make it possible to perform transport operations for more hours per day which opens up new possibilities for streamlining operations, for instance in large construction projects and for transports in and around cities.
A reduction of the overall climate impact of the transport sector is possible by using heavy electric vehicles in regional distribution. The majority of goods distribution by truck within the EU is regional.
“In Europe there is an enormous number of trucks used for regional goods transport that have an average annual mileage of 80,000 km,” said Lars Mårtensson, Director Environment and Innovation, Volvo Trucks. “This means that increased use of electric vehicles for regional distribution would result in significant climate gains, provided the electricity is fossil-free.”
Volvo Trucks’ plan for electric heavy-duty trucks for construction and regional distribution is to start by having selected customers in Europe pilot a small number of future electric vehicles, as electric trucks heading further up the weight scale. More extensive commercialisation will follow at a later point.
The trucks in the pipeline so far include:
- Volvo FL Electric and Volvo FE Electric. Both these trucks are all-electric and intended, for instance, for local distribution and refuse handling in urban environments.
- Volvo FH LNG and Volvo FM LNG. The Volvo FH for heavy duty long-haul operations and the Volvo FM for heavy duty regional transport run on liquefied natural gas or biogas.
- Volvo FE CNG. Volvo FE for compressed natural gas or biogas is intended for local distribution and refuse handling.