Trucks, Volvo

The Electric Trucks from Volvo

The Electric Trucks from Volvo

The choice in the range of the electric trucks from Volvo start with the FL Electric, which is a rigid 4×2 with a choice of three of four batteries, giving the truck either 280 or 375kWh of energy storage to power its single electric motor with a two speed transmission.

According to Volvo, this equated to a top range of 450km. However, this stated range is one of the important variables, with driving style, load and speed all making a major difference in actual real world operation.

The FE model is available both as a 4×2 and a 6×2 and comes with the same battery options as the FL. However, this model uses two electric motors to handle the higher masses and is limited to an estimated 300km range by Volvo.

The newer kids on the block are the genuine heavies, starting with the FM Electric, available as a prime mover, which uses five or six batteries, with a 450 or 540 kWh capacity, which offers a 300km range (with the usual caveats). This model uses three electric motors coupled together with a standard iShift gearbox, which puts out up to 490kW (666hp) of motive power.

There is an FMX also available with the same basic specs, but with construction industry ready fixtures and fittings. The FH is also on offer in an electric guise with the same basic driveline configuration as the FM and the same energy storage capacity.

Image: Volvo Trucks/Supplied

All of these models are air suspended on every axle and will be able to access the extra mass allowances on the front axle which are going on trial in some of the Eastern states. However, there will be no extra allowance on overall GCM, so the higher tare weights of these trucks will mean payload will be somewhat compromised on these initial models.

Charging times vary between types of charger and the capacity of the batteries to take charge. On the FL and FE it will be possible to charge the four battery model in 16.8 hours using a 22kW AC charger or 2.3 hours with a 150kW DC charger. Those numbers on the heavier trucks come out at 9.5 hours with a 43kW AC charger, or 2.5 hours with a 250kW DC charger.

In essence, with this initial group of trucks from Volvo, which amount to a full range, this is the electrification of the existing diesel powered range, with an electric motor replacing the diesel engine and the battery packs replacing the fuel tanks.

We can expect the next generation, which will be coming through in the next number of years to represent a substantial step forward from this initial offering. By then the Volvo e-axle will be a reality, combining the motor, transmission and differential in one package. It was on show at the IAA in Hanover last year and its inclusion in the design will radically effect the next generation’s design and capabilities.

Going with an e-axle assembly which also includes the electric motor and transmission will free up considerable space between the chassis rails to allow for more flexibility with design and layout, it will also build in more weight distribution flexibility for the truck’s designers.


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