Trucks, Volvo

The First Electric Contender for ToYA

The First Electric Contender for ToYA

In an industry where the diesel engine was king, we now have a set of alternative power systems vying to take us into the future, and the first electric contender for ToYA. Diesel is not going to be able to deliver on the lower carbon emissions the world is looking for, right now.

The electric truck is going to be the first alternative to make an impact, and this has already happened with the heavy duty models from Volvo winning the International Truck of the Year gong in Lyon, France, last November.

This truck is clearly an interim solution for the Swedish brand, but it is an effective one which works well and is part of the first wave of heavy duty electric trucks to arrive on the Australasian truck markets.

We can expect alternatively fuelled trucks to become more important in our truck markets, and therefore, appear more in the Truck of the Year Australasia consideration, year-on-year. The market is changing, slowly but surely and this award will also be changing, as the emphasis shifts away from fossil fuels towards all of the zero carbon solutions which keep popping up around the world.

Image: Prime Creative Media

When looking at the contenders for the Truck of the Year Australasia, it was important to look at some of the new technologies coming through and see if there are any, which have reached the point where they look like they are going to be effective and have arrived in the kind of numbers to effect a change to Australasian trucking

With the launch of the Volvo, heavy duty electric truck range late in 2023, the Australasian transport industry can see a viable alternative option on a model which is already one of the top selling trucks. The Volvo heavy duty range has been effective and grown in Australasian markets, now the company is offering a zero carbon emissions alternative to the current diesel range.

Two members of the ToYA jury got a chance to test drive a Volvo FH Electric at the end of 2023. This is a fully electric truck and one which will effectively change the emissions effect of the freight task, but it is an interim technology. This is not going to be the final product which Volvo will be offering to the market in the long-term as a zero carbon emissions alternative.

Image: Prime Creative Media

The first trucks to arrive are aimed at single semitrailer work available to run up to 44 tonnes, with the three electric motors providing 666 hp. Volvo will be making these trucks in the Wacol production plant in Brisbane by 2027. The reality of electric trucks, by that time, will have arrived.

The space reserved for the SCR unit and fuel tanks is where the designers have situated as many batteries as practical. The eternal issue with electric vehicles is range, and the more battery capacity the better.

This FH model has an overall battery capacity of between 450 and 540kWh, depending on whether five or six batteries are fitted. Although plenty of batteries provide range they also also provide a lot of extra mass when compared to the original diesel design. This does create issues for some operations and the option of only five batteries may limit range to a certain extent, but should enable the operator to get better payload capacity.


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