After Volvo Trucks recently started selling electric trucks for urban traffic, the manufacturer now plans to introduce heavy electric vehicles for construction and regional distribution and has developed two concept trucks.
These are a four-axle tip truck and a semi-trailer tractor. Volvo Trucks has not yet mentioned any technical details. The company plans to initially deliver the vehicles in small quantities to selected customers in Europe and says that a more comprehensive market launch will take place at a later date.
Although some experts and companies prefer fuel cell solutions for heavy trucks, Volvo Trucks also believes in battery-electric models in this class. Only in November did the Swedes start selling the FL Electric and FE Electric electric models in selected European markets.
Volvo says it is convinced that battery-electric solutions can also be a competitive alternative for more massive trucks. “We see great potential for heavy-duty electric trucks for regional transport and construction in the longer term,” says Roger Alm, President of 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 society,” he explains.
Volvo has not yet provided any information on the concepts’ drive technology. Still, the new models will use the cabin bodyshell of the (LNG) FH models from Volvo’s long-distance transport range. Nevertheless, the new concepts are not intended as electric long-range transport vehicles, but rather for regional use. “In Europe, there is an enormous number of trucks used for regional goods transport that have an average annual mileage of 80,000 km,” says Lars Mårtensson, Director of Environmental Protection and Innovation at 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,” he extrapolates.
Heavy-duty electric vehicles can improve the working environment for drivers and construction workers due to the low noise level and the absence of emissions during operation. The quiet e-vehicles could be used in cities for more extended periods of the day without disturbing residents, which would increase operating hours for companies. Despite this economic effect, Roger Alm still sees a need for subsidies to help electric trucks make their breakthrough. “To increase demand for electrified trucks, the charging infrastructure needs to be rapidly expanded,” says the Volvo Trucks President. “while stronger financial incentives must be created for hauliers who act as pioneers by choosing new vehicles with a lower environmental and climate footprint,” he insists.
Mårtensson also agrees. “Financial incentives are necessary to induce more hauliers to invest in electric vehicles. Transport buyers can also contribute by offering longer contracts and being more willing to pay for sustainable transports. Many haulage operators have very small margins, so every new investment must be profitable,” explains Mårtensson.
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