Volvo Trucks starts this month with the practical testing of an all-electric transport solution for the construction industry. Two heavy trucks will be delivered to the Scandinavian company Swerock.
As part of the tests, a Volvo FM electric truck equipped with a mixer will deliver concrete for Swerock. Also, a Volvo FMX electric truck equipped with a roll-off tipper will be used in larger infrastructure projects. In addition to analyzing the performance of the actual vehicles, the tests also focus on charging infrastructure as a whole.
The background to the decision to develop the all-electric construction vehicles is that the reduction of noise and emissions is increasingly demanded, especially in conurbations. One example is Switzerland: there, the new procurement law will come into force on January 01, 2021, which stipulates that public funds must be used in an ecologically and socially sustainable manner – which could have consequences for public construction projects and the construction machinery used in them. Volvo announced its position on heavy electric trucks months ago. The company was convinced “that electric mobility can be a competitive alternative even for heavier trucks”.
Nevertheless, according to Volvo Trucks, it is not enough to add a body for the construction industry to an existing vehicle – Volvo is already building the FL Electric and FE Electric for urban distribution and waste management in series. “Trucks in the construction segment typically require more power and robustness than many other segments, and electric trucks are no exception,” says Jonas Odermalm, VP of Volvo Trucks’ electric mobility division. “Field tests and customer collaborations are important to the development process.”
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The tests with Swerock will examine aspects such as noise reduction, construction site safety and driver comfort, next to the previously mentioned charging options. Swerock was not chosen at random; the company already has experience with alternative drives. “We already have 15 hybrid concrete mixer trucks, and through this project, we are now testing vehicles that run completely on electricity,” says Hans Orest, Swerock’s department manager.
According to the manufacturer, testing the two electrically driven trucks under real conditions will allow an assessment to be made of how the vehicles will be used and what improvements are needed for wider implementation. “These type of tests are valuable for helping us to understand the customers’ operations better and how electrification would impact them on a day-to-day basis in terms of driving cycles, load capacity, uptime, range and other parameters – and with all the benefits of using quieter, cleaner transport,” says Ebba Bergbom Wallin, Business Manager for Electromobility at Volvo Trucks.
Volvo Trucks does not provide technical data on the drives in the two vehicles or a timeframe for possible series production.
With reporting by Sebastian Schaal, Germany.