DHL Freight and Volvo Trucks want to jointly drive forward the introduction of purely electric heavy trucks for regional transport in Europe. In a pilot project in Sweden, a Volvo electric truck will be tested over longer distances.
The joint project involves the world’s first use of an all-electric Volvo FH electric semi-trailer with a combined gross weight of up to 60 tonnes, which will run between two DHL Freight logistics terminals in Sweden from March this year. The route runs between the Swedish cities of Gothenburg and Jönköping with a distance of 150 kilometres.
During this test phase, Volvo and DHL expect to gain valuable insights and information on the setup and operation of an appropriate charging infrastructure. The data collected in the pilot project should determine an ideal balance between distance, loading and charging points in daily road transport.
Volvo already has FL Electric and Volvo FE Electric truck models for distribution in urban areas in series production. For this Swedish project, the two companies are using an electric semi-trailer called the Volvo FH. DHL and Volvo Trucks have not provided any technical data on this vehicle as yet, only that the 60-tonne semi-trailer is apparently supposed to cover the distance of 150 kilometres without intermediate charging. The truck will be charged at DHL in Jönköping and at the Volvo Truck Centre in Gothenburg.
Volvo Trucks had announced in November 2020 that aimed to offer an electric version on all models. At that time, it was also said that an electric truck “for demanding and heavy-duty long-haul tasks” would follow in this decade.
DHL Freight, a division of Deutsche Post DHL says it is already quite active in Sweden with zero-emission activities and says it has already introduced a climate-friendly shipping program in Sweden. The DHL Freight division says that income generated from the surcharges of this program are fully invested in clean technologies within the Swedish network. Deutsche Post DHL is one of the founding members of EV100 committed to pioneering the decarbonisation of corporate fleets globally.
Uwe Brinks, CEO at DHL Freight says: “Our aim is to reduce all logistics-related emissions to zero. Important milestones have already been achieved in meeting this: compared to 2007, our Group’s CO2 efficiency has improved by 35%. However, we need innovative technological solutions and strong partnerships along this journey. I’m confident that our strong cooperation with Volvo Trucks, one of the major truck brands in the world, will support us in achieving our ambitious environmental goals in the road freight sector.”
Internationally the freight transport sector internationally is lagging behind other transport sectors because of the lack of road-based zero-emission, long-distance vehicles, and longer-distance shipping vessels as well as the required hydrogen refuelling or electricity charging infrastructure for either case. This is currently a very dynamically-changing landscape that has seen enormous development in the last 12 months. For example, Hyundai announced its international market strategy with zero-emission long-haul fuel cell trucks and are already going to market in the USA, China and Europe. Better late than never, at the end of last year, Volvo and Daimler partnered up with a joint venture to focus on fuel cell trucking solutions. On the battery-electric semi-trailer front, of course, Tesla says it will be starting volume production of its battery-electric Semi next year.
“Our commitment is that our entire truck sales range will be fossil-free by 2040 at the latest,” says Roger Alm, CEO of Volvo trucks. It seems to keep up with the competition, the Swedish company will have to speed up.
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