Volvo Trucks launches electric truck production in Ghent
Volvo Trucks is starting series production of electric trucks at its Belgian plant in Ghent, specifically with the three heavy-duty models FH Electric, FM Electric and FMX Electric. Ghent is the fourth Volvo Trucks plant to produce battery-electric trucks.
Brief review: It all started in Blainville, France, where Volvo began building electric trucks for waste management and urban distribution in 2019. A year later, the company’s US site in New River Valley started the series production of the VNR Electric, designed for regional transport. Then, about a year ago, series production of the FH Electric, FM Electric and FMX Electric started in Gothenburg, Sweden.
With the plant in Ghent, Volvo Trucks is now opening its largest production site with an annual capacity of around 45,000 trucks. There, Volvo manufactures the FH Electric, FM Electric and FMX Electric electric trucks, which can be operated with a total weight of 44 tonnes, on the same line as its combustion trucks. This is analogous to the production concept practised in Gothenburg. The batteries are supplied by the battery assembly plant in Ghent, which is located right next to the production facility.
The vehicles are the electric versions of the company’s “most important product range”. The three models accounted for about two-thirds of the company’s sales, the manufacturer said in an earlier statement. The trio has been available to order from May 2022. In total, Volvo Trucks is producing six electric truck models in series: the other three are the electric versions of the Volvo FE and Volvo FL medium-duty truck models and the aforementioned VNR for North America.
According to Volvo Trucks, it has so far received orders and purchase intentions for around 6,000 electric trucks in 42 countries on six continents. However, the Swedish company does not differentiate between medium and heavy-duty units. A few weeks ago, the Volvo Group published sales statistics for the first half of 2023.
“I’m thrilled! The Ghent factory is the largest one in our network, so this is a very important milestone. Now even more transport companies can go electric with Volvo,” said Roger Alm, President of Volvo Trucks. Just a few years ago, he says, many thought it was impossible to electrify heavy commercial vehicles. “But we decided early on that electrification is our main path to zero emissions. Now we can offer an industry-leading range of purpose-built electric trucks, in commercial operation all around the world,” Alm added, although he still sees a need for political action: “However, for the big electric shift to happen, governments need to act now and offer incentive programs for those who invest in the new technology, increase capacity in the power grid and also introduce CO2 taxes, to make sustainable transport more competitive.”
Volvo Group delivered a total of 1,442 electric trucks in the first half of 2023, up from 409 in the same period last year. However, the majority of these are not vehicles with the Volvo logo.