On the heels of its introduction of electric trucks for urban transport, Volvo Trucks is now looking to electrify heavy-duty vehicles for construction and regional distribution.
To demonstrate the possibilities, Volvo Trucks has developed electric concept trucks for heavy-duty applciation.
“We see great potential for heavy-duty electric trucks for regional transport and construction in the longer term. 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 in society,” said Volvo Trucks President Roger Alm.
“To increase demand for electrified trucks, the charging infrastructure needs to be rapidly expanded, while stronger financial incentives must be created for hauliers who act as pioneers by choosing new vehicles with a lower environmental and climate footprint.”
Heavy-duty electric trucks have the potential to improve the work environment for drivers and construction workers, thanks to low noise level and zero exhaust emissions during operation. The reduction of emissions would have a positive effect on air quality in cities with many ongoing construction projects.
As well, due to the lack of noise disturbance, Volvo Trucks explained electrified trucking would help expand transport operations for more hours per day, which opens up new possibilities for streamlining operations.
“In Europe there is an enormous number of trucks used for regional goods transport that have an average annual mileage of 80,000 km. This means that increased use of electric vehicles for regional distribution would result in significant climate gains, provided the electricity is fossil-free,” said Lars Mårtensson, director of environment and innovation at Volvo Trucks.
Volvo Trucks’ goal
Volvo Trucks’ plan for electric heavy-duty trucks for construction and regional distribution is to start by having selected customers in Europe pilot a small number of future electric vehicles. More extensive commercialization will follow at a later point.
“The speed of electrification will depend on a number of factors. On the one hand, an extensive expansion of the charging infrastructure is needed, and on the other hand, it’s necessary to ensure that regional power networks can deliver sufficient transfer capacity in the long term,” Mårtensson said.
“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.”
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In parallel with increased electrification of the transport sector, ongoing improvement of the efficiency of combustion engines will continue to play a key role for long haul truck transport for many years to come.
“Today’s truck engines are efficient energy converters that can run on diesel or various renewable fuels such as liquefied biogas or HVO, and the technology still has potential for further development,” Mårtensson said.