Monday, April 26, 2021

Electric Truck Ranges Expand Apace as Climate Change Imperative Pressures Increase

HGV Makers Face Up to the Future Realities of Road Haulage
Shipping News Feature

SWEDEN – WORLDWIDE – The thoughts and policies of the Volvo Group offer an insight into how the truck manufacturers around the world are facing up to the climate change initiative.

In a statement last week the company announced that it believes the time is right for a rapid upswing in electrification of heavy road transport. For example in the EU market it says almost half of all truck transports could be electrified ‘in the near future’ The fact that large national and international transport buyers are showing a strong interest in electric vehicles driven by their own ambitious climate goals, as well as consumers demand for decarbonisation and cleaner transport, means Volvo is expanding its electric truck range.

By adding three more heavy duty trucks to the electric line-up with the start of sales of the new electric Volvo FH and Volvo FM models, Volvo says electrified transport is now possible not only for urban areas but also for regional traffic between cities. In addition, the new electric Volvo FMX model is creating new ways to make construction transport operations both quieter and cleaner. Roger Alm, President of Volvo Trucks observed:

“More and more transport companies are realising they need to start their electrification journey right now, both with the environment in mind and for competitive reasons to satisfy customer requirements for sustainable shipping. With our wide and deep offering, it is totally feasible for far more transport companies to go electric.”

Production of the new electric models for Europe will start in the second half of 2022. They join the Volvo FL Electric and Volvo FE Electric for urban transports that have been in serial production since 2019 for the same market. In North America, sales of the Volvo VNR Electric started in December 2020. With the sales start of the new truck models, Volvo Trucks now has a line-up of six medium and heavy duty electric trucks, which it claims makes it the most complete commercial electric truck range in the industry.

According to Eurostat statistics ‘Road Freight Transport by distance’ (2018), 45% of all goods transported on road in Europe travelled a distance of less than 300 kilometres, meaning with the addition of the new products with higher load capacities, and more powerful drivelines with ranges of that scope, Volvo Trucks’ electric portfolio could carry almost half of deliveries in the EU.

This technology theoretically makes it possible to make an important contribution to lower the climate impact from road freight which according to official statistics accounts for about 6% of total CO2 emissions in the EU. Volvo says its ‘holistic setup’ to assist with a range of service, maintenance and financing solutions opens the field to a wide variety of customers.

Looking further ahead, Volvo believes even long-distance heavy transport will be able to be done using electric vehicles. To meet the challenging demands for both high load capacity and a much longer range, Volvo Trucks plans to use hydrogen fuel cells to generate the electricity. Roger Alm concludes:

“This technology is developing rapidly and our ambition is also to make the long driving distances electrified, using both batteries and fuel cells. Our aim is to start selling fuel-cell electric trucks in the second part of this decade and we are confident we can make this happen.

“There is huge potential to electrify truck transports in Europe, and also in other parts of the world, in the very near future. To prove this, we have set the ambitious goal to have electric trucks account for half of our sales in Europe by 2030. And these three new heavy-duty trucks we are now launching mark a giant step towards reaching this target.”