Volvo unveils heavy duty concept trucks

Volvo Trucks has unveiled its electric concept trucks for construction operations and regional distribution.

With these electric concept vehicles, Volvo Trucks will explore, demonstrate and evaluate different solutions, and measure the level of interest in society and the market.

Volvo has recently started selling electric trucks for urban transport and the company believes that electrification can also become a competitive alternative for heavier trucks.

“We see great potential for heavy-duty electric trucks for regional transport and construction in the longer term,” said Roger Alm, president of Volvo Trucks. “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.”

Alm added that for demand for electrified trucks to increase, 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.” 

Volvo is aiming these concept trucks at the construction and regional distribution markets. In construction, the low noise levels and zero exhaust emissions can improve the environment for construction workers. This can also have a positive effect on construction projects in cities, where air quality is of increasing importance.

A reduction of the overall climate impact of the transport sector is possible by using heavy electric vehicles in regional distribution, according to Volvo. Most goods distribution by truck within the EU is regional.

“In Europe there is an enormous number of trucks used for regional goods transport that have an average annual mileage of 80,000km,” said Lars Mårtensson, director Environment and Innovation, Volvo Trucks. “This means that increased use of electric vehicles for regional distribution would result in significant climate gains, provided the electricity is fossil-free.

“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. 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.” 

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 commercialisation will follow at a later point.

But Volvo is not abandoning the internal combustion engine. In parallel with electrification, there will be ongoing improvement of the efficiency of combustion engines.

“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,” said Mårtensson.

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Dan Parton
Dan Parton
Dan Parton is a former editor of Truck & Driver, the UK’s biggest selling truck magazine. He is now writes for The Van Expert and The Truck Expert.

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