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January 24, 2018 Vol. 15 No. 2

The Tesla Semi buzz may have died down but the electric idea in general is still gathering steam. Volvo Trucks, for one, says it will start selling electric trucks in Europe next year, with some put into operation before 2018 is done. They’re joining several other OEMs in heading in this direction.

Things are a little more tentative here, but the company says work toward commercialization of electric trucks in North America is ongoing as advancements in battery technology accelerate viability for our duty cycles and energy demands. A statement earlier this week made no mention of an electric timeline for this side of the Atlantic.

Electric trucks create new opportunities to manage logistics, Volvo says, quite apart from reducing exhaust emissions “drastically”.

“Electromobility is fully in line with Volvo Trucks’ long-term commitment to sustainable urban development and zero emissions,” says Göran Nyberg, president of Volvo Trucks North America. “By using electrically powered and quieter trucks for goods transport in urban areas, we meet several challenges simultaneously. Without disturbing noise and exhaust gases, it will be possible to operate in more sensitive city centers. Transport may also take place throughout less busy periods, for example in late evening and at night. This will reduce the burden on the roads during daytime rush-hour traffic, allowing both the road network and vehicles to be utilized far more effectively than today.

“Urban distribution and other pickup-and-delivery applications are a starting point for battery-powered electric trucks, but we envision broader deployment of electric trucks for freight movement in North America as technologies and the market mature,” Nyberg adds.

THE VOLVO VISION for urban North America sees electric trucks promoting more effective utilization of roads in the evenings and at night, which in turn would make it possible to replace many smaller vehicles with larger ones, thus further contributing to lower emissions, less traffic, and fewer accidents.

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Rolf Lockwood is editor emeritus of Today's Trucking and a regular contributor to Trucknews.com.