Volvo unveils electric truck in Europe

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GOTHENBURG, Sweden – Volvo Trucks has unveiled its first all-electric commercial truck in Europe, with the Volvo FL Electric that will begin production in 2019.

With a gross vehicle weight of about 35,000 pounds, the model is designed for applications like urban distribution and refuse collection.

The FL Electric features a 185 kW electric motor offering 130 kW of continuous output. The power is fed through a two-speed transmission. And energy is stored in two to six lithium-ion batteries, offering between 100 and 300 kWh and a range of up to 300 km between charges.

Empty batteries can be fast charged within one to two hours, while AC charging can be completed in 10 hours.

“With this model we are making it possible for cities that aim for sustainable urban development to benefit from the advantages of electrified truck transports,” said Claes Nilsson, president Volvo Trucks.

Advantages of electric vehicles include the ability to use them inside terminals and environmental zones that would otherwise exclude internal combustion engines, the company says. Low-noise operations also open the vehicles up for use at night.

Volvo says it will also offer “holistic solutions” based on customer needs around driving cycles, load capacity, range, and other parameters.

“Such a solution may encompass everything from route analysis and battery optimisation to servicing and financing. Volvo Trucks works closely with several suppliers of charging equipment. The aim as always is to offer customers high uptime and productivity,” says Jonas Odermalm, head of product strategy Volvo FL and Volvo FE.

Volvo has other experience with electric vehicles, of course. The Volvo Buses operation has sold more than 4,000 electrified buses since 2010.

“We know how important it is that cities, energy suppliers, and vehicle manufacturers cooperate in order for large-scale electrification to become a reality. With attractive incentives, agreed standards, and a long-term strategy for urban planning and expansion of the charging infrastructure, the process can go much faster,” said Odermalm.

The company also stresses that raw materials for batteries are extracted in a responsible way, and that Volvo Group is involved in projects to repurpose vehicle batteries for other energy storage.

“All the questions about handling of batteries have not yet been solved, but we are working actively both within the Group and together with other actors to drive development and create the necessary solutions,” said Odermalm.

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John G. Smith is Newcom Media's vice-president - editorial, and the editorial director of its trucking publications -- including Today's Trucking,, and Transport Routier. The award-winning journalist has covered the trucking industry since 1995.

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