Volvo introduces all-electric truck in Europe

 Volvo's FL Electric truck has a range of about 186 miles. .

Volvo's FL Electric truck has a range of about 186 miles. .

Volvo Trucks has now formally entered the all-electric push with the announcement that its FL Electric vehicle has been introduced in Europe. The FL Electric is designed for urban distribution and refuse operations, among other applications, Volvo said.

With full production slated for next year, the first vehicles will be put into operation by refuse and recycling company Renova and TGM.

“We’re immensely proud to present the first in a range of fully electrically-powered Volvo trucks ready for regular traffic. 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.

In 2016, Swedish technical university KTH conducted an “Off Peak City Distribution” study to look at the impacts of nighttime deliveries. In Sweden, nighttime deliveries are banned due to the noise generated by vehicles.

“Nightly deliveries have the potential to accelerate the shift of the land to more environmentally friendly trucks,” explained research director Anna Pernestal Brenden. “Stockholm city has shown an interest in a change of regulation towards the nightly delivery of more environmentally friendly and hence quieter trucks. If the number of trucks can be reduced, the hauliers can also invest in more expensive and more environmentally friendly trucks.”

In its press release, Volvo explained that the study found by avoiding peak hour traffic, the two trucks in the study were able to do their jobs in one-third of the time compared to daytime operation. Adding an electric vehicle such as the FL Electric would further reduce noise pollution, making nighttime deliveries more viable.

According to Volvo, the interest in electric trucks made the introduction of the FL Electric inevitable. Electric vehicles offer zero emissions and less noise, making it easier for them to operate within urban environments. An electric truck without any exhaust emissions can also be used in indoor terminals and environmental zones, Volvo said. Their low noise level creates opportunities for doing more work at night, thus reducing the burden on the roads during the day.

“In order to make the transition secure and smooth, we will offer holistic solutions based on each customer’s individual needs regarding driving cycles, load capacity, uptime, range and other parameters. Such a solution may encompass everything from route analysis and battery optimization 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,” said Jonas Odermalm, head of product strategy Volvo FL and Volvo FE at Volvo Trucks.

For now, the FL Electric is strictly a European model, Brandon Borgna, public relations for Volvo Trucks North America, told FreightWaves. “Work toward commercialization of electric Volvo trucks in North America is ongoing as advancements in battery technology accelerate viability for North American duty cycles and energy demands for a broad range of applications,” he added.

The FL Electric has a gross vehicle weight of 16 tons and is powered by a 185 kW electric motor with max power 130 kW continuous output. It features a two-speed transmission, propeller shaft, rear axle and the electric motor products max torque of 425 Nm.

Between two and six lithium-ion batteries totaling up to 300 kWh produce a range of up to 186 miles. The vehicle charges through the electric grid, requiring up to 10 hours to fully recharge via AC power. A fast charge DC option can charge the vehicle in 1-2 hours, Volvo said.   

Volvo has experience with electrified vehicles, having produced more than 400 fully electric buses that are in operation through its Volvo Buses companies.

“From experience 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 Jonas Odermalm.