Photo Gallery: Driving Volvo Trucks electric European lineup

Photo Gallery: Driving Volvo Trucks electric European lineup

Behind the wheel of Volvo Trucks's zero-emissions European lineup and what it might mean for the U.S.

It can be difficult to see an all-electric trucking future in the United States. The distances are vast, the trucking applications are demanding and the early adopter hurdle is high to clear. The first wave of battery electric truck adoption in the U.S. is cresting, with nearly every OEM offering an electric truck option and forward-thinking fleets like Sysco investing heavily in increasingly sustainable trucking equipment. Electric trucks with a range of under 300 miles (approximately) are all across the industry, but the question remains: How does battery electric grow out of its niche?

One answer is to take a step back and look at battery electric from a larger, global perspective. During a press event held in Gothenburg, Sweden, Volvo Trucks provided a broad perspective on electric truck technology development and deployment. The Volvo Trucks view is that battery electric trucks will satisfy a large majority of applications in the 27 countries in the European Union (EU). That majority might be the other way around in the U.S., where hopes are high that hydrogen fuel cell technology will provide the zero-emissions platform for long-haul applications, but it’s clear that the global scale of electrification can bring the technology to the market in a way that’s more viable than just looking at it through the U.S market lens. Suddenly, the Volvo Trucks’s goal of a fully zero-emissions product lineup by 2040 comes into a sharper focus.

Not to mention that when you get behind the wheel of an electric truck, it’s awesome. No noise, no vibration; just pure torque and power. There’s no greater example than hauling 44 tons (that’s more than 98,000 lbs.) up a 12% grade, stopping halfway up, then stepping on the accelerator and having the truck haul the load as if the trailers were empty. I spent an afternoon at the Volvo Trucks Experience Center in Sweden putting the OEM’s lineup of electric trucks through their paces. Take a gander at the photo gallery and stay tuned for a video soon to come.

Fourteen trucks were waiting for test drives. Ten of them were battery electric—a glimpse into trucking’s zero-emissions future.
A uniquely European straight truck-tractor combination that was loaded with 44.5 tons (just shy of 100,000 lbs.)
And the first maneuver is hauling that weight up a 12% grade. To make it even more difficult, I stopped halfway up and then started again from a dead stop. It hauled the load up the grade as if the vans were empty.
Same grade hauling capability story with a single trailer hauling 40 tons (approximately 89,600 lbs.)
One-pedal driving mode allows you to precisely operate accelerate and regenerative braking. For instance, down a grade, like the 16% grade on the Volvo Trucks Experience Center test track, you could take your foot completely off the pedals, with the regenerative braking set to its highest mode, and coast down the grade at a comfortable 10 km/h (about 6 MPH) without using the service brake and sending energy back to the batteries.
Speaking of batteries, the packs mounted on the sides of the trucks are well protected.
Electric truck battery packs in Europe look a lot like the packs sported by the Volvo VNR Electric. They’re 90 kWh packs available in four, five or six units per truck in Europe, enabling up to 540 kWh total battery power. That’s similar to the second generation VNR Electric which offers battery pack configurations up to 565kWh.

More global zero-emissions view from Volvo Trucks

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