Volvo Trucks is keen to start selling alternate fuel trucks in Europe.

Team CV

To arrive at a successful long-term sustainable transport system is complex. It requires a holistic view and wide range of measures. There are cities in the world that are already under the burden of rising pollution. The levels of pollution continue to rise every day. They are only getting worse. Despite their ability to haul goods, diesel trucks are constantly under the spotlight for their contribution to pollution. Rising scrutiny and the resulting criticism is getting truck makers to think of electro-mobility. Promising zero tailpipe emissions, electro-mobility, in the case of trucks, could well be the answer to curb pollution. Electric vehicles are also promising to drastically cut down noise. Properties like these are turning electric trucks desirable. They are looked upon as a need of the hour in urban areas. Looking at electrification for urban distribution as a first step, Volvo Trucks is keen to begin selling medium-duty electric trucks in Europe from 2019. Announced Claes Nilsson, President Volvo Trucks, “Electrically powered and quieter vehicles for goods transport addresses various challenges simultaneously. They can operate in more sensitive city centres during night time and reduce the burden on roads during rush hour traffic.”

The announcement of electric trucks might be a delayed response from Volvo when one considers the unveiling of the Semi truck by Tesla in the US. The fact is, the electric truck that Tesla has unveiled, is not expected to hit the market and soon. Before Tesla unveiled its electric Semi, Volvo, in February 2017, displayed a hybrid powertrain. It proved to be the first of its kind for heavy-duty trucks in long-haul applications and promised a total reduction in fuel consumption and CO2 of close to 30 per cent, and up to ten per cent in the city. The electric hybrid powertrain Volvo displayed has a key property of recovering energy when driving downhill on slopes steeper than one per cent, or when braking. The energy recovered would be stored in the vehicle’s batteries and used to power the truck in electric mode on flat roads or when travelling over low gradients. Since trucks won’t be required to deliver in city centres in the daytime, a recent project, ‘Off Peak City Distribution’ conducted by KTH Royal Institute of Technology and Stockholm City, demonstrated that deliveries could be completed in one-third of the time taken during the day.

Considering the various studies carried out, and the inferences, electric trucks could do well to enable effective utilisation of roads. They would also lead to the replacement of smaller vehicles by a few larger ones. Revealed a recent study, that a distribution truck has just over ten times the load capacity of a regular van. Not only will it reduce pollution thus, it will also reduce noise. It would also put the brakes on road accidents. Volvo Trucks is bullish about turning a clean emissions vehicle into reality this year itself. It is said to be testing first few units with selected customers. Averred Jonas Odermalm, Head of the product strategy medium-duty vehicles at Volvo Trucks, that the vehicles themselves are only one part of what is needed for large-scale electrification to succeed. We, the company are working closely with customers, cities, suppliers of charging infrastructure and other key stakeholders to create the necessary framework for electric trucks.” With companies like Fortigo, Freight, Walmart and J.B. Hunt placing orders for Semi-electric in less than a week of its unveiling, the stage for electric trucks are set. Distribution major UPS has shown a serious intent about deploying electric trucks in its fleet in North America. Almost every CV maker is developing electric trucks. Volvo Trucks is confident that its electric trucks will prove to be beneficial.

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