It looks like Tesla’s electric semi may have some competition next year. Volvo Trucks – a large-truck entity that’s separate from the company’s car division – has developed a Volvo electric semi that will be available soon. The Swedish company, not wanting to be left behind in the electric semi race, plans to start selling their medium-duty trucks in 2019.
According to Claes Nilsson, Volvo Trucks’ president, “Electromobility is fully in line with Volvo Truck’s long-term commitment for sustainable urban development and zero emissions.” What else can we expect from the newest contender on the electric semi market?
Volvo’s trucks are designed not only to reduce pollution and environmental impact but also to help reduce traffic congestion while improving logistics. The company has yet to provide details about battery packs and powertrain potential, but they have said vehicles will operate at night. The goal is to have their trucks on the road outside peak traffic hours.
A recent study conducted by the City of Stockholm and KTH Royal Institute of Technology showed that trucks used overnight in central areas of Stockholm finished their tasks a third faster than those used during regular operating hours. “Transport may take place throughout less busy periods, for example in the late evening and at night. This will reduce the burden on the roads during daytime rush-hour traffic,” Claes Nilsson said. Electric trucks make less noise and emit less pollution, making them less disruptive than standard semis during overnight hours.
Beyond Volvo’s new truck and Tesla’s Semi, billed to make 500 miles on a single charge, Thor Trucks and Daimler’s E-Fuso have plans to enter the electric semi market. At the same time, diesel heavyweight Cummins is focusing on developing a type of diesel-electric range extender.
Currently, Volvo is working toward producing an electric semi model that stands up to the rigors of the North American market but doesn’t yet have a timetable on that part of the project.