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Volvo FH Electric semi
We Can Electrify One in Three Heavy Duty Trucks by 2030 Volvo Trucks FH Electric. Image courtesy of Volvo Trucks

Clean Transport

Volvo FH Electric Heavy Duty Truck Exceeds Expectations On Test Run

In a recent demonstration run, a Volvo FH electric semi exceeded all expectations.

Volvo Trucks expects to begin series production of its FH Electric heavy duty truck later this year. Recently, the company sent journalist Jan Burgdorf on a test drive of the Green Truck Route, a 343-kilometer journey through the hills of southeastern Germany. It features a variety of terrain together with a combination of secondary roads and highways, making it ideal for simulating real world driving conditions.

The FH Electric has some impressive specs. It features a 540 kWh battery, 490 kW (657 hp) of continuous power, and over 2,400 NM (1,770 ft-lb) of torque. Fully loaded to its maximum legal gross weight of 40 metric tons (88,185 lb), Burgdorf and his co-driver, Tobias Bergman, media test director for Volvo Trucks, set off to see how the FH Electric would perform.

“I have to say, when driving this truck it is as agile, or even more agile, than a diesel truck. Drivers will be very surprised about how easy it is to drive, how quiet it is, and how well it responds. There are no vibrations whatsoever,” Burgdorf says. (See video below.)

The Volvo FH Electric kept an average speed of 80 km/h over the whole route — on par with the Volvo FH equipped with a diesel engine and the fuel efficiency package I-Save. Energy consumption for the fully loaded truck was 1.1 kWh per kilometer — about half that of an equivalent diesel-powered FH tractor and giving the truck a total projected range on that route of 345 kilometers.

“These test results show that it is possible to drive up to 500 km during a regular work-day, with a short stop for charging, for example during lunch time,” explains Bergman. “The electric driveline is very efficient, making the all-electric truck a very powerful tool for reducing CO2 emissions.” Volvo Trucks anticipates 50% of its sales will be electric vehicles by 2030. In 2040, it expects all its products to be carbon neutral based on a comprehensive “well to wheel” analysis.

“We are committed to the Paris Agreement on climate change. Science-based targets have been set and we are taking action to fast-forward the development to dramatically lower CO2 emissions related to on-road freight transports. I believe that the broad electric range we already have on the market is very clear proof of that,” says Bergman.

Volvo Trucks currently offers customers a range of 6 battery-electric trucks for a variety of transport assignments. The Volvo FH, FM, and FMX Electric models have a GCW of up to 44 metric tons. Sales are ongoing in Europe and production will start in the second half of 2022. Serial production in Europe of the Volvo FL and FE Electric, for city distribution and refuse handling, started in 2019. Production of the Volvo VNR Electric for North America began in 2020.

 
 
 
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Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. 3000 years ago, Socrates said, "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new." Perhaps it's time we heed his advice.

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