Heavy Duty Electric Trucks In Sweden & Denmark: The EV Revolution Rolls Forward

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The EV revolution is rolling forward and it’s not waiting for stragglers. Yesterday, we featured a report from Fraunhofer ISI that explains why those waiting for hydrogen to become a fuel source for cars and trucks are bound to be disappointed. That report did admit there could be some justification for hydrogen in heavy trucks that travel long distances or haul especially heavy loads, but today comes word that battery-electric trucks are beginning to infiltrate those parts of the transportation spectrum as well.

Heavy Duty Electric Trucks From Scania In Sweden

Scania is a manufacturer of heavy duty trucks. It is part of Traton, which in turn is owned by Volkswagen Group. MAN is also part of Traton. According to Electrive, Scania is working on battery-electric trucks that are longer and heavier than EU standards. The custom-made products are being developed together with three customers in Sweden. The first example is already in service with Swedish chemical supplier Wibax. Two more giant electric trucks will be delivered this year to SCA and Jula Logistics.

Scania emphasizes that the three electric trucks are not regular production models, but rather individual items that have been “realized together with various partners and through in-depth analysis.” The development is being carried out in close coordination with the customers. “We simulate the transport flows and deliver the trucks with the most suitable combination of components for the respective transport order — both in terms of the vehicle and the load regards. We really see the vehicles as a complete solution.”

The tractor for Wibax travels an 80 kilometer route between Piteå and Skellefteå. Scania says it weighs 10.8 tons — about 1.5 tons more than a diesel-powered equivalent. The increase in weight is due primarily to the 300 kWh battery pack. At the present time, the battery is recharged using a 150 kW charger, but increases in charging power are coming in the future.

“Since our founding in 1986, we have made every effort to be sustainable, and as we have identified transport as our biggest environmental impact, this electric truck is a step that ensures that we can continue our operations with respect for the climate. During the lifetime of this truck, Wibax will reduce CO2 emissions by up to 1,400 tons, making it a real game changer,” says Jonas Wiklund, CEO of the Wibax Group.

For Scania, it is the first electric 64-ton truck to go into service. “The key to achieving zero emissions in transport is electrification, and we will achieve this goal together with customers and other stakeholders who share our values,” says Fredrik Allard, Head of E-Mobility at Scania. “Partnerships like this, where we show early on what’s possible, are a clear sign of the change of pace we need to go fossil-free and meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.”

Together with SCA and the Skogforsk research institute, Scania is working on an electric timber transporter that will ensure a permissible total weight of up to 64 tons on public roads and 80 tons on private roads. The vehicle is scheduled to arrive in the Swedish region of Västerbotten later this year, where it will transport wood between the SCA terminal in Gimonäs and the paper mill in Obbola near Umeå.

“Working with Scania is an important way for us to find innovative solutions for sustainable transport together. Electric logging trucks will make an important contribution to SCA’s sustainability work,” says Hans Djurberg, the head of sustainability at SCA. “If we use just one electric truck between Gimonäs and Obbola, we can reduce our carbon emissions by around 55,000 kilograms per year.”

Scania manager Allard adds that timber transport in particular has always been described as a sector that may never be electrified. “The developments of the last few years and what we are now presenting with SCA show how quickly things are progressing both with vehicles and with batteries.” Charging infrastructure for such heavy duty trucks will be crucial to allowing them to gain wide acceptance.

Electric Cement Mixers From Volvo Trucks In Denmark

electric trucks
Image courtesy of Volvo Trucks

The Danish concrete manufacturer Unicon has ordered 11 Volvo FM Electric trucks from Volvo Trucks, which will be converted into concrete mixers and used in Denmark, Electrive reports. The two companies will work together to develop customized electric truck solutions for the concrete industry.

The 11 converted FM Electric trucks will be delivered by the end of this year. The FM Electric is the largest model that Volvo Trucks makes. It has a gross weight of up to 44 tons and can be configured with many different numbers of axles and battery packs that range between 450 kWh and 540 kWh.

“With this major order and ambitious collaboration agreement, we are putting tangible actions behind our CO2 emission targets for our distribution,” says Christian Elleby, procurement director at Unicon. “With the new electric truck mixers, we are ready to support the requirements for emission-free construction sites in Denmark, which we see from the City of Copenhagen, as well as an increasing number of contractors and builders.”

Unicon is the largest producer and supplier of ready-mixed concrete in Denmark. It employs more than 400 people in 35 factories. Annual production is around one million cubic meters, transported to construction sites by 195 trucks. It plans for all its trucks to be zero emissions vehicles by 2035.

“With these agreements, we are taking important steps in expanding fossil-free distribution solutions to the concrete industry, where electrification of heavy vehicles has been a very difficult challenge due to the heavy loads and continuous mixing demands,” said Peter Ericson, managing director of Volvo Trucks in Denmark. “We expect a lot of learning and development as a result of the collaboration for the benefit of an entire industry.”

The Takeaway

Snorting diesels are the backbone of commerce — and a major source of carbon emissions, fine particulates, and oxides of nitrogen. The former are killing the planet. The latter are killing us. News that electric trucks are beginning to come available that are capable of handling some of the toughest tasks in transportation should be welcome news to anyone who thinks a sustainable planet is a good idea.

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Steve Hanley

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. He is proud to be "woke" and doesn't really give a damn why the glass broke. He believes passionately in what Socrates said 3000 years ago: "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new."

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