Volvo to start selling electric trucks in Europe in 2019

Volvo Trucks will start selling electric trucks in Europe in 2019, with the first units going into operation with selected customers later this year.

With the reduced noise and exhaust emissions of electric trucks, it could mean that more goods can be carried at night, meaning fewer trucks need to compete for road space during peak daytime hours, according to Claes Nilsson, president of Volvo Trucks.

“Electromobility is fully in line with Volvo Trucks’ long-term commitment for sustainable urban development and zero emissions,” he said.

“By using electrically-powered and quieter trucks for distribution in urban areas, we meet several challenges simultaneously. Without noise and exhaust emissions, deliveries could take place outside peak periods, like for example in the late evening or at night. This would reduce the burden on the roads during daytime rush-hour traffic, allowing both the road network and vehicles to be utilised far more effectively than today.”

A recent project, ‘Off-Peak City Distribution’, conducted by Stockholm City and KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm studied the effects of goods distribution at night in central Stockholm. Since the trucks avoid peak-time traffic, transport assignments were carried out in one-third of the normal time.

With a drive to reduce pollution and noise in urban environments, there could be an increase in using roads at night, with many smaller vehicles will be replaced by a few, larger vehicles, thus further contributing to lower emissions and less traffic.

For example, a 26-tonne distribution truck has just over 10 times the load capacity of a 3.5-tonne van. If a larger proportion of transport assignments could be carried out during hours when fewer people are on the road, this will also significantly reduce the risk of road accidents.

“However, the vehicles themselves are only one part of what is needed for large-scale electrification to succeed,” added Jonas Odermalm, Head of product strategy – Medium duty vehicles at Volvo Trucks. “Enabling long-term sustainable transport is a complex issue that requires a holistic and wide range of measures. We are working closely with customers, cities, suppliers of charging infrastructure and other key stakeholders to create the necessary framework for electrical trucks.”

Nilsson concluded: “We believe in full electrification for urban distribution as a first step. However we are working with electrification for other transport applications. This is only the beginning.”

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