Truck manufacturer Volvo Trucks will start selling electric trucks in Europe in 2019, with the first units already being put into operation together with selected reference customers this year.
“Electric trucks drastically reduce noise and exhaust emissions and provide new ways to manage logistics. “More transport assignments could be carried out at night and fewer trucks would need to compete for road space during rush hour,” says Volvo Trucks president Claes Nilsson.
He adds that electromobility is fully in line with Volvo Trucks’ long-term commitment to sustainable development and zero emissions.
“By using electrically powered and quieter trucks for goods transport in urban areas, we resolve several challenges simultaneously. “Without disturbing noise and exhaust gases, it will be possible to operate in more sensitive city centres. “Transport may also take place throughout less busy periods, for example, late evening and at night. “This will reduce the burden on the roads during daytime rush-hour traffic, allowing both the road network and vehicles to be used far more effectively,” comments Nilsson.
A recent project, Off Peak City Distribution, conducted by Stockholm City, in Sweden, and technical and engineering university KTH Royal Institute of Technology studied the effects of goods transport at night in central Stockholm. Since the trucks avoided having to operate in rush-hour traffic, transport assignments were carried out in one-third of the normal time.
To improve the quality of life in urban environments, more sustainable transport solutions need to be adopted. With well-developed logistics and more effective use of roads in the evenings and at night, it is also possible for many smaller vehicles to be replaced by fewer but larger vehicles, thus further contributing to lower emissions and less traffic.
A distribution truck has just over ten times the load capacity of a regular 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 accidents.
Volvo Trucks medium duty vehicles product strategy head Jonas Odermalm notes that Volvo Trucks’ technology and know-how in the electromobility field are based on proven commercial solutions, which are already in use on Volvo’s electric buses.
“The vehicles themselves are only one part of what is needed for large-scale electrification to succeed. “Enabling long-term sustainable transport is a complex issue that requires a holistic and range of measure. “We are working closely with customers, cities, suppliers of charging infrastructure and other key stakeholders to create the necessary framework for electrical trucks.”
Nilsson concludes that the company believes 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.”