In late 2020 Volvo Trucks will be rolling out their first Class 8 battery-electric truck. Their initial VNR electric vehicle was put on display in Dublin, VA when they held their 2019 Technology Summit at their New River Valley Plant – the same place this vehicle is being built.
What Volvo Plans on Doing
This year Volvo plans to deliver the initial 5 VNR electric trucks to customers as part of their LIGHTS (Low Impact Green Heavy Transportation Solutions) initiative. Brett Pope, who’s head of this program, says these vehicles have undergone extensive testing. Eventually they plan to expand to other regions and involve customers who are really interested in these vehicles. They plan to do this in three steps which include offering the following services within each step:
- VNR full-service leases offering insurance, maintenance, and uptime services included in their monthly invoice
- “Infrastructure as a Service” (including leasing installation, the charging infrastructure, “eConsulting” services, and setup)
- “Energy as a Service” (including energy supply that’s optimized and offered at a fixed rate) and possibly onsite solar power generation
These offers will be expanded as more VNR electric trucks become available. This type of regional rollout will be advantageous since dealerships can make sure that they’re prepared for a service network that offers customers a premium experience with this product.
What the Future Holds
VTNA will begin producing a limited number of these vehicles at the end of 2020. The initial vehicles will be a tractor and a straight truck. They’ll have three axle configurations (6×4, 6×2 liftable and 4×2). They hope to close out 2021 by introducing next-generation batteries in their enhanced driveline version of these vehicles which should also have more power, density, and range.
This roll out is possible because this isn’t something new that Volvo is working on. Pope says they’ve been working on this for 10+ years now. In fact, in 2015 they introduced a bus that was fully powered by electricity. As such, they now have over 5,000 hybrid and electric buses at work around the world. Approximately 1,500 of these vehicles are being used in North America.
Volvo has also used this experience as they’ve developed their trucks. They believe this work is the most sustainable type of transportation they can offer. In doing so they hope to solve some of their customers’ issues regarding mobility. Their products are sustainable so they can drive progress towards building a better world for future generations. This is evidenced by the fact that Volvo’s battery has a “target life” of about 8 years.
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