Volvo Trucks CEO, Claes Nilsson

Like the rest of the automotive world Swedish truck maker Volvo has announced it is working on electric trucks and has revealed it is  in discussion with Korean conglomerate Samsung to develop future-generation batteries in order to commercialise electric trucks.

In an interview with The Korea Herald, president of Volvo Trucks Claes Nilsson, said the company has been in talks with the South Korean tech giant to introduce electric trucks, which are part of what the company envisions for a “greener” future.

“We are already collaborating with Samsung when it comes to battery technology,” he said.

“Where we are using the fully electric drive lines today is on the bus side. But as we move forward, we need (full electric lines for) trucks as well and yes, Korean industry, when it comes to semiconductors and batteries, are very advanced,” he said.

Nilsson did not elaborate on the extent of collaboration with Samsung SDI or what type of batteries they may be developing.

“Although Hydrogen has potential today, batteries are more likely to be the mainstream,” he said. “But right now the most promising development is in batteries rather than hydrogen,” adding that the company has been developing all three types of green trucks to be prepared for where the technology might lead.

“But that can change in five or 10 years, nobody knows.”

The head of Volvo Trucks was in Seoul to present the company’s future vision of taking a lead in connectivity, automation and electro-mobility in the commercial vehicle segment.

Currently, Volvo is the top commercial vehicle importer in Korea and the third overall behind the two domestic brands, Hyundai and Tata Daewoo.

South Korea is Volvo Trucks’ ninth-biggest market in terms of profit generation. It expects to sell about 3,000 trucks in the country, a 15 percent increase from last year. Though the market in Korea accounts for only three per cent of all Volvo trucks sold worldwide. Demand for efficient trucks is high not just among customers, but also in terms of the traffic environment.

“The customer base in this county is demanding efficient types of trucks in transportation, we believe we have good product offers to this market,” he said. “We also believe that (the) transportation environment here is very demanding in terms of weight and road condition and utilization, and very quality conscious customers can help us actually develop.”