Volvo Group Australia boss Martin Merrick has told Truck and Bus News that the company will have its first full electric Volvo test trucks on Australian roads by the end of this year.

“We will have two full electric test trucks in operation in distribution work with operators in January or February, and more trucks on the road here throughout 2021,” Martin Merrick confirmed.

Speaking with T&B News  in a wide ranging interview, the Volvo Australia president and CEO  said that Australia  is very much viewed as a great test for any trucks and that it is an important part of the global Volvo truck network, so using the Australian environment as a test for new trucks is always on the agenda.

“Australia is viewed as a fantastic test ground for Volvo Group, if we take electric vehicles, if you take heavy haulage and distribution and the conditions they operate in, then you can say if it can work in Australia it can work anywhere,

“If we look at autonomous vehicles then we have confined areas in mines and such like. and we are already working with Volvo Group in a good way with some key customers in Australia already, so that is fantastic,” he said.

“Then in regards to hydrogen fuel cell technology and if you take hydrogen production in Australia and what can happen there  but we don’t see one technology as the answer,  we will have a number of alternatives  that we can select to satisfy the industry and serve the industry going forward and the future looks very good,”

“I can say that as far as hydrogen fuel cell technology, as you know we are working with Daimler on this and its under a non binding memorandum of understanding at the moment and there is a lot to be done with all that, but I would anticipate that by quarter one next year we will have a road map for Australia on hydrogen fuel cell technology so you need to watch this space on this one, and we need to defer to the due process at the global level on this with Volvo Group and Daimler on this,” he said.

“The fact is Australia has been chosen as a key market for Volvo Group in terms of electro-mobility and autonomous,  in terms of  hydrogen fuel cell technology I can’t say that yet because we need to get to next year, but in terms of autonomous and electro-mobility we are a key market,” Merrick said.

Merrick who has been the boss of the Volvo Group in Australia for just on two years, has had to make some difficult decisions in  recent months, with the need to cope with the Covid crisis, work through a market downturn and manage a global belt tightening edict from Volvo HQ in Sweden, which is rumoured to have have called on all subsidiaries  around the world to save money to enable the company to prepare and invest in new technologies for the upcoming zero emission and autonomous revolution.

We will have an extended interview  with Martin Merrick in  the next issue of Transport & Trucking and on T&B News in coming days.