Volvo  has  recently revealed that it  has competed a multi-faceted testing program with its Volvo FL Electric to see how fast charging and extreme heat can affect range, battery charging and vehicle performance.

As Volvo noted, range, charging and productivity are at the forefront of anyone considering an electric vehicle future, pointing out that questions such as how far will the vehicle go, how long will it take to charge, and ultimately, will it get the job done, are all at the start of any conversation with potential electric truck operators.

Equipped with Volvo Group’s second-generation battery packs with a capacity totaling 265kW, local VGA engineers subjected the FL Electric to a series of on-road tests in 35 degree plus heat.

According to Volvo the trucks were loaded to a gross weight of 15tonnes the FL Electric covered more than 730 kilometres over a variety of traffic conditions and terrain including a climb up the 6 per cent gradient of the Toowoomba bypass as well as routes through inner-city traffic.

Volvo said  that the second-generation battery packs have a predicted energy consumption of 0.9 kWh per kilometre, however local testing has found consumption at this point to be lightly lower at 0.73 kWh per kilometre.

The company said that the potential of regenerative braking came to the fore coming down the Toowoomba range with braking energy alone enough to replenish battery power by close to 5 per cent.

“Temperature is the enemy of battery performance in any vehicle,” said Volvo Australia’s vice president  of technology business development, Paul Illmer.

“For our industry to go electric our customers need to know we’ve tried and tested our technology in adverse conditions rather than report contrived figures derived from testing in a controlled environment,” said Illmer.

“And I’m extremely happy to see the results of this testing, which proves the FL Electric is a viable option for a range of urban distribution roles while being able to tolerate Australia’s harsh climate,” he added.

The test drives also included a 40-minute fast charge from 40 per cent battery capacity using a 150Kwh DC chargers in an effort to understand how opportunity charging may be integrated into an everyday transport operation.

“Our electric trucks are more than just a vehicle, they are a part of an electromobility eco-system,”  Illmer continued.

“Before a customer signs up for our electric offering we conduct a feasibility study using our bespoke range estimation tool to plot out exactly how this vehicle can be integrated into an existing transport task,” he added.

“Once in service we can help the customer monitor vehicle performance through our Volvo Connect telematics portal. These proprietary tools give us a 360-degree view of our customer’s needs and the operation at hand.””This year marks the start of commercial sales here in Australia and I look forward to seeing an electric truck with real world usability hit the local market,” Illmer said.

The 4×2 Volvo FL Electric has a gross vehicle weight of 16tonnes and creates 130kW of continuous power which is delivered to the rear wheels via a two-speed automated transmission.

Depending on application, Volvo claims the range can be up to 300 kilometres between charges. Charging times range from 11 hours (22Kwh AC) to 2 hours (150Kwh DC).

Customer deliveries of the Volvo FL Electric are anticipated to begin during 2022.