Volvo Trucks North America has announced the start of sales and the introduction in a commercial sense of its first full battery electric heavy-duty truck in the North American market.  

In an online virtual launch, Volvo North America revealed details of the Class 8 Volvo VNR Electric truck which is scheduled for a production start in early 2021.

“The Volvo VNR Electric marks a significant step forward for electromobility in an industry that we are committed to leading as it undergoes rapid, significant change,” said Peter Voorhoeve, president of Volvo Trucks North America.

“Volvo Trucks believes and invests in sustainable electromobility. Our deep understanding of the transportation ecosystem—the technology, infrastructure and applications in the trucking industry—have enabled us to deliver a solution that is both advanced yet easy to own and operate.”

The former boss of Volvo Group Australia, Voorhoeve’s enthusiasm for the new zero emission trucks was obvious in a one hour presentation  that was viewed by media from around the globe

Volvo says its VNR Electric offers the same state-of-the-art agility and visibility as its successful and popular Volvo VNR regional-haul model, pointing out that drivers will benefit from a fast learning curve, ease of operation and service, and a seamless transition from ‘miles per gallon to kilowatt hours per mile’.

In the VNR Electric, drivers will have a familiar human-machine interface, operation and design according to Volvo  while experiencing a significantly quieter ride and an improved working environment, with reduced stress and fatigue and increasing overall comfort.

Volvo always a spruiker of safety, says the safety criteria and features found in the VNR diesel models are retained in the VNR Electric including the safety standards in the construction of the cab and chassis.

The company says the construction of the battery support carrier system was also designed with these same safety standards in mind.

It claims the VNR Electric features the same ‘best-in-class active safety systems’ as the VNR and in addition, the specifically designed location of the batteries on the side of the vehicle as well as the air compressor under the driver door to enhance serviceability.

It says the VNR Electric is designed for customer applications and driving cycles with local and regional distribution ranges, including food and beverage and pick-up and delivery routes. The 264-kWh lithium-ion batteries, which charge up to 80 per cent within 70 minutes, have an operating range of up to 280 km, based on the truck’s configuration.

The company says advanced battery chemistries deliver increased power at reduced costs, while self-learning controls optimise energy usage.

Regenerative braking can increase range by returning power up to 15percent  back into the battery, depending on the duty cycle according to Volvo. The latest battery monitoring technology relays the state of health for the energy source in real time, streamlining service needs and maximizing uptime the company added.

The new battery electric truck benefits from Volvo’s global experience in manufacturing electric trucks, and Volvo Trucks North America has engineered the VNR Electric to provide the power, performance and reliability that U.S. and Canadian fleet operators need and expect the company added.

The electric driveline is a fully integrated, Volvo proprietary solution, rated at 455 horsepower and generating up to 5492 Nm of torque. The Volvo VNR Electric features a two-speed Volvo I-Shift transmission for smoother and more efficient acceleration with strong startability and low-speed maneuverability.

Volvo will offer the VNR in three configurations with a single-axle straight truck with a gross vehicle weight rating of 33,200 lbs and two prime mover configurations, including a 4×2 with a 30 tonne. gross combination weight rating (GCWR) and 6×2 with an up-to 37 tonne. GCWR in specific applications.

This new all-electric truck will be integrated into the production and manufacturing processes at the company’s New River Valley assembly plant in Virginia.

“For us, it is more than just the truck. The transition to electromobility requires a tight stakeholder collaboration,” said Voorhoeve.

“We are committed to working closely with our customers and dealers, providing end-to-end consultative support, matching available incentives, understanding the required charging infrastructure and matching the right model and specifications to their operational needs,” he added.

“As we hit this landmark milestone, moving forward with our pioneering customers toward a shared vision of the future, Volvo Trucks is making electromobility accessible, efficient and operationally viable. The future is here and we are proud to bring this new and very real solution to the North American commercial trucking industry today,” Voorhoeve said.