Volvo Truck’s global president, Roger Alm has told T&B News that the company’s Australian factory will likely be a part of the Swedish truck giant’s future zero emission electric truck manufacturing and will be needed to help the maker meet its target of 50 per cent zero emission truck production by 2030 and 100 per cent zero emission by 2040.
Alm was speaking from the company’s global HQ in Gothenburg, where he was spruiking the roll out of the company’s first serious attempts at electrification during an online hook up this week.
“It means that the factory in Australia will certainly be producing fossil-free vehicle products well into the future,” Alm told T&B News.
“When that will happen, we will need to come back to you on more exact points of time, but as we are having this ambition, of course, all our manufacturing plants need to produce these products and we will,” the Volvo truck boss added.
He explained that Volvo is ‘very committed to the science-based target of the Paris agreement, and that the company is well advanced on developing decarbonised product in a very good way’.
“We are investing into new product, and of course, we are very committed to drive and scale up the volume, so that by 2030, 50 per cent of our manufacturing or trucks should be decarbonised or fossil-free, so to say,” Alm explained.
“By 2040, 100 per cent of everything that we are selling should be fossil-free, so we have some very ambitious targets, because this is really what we believe will be then the future in the transport industry,” he said.
With the vital COP26 conference in Glasgow coming in a few weeks Alm was asked what he was expecting from the vital global climate change meeting.
“Well we hope that everybody will be very, very committed to deployment of zero emission transport and committed to making a better world for all of us. Of course, to reduce the degrees that were announced in the Paris Agreement, there are a lot of activities going on, a lot of innovations that will happen at more and more companies is coming together, to reduce the CO2 emission,” he said.
“For the transport industry, I think it’s very important that a lot more operators and customers are driven to then move towards more fossil-free transport, not in the future, but starting the transformation today,” the taciturn Swede said with conviction.
“As Volvo Trucks, we have already produced electric trucks we have had product in series production since 2019, we are now manufacturing trucks, and we are selling electric trucks every day,”Alm said.
Alm explained that the company globally, will have a wider product offering available from next year with six electric truck models for sale to customers, with the bonneted VNR electric in North America and five electric models for Europe.
“The Australian market is very important to us as well, and as we speak, you maybe know, we have already trucks in commercial operation, electrical trucks in commercial operations in Australia and that is something we are very proud of,” Alm said, referring to the two FL Electric trucks currently in working trials with the Linfox empire.
Addressing the perennial issue of range anxiety with electric vehicles Alm said the company was working to make it as easy as possible for its customers to have battery capacity to meet the work and range they require.
“From a European perspective, we can offer 50per cent of all the transport needs of our customers with the range as it is at the moment,” said Roger.
“At the same time we are also developing products for longer range, and we will have other products that will come at the end of this decade,” he added.
At this point Alm asked Jessica Sandström, head of product management of Volvo Trucks globally. and a Volvo veteran who has been working on electromobility for the past 15 years, to comment on the advances in Volvo’s electric drivelines and where it is all headed.
“This is a subject that I’m truly passionate about, and we’re really approaching a historical shift,” Sandström told us.
“There has not been a bigger change since we shifted out of horses and the carriages to trucks and buses,” she said.
“So of course the technology will continue to evolve over time and what we see is that often even with customers who have very long distances, when you start to look into how they actually drive, you can usually find that there are work flows that you can start with, then, in the longer term, there will be better batteries and we will have the capability to do higher energy density,” she explained.
Sandström agreed that for certain markets, there will be the need for hydrogen fuel cells for longer ranges, with Volvo entering into a joint venture with German truck giant Daimler to develop the technology.
“But so far in almost all cases where we start, we see that we managed to find flows that are applicable with the range that we will have next year, in fact we have mapped flows in Europe and that shows that 50 per cent of them are already able to use electric with the range that we will offer next year.
“And that’s the range you get with one charge, if you utilise the lunch break, for instance, to top up the batteries, you can extend the range quite significantly, and usually when you start to look into how the drivers actually use the truck, you find these opportunities where you can top up during day,” Sandström said.
Volvo has sold 210 electric trucks in the European market so far this year, a small volume when compared with the diesel market, but that represents 42 per cent of the electric market, which the company says gives it a strong position.
Roger Alm is excited with the recent announcement that Volvo had secured its biggest electric truck deal so far selling 100 trucks to major Euro freight operator DFDS, with the first to be delivered at the end of 2022.
“Of course the market has to be scaled up in terms of electric trucks and the pace of that will accelerate year on year, and we have to see how that is evolving, but we have the intention to scale up sales of electric trucks to definitely reach then our vision in 2030 and 2040,” Alms said.