By: Jeremy J. Zacharias
With the ever-increasing environmental importance of transitioning cross country trucking from powerful diesel engines to sustainable electric motors, many manufacturers are focusing their efforts into developing a way to perfect this concept. Tesla has made headlines in recent years with the much-anticipated Semi Truck, but established trucking companies, such as Volvo, have focused efforts on developing an electric truck for local and regional use.
Brief History of Volvo Trucks:
According to Volvo Trucks’ website, Volvo Group built its first truck in Sweden in 1928, Volvo first entered the North American truck market in 1959. It was not until the mid-1970s that Volvo was established as a permanent part of the U.S. truck market, through Volvo of America Corp.
Volvo Trucks North America’s operations and products are guided by the company’s three core values: Quality, Safety and Environmental Care. The Volvo VNM, VNL, VNX, VHD and VAH trucks are assembled in the United States at the New River Valley Plant in Dublin, Virginia, while Volvo engines for North America are assembled in Hagerstown, Maryland.
Volvo’s latest truck offering, the VNR, brings the company into the next phase of sustainable transport. The Class 8 VNR Electric Truck, Volvo’s first effort to electrify freight transport, is Volvo’s limited range example of Volvo’s entry into alternative energy transport and focuses on local and regional freight travel, which accounts for a large percentage of trucking needs.
The VNR Electric Truck is projected to offer 150 miles of range on a single charge, which is considerably less than the estimated 300 to 500 miles of range offered by the Tesla Semi Truck. However, the VNR Electric Truck is a horse of a different color. The VNR is solely intended for local and metropolitan use, aiming for transport between freight ports and inter-city local travel.
The true pièce de résistance is the VNR Electric Truck’s battery. Volvo claims that the VNR will have a 265.1 kWh battery pack and is capable of charging up to 80% in just 70 minutes. Regenerative braking also plays a major role in extending the range of the VNR. Volvo claims that regenerative braking offers up to a 15% net benefit to the battery in certain conditions.
With any freight hauler, a major concern is load and hauling capacity. Therefore, torque is vitally important. The VNR boasts a healthy 455 horsepower figure and 4051 lb feet of torque and can be configured in a way to haul up to 82,000 lbs.
Volvo has been in the trucking game since 1928, and the VNR represents Volvo Trucks’ next exciting chapter. Volvo is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of trucks, among other commercial vehicles, and the VNR tests the waters with its lower electric range offering.
The VNR is scheduled to go into production later this year in both Canada and the United States. It will be interesting to see if Volvo’s bet on the trucking market, focusing on local hauls, will be successful. Time will tell whether the VNR can compete with other electric truck offerings, or whether it will be left behind charging while other trucks, such as the Tesla Semi, keep on hauling.