Volvo Will Start Selling Electric Trucks Next Year With Up To 150 Miles Of Range And An Insane 4,000+ LB-FT Of Torque

Illustration for article titled Volvo Will Start Selling Electric Trucks Next Year With Up To 150 Miles Of Range And An Insane 4,000+ LB-FT Of Torque
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Truck YeahThe trucks are good!

Just in case you weren’t aware what all those truckers are doing at those truck stops while you load up on Combos and aged well-rotated hot dogs, they’re mostly doing things with fluids: ejecting piping-hot urine from their bladders and injecting tepid diesel fuel into their trucks. Trucks, of course, use an awful lot of fuel and generate a lot of emissions. Volvo’s new VNR Electric truck will help mitigate at least the injection part of this equation, though the range of “up to 150 miles” will likely limit these trucks to regional routes.

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Production of the electric trucks is scheduled for early 2021, in two primary categories: a single-axle straight truck with a gross vehicle weight rating of 33,200 lbs think something like a regional delivery truck, maybe one of those refrigerated trucks or a beer-hauler.

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The other configuration is a tractor truck think a big 18-wheeler-type in a 4x2/66,000-pound gross combination weight rating (GCWR) and a 6x2 with up to 82,000 GCWR.

Volvo states that the 264-kWh lithium-ion batteries have an “operating range of up to 150 miles based on the truck’s configuration,” which suggests that they’re targeting short-haul routes, and makes me think the delivery truck variant will likely see more use than the bigger tractor configurations.

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The design and layout of the trucks are adapted from Volvo’s diesel machines, with the side-mounted fuel tanks replaced with large battery boxes. According to Volvo:

The industry-leading safety criteria and features found in the Volvo VNR model are retained in the Volvo VNR Electric model including the highest safety standards in the construction of the cab and chassis. The construction of the battery support carrier system was also designed with these same safety standards in mind. The VNR Electric features the same best-in-class active safety systems as the VNR model. 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 also enhance serviceability.

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The batteries can charge up to 80 percent in 70 minutes, and the drivetrain makes 455 horsepower and a planet-dragging 4,051 pound-feet of torque. Depending on the wildly variable conditions of the route and the environment, Volvo claims that up to 15 percent of battery power can be reclaimed via regenerative braking.

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Electric trucks for regional routes make an awful lot of sense, and Volvo does make some pretty great trucks

Senior Editor, Jalopnik • Running: 1973 VW Beetle, 2006 Scion xB, 1990 Nissan Pao, 1991 Yugo GV Plus, 2020 Changli EV • Not-so-running: 1977 Dodge Tioga RV (also, buy my book!: https://rb.gy/udnqhh)

DISCUSSION

hammerheadfistpunch
HammerheadFistpunch

Something is up with those figures. 455 hp and 4051 lbs-ft are numbers that don’t make sense together. Either this motor hardly spins at all and makes stupid torque but no speed, or this is quoted as wheel torque.

Power is work x rate, so if electric motors make all their torque at stall, something we all “know”, then 4051 lbs-ft is 455 hp at around 600 rpm. That’s inefficient for an electric motor and makes no sense given its not hard to get revs from a motor. Electric motor efficiency peaks someplace between 4000-6000 rpm generally, after that torque starts to fall off and efficiency drops so that’s where you would aim. At 4000 rpm we are talking about a much more reasonable 600 lbs-ft for 455 hp. It also assumes a roughly 15:1 reduction, which is also a reasonable assumption for an EV drivetrain.

at 15:1 wheel torque is indeed 4000+ lbs-ft, but it’s misleading to say that’s what the motor produces...because it isn’t.

We have to get consistent in talking about power as we move from ICE to EV.

Also makes me wonder about transmissions in these because if assumptions are correct there isn’t a lot of hp around stall with those ratios compared to other class 8 trucks. 600-lbs-ft is about half what a normal class 8 has from a stop, though motor speed would ramp up quickly and power would gather quickly with a 15:1 reduction. At that ratio at 1000 rpm in the EV you are looking at 2 mph and 115 hp and peak power of 455 by 10 mph, but then your motor is redlining by 25 mph. So these still must have some kind of transmission.