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