Electric cars are a hot topic globally, but electric heavy duty trucks are appearing in the portfolios of all of the major players, plus some newcomers, on the North American truck scene, Diesel News’ US Correspondent, Steve Sturgess, reports.
Volvo says it will have 23 production-ready, electric, heavy-duty trucks in a Los Angeles demonstration project during 2019. The Low Impact Green Heavy Transport Solutions (LIGHTS) program is a $44.8 million joint initiative by Volvo and California’s South Coast Air Quality Management District.
“This is yet another important step towards our vision of zero emissions,” said Claes Nilsson, President of Volvo Trucks. “We are convinced that electrified truck transport will be a key driver of sustainable transports, and we’re proud to contribute the Volvo Group’s expertise to this innovative public-private partnership.”
For the North American demonstration, the recently introduced VNR, regional-haul conventional will be the base vehicle for the electric powertrain. It is a full Class 8 vehicle (>15 tonne) that will likely be spec’ed for operation at up to 80,000-pound (36-tonne) gross vehicle weight. The demonstration units will be based on the technology currently being used in the European Volvo FE Electric, which Volvo Trucks presented in May and will begin selling there in 2019. The North American battery-electric VNR is to enter series production in 2020.
The prime movers are to be based on the Southern California’s ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and serve as drayage units hauling containers out to five demonstration locations, currently proposed for Chino, Fontana, Ontario, La Mirada and Placentia – all distribution points in cities local to the greater Los Angeles area.
The significance of these cities is that they are 30 to 50 miles (48-80km) from the ports, so well within the range of electric drayage trucks that in the Volvo case, are likely to have a range of 120 to 150 miles (200-250km) from battery capacities of 200 to 300 kWh. The Euro Volvo FE is being tasked as a refuse truck with a powertrain consisting of two electric motors with 370 kW max power and 260 kW continuous power (500 and 350 hp respectively) with a Volvo 2-speed transmission. Max torque of the electric motors is 850 Nm (627 lb-ft).
The announcement was made by Volvo Trucks North America president Peter Voorhoeve at a round-table press event shortly before the Christmas holidays. “From solar energy harvesting at our customer locations, to electric vehicle uptime services, to potential second uses for batteries, this project will provide invaluable experience and data for the whole value chain,’ he said.