Volvo Trucks looks to future with launch of new electric trucks and autonomous vehicle department
Volvo Trucks has announced the start of sales of its Volvo FL and Volvo FE electric trucks in selected markets within Europe and launched Volvo Autonomous Solutions with eye on the future
Volvo, which has already announced ambitious targets to phase out internal combustion-only vehicles, has announced that it is now selling a range of new electric trucks, as well as launching a new autonomous division in the hope of getting ahead of a series of trends.
This comes against a backdrop of upheaval in the automotive sector as electric drivetrains and connectivity promise major changes but also increased costs for manufacturers who need to retool their production lines and re-evaluate their business models.
Volvo’s new electric trucks
Volvo’s new FL Electric and Volvo FE Electric trucks have been developed with an eye on undertaking various logistics tasks in urban environment, particularly last-mile distribution, refuse collection, and other urban transport applications. The company hopes new emission standards as well as the quiet running of the vehicles and their ability to be able to be used in indoor loading areas and environmental zones will make them a hit in cities.
The start of serial production is planned for March 2020. Sales will start in Sweden, Norway, Germany, Switzerland, France and the Netherlands.
The Volvo FL Electric has capacity for a GVW (gross vehicle weight) of 16 tonnes, while the GVW of the Volvo FE Electric is 27 tonnes.
"Global urbanization requires urban logistics and truck transport with zero emissions and less noise with increasing urgency. With the Volvo FL Electric and Volvo FE Electric we are able to meet both the strong environmental demands as well as the high commercial requirements of our customers," says Jonas Odermalm, VP Product Line Electromobility.
"Volvo Trucks' solutions will be based on individual business needs that consider a number of parameters, such as driving cycles, load capacity and route analysis, to use the battery capacity in the most efficient way possible," continues Jonas Odermalm.
"While customer feedback has been positive," explains Jonas Odermalm, "we do recognize that charging infrastructure is still under development in most cities and we are working alongside both public and private partners to agree on a long-term strategy for the expansion of charging infrastructure. But it's clear that the pace of development of charging infrastructure needs to increase."
"Electric vehicles, charged with electricity from renewable sources, are indeed a powerful step towards more sustainable city distribution. However, there will not be one singular energy source that addresses climate change and all other environmental issues. Different types of transport require different types of driveline solutions," concludes Jonas Odermalm.
Volvo’s autonomous efforts
Volvo is setting up a new business area, known as Volvo Autonomous Solutions. Volvo said in a release that it hopes doing so will accelerate the development, commercialization and sales of autonomous transport solutions. Initial target segments are mining, ports and transport between logistics centres, in all of which Volvo has already deployed test cases.
In the Electric Site project, material handling in a quarry was automated and electrified. Volvo says it reduced operator costs by 40% and of carbon dioxide emissions by 98%.
At the Brønnøy Kalk mine in Norway, autonomous Volvo FH trucks will be used in commercial operation to transport limestone along a five-kilometer stretch.
Finally, its connected and electric vehicle Vera is being tested as part of an integrated solution to transport goods from a logistics centre to a port terminal in Gothenburg, Sweden.
Volvo Autonomous Solutions will constitute a new business area as of January 1, 2020. Its financial results will be reported as part of the Truck segment. Volvo says the recruitment process for the position as Head of Volvo Autonomous Solutions has commenced.
"We have experienced a significant increase in inquiries from customers. With the Volvo Group's wide range of offerings and broad experience of different applications, we have a unique opportunity to offer solutions that meet their specific needs. It is a logical next step for us to gather expertise and resources in a new business area with profit and loss responsibility to take autonomous transport solutions to the next level," says Martin Lundstedt, President and CEO.