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Volvo Trucks to Introduce All-Electric Version of VNR Model

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Transport Topics  /  December 11, 2018

WASHINGTON — Volvo Trucks will bring electric-powered commercial trucks to North America next year by introducing a battery-electric version of its VNR regional haul model.

The truck manufacturer said it will first deploy the zero-emissions VNR Electric tractor in 2019 in demonstrations in California and will begin selling the vehicle across North America in 2020.

Volvo made the announcement here Dec. 11 during a roundtable discussion with industry press hosted by Peter Voorhoeve, the new president of Volvo Trucks North America.

“We are proud to announce the Volvo VNR Electric, designed to support cities focused on sustainable urban development and fleets operating in a range of regional-haul and distribution operations,” said Voorhoeve, who began his current role Sept. 1.

Volvo did not reveal the truck’s final design or the vehicle’s range and weight, but said it will be based on the battery-electric powertrain used in its FE Electric cabover model for the European market.

The truck maker plans to deploy 23 of its VNR Electric models in southern California through a project dubbed Volvo LIGHTS, or Low Impact Green Heavy Transport Solutions. The project, aimed at reducing greenhouse-gas emissions, is a partnership between Volvo Group and California’s South Coast Air Quality Management District, as well as other companies involved in transportation and electrical charging infrastructure. The California Air Resources Board preliminarily awarded $44.8 million to SCAQMD for the initiative.

Volvo LIGHTS will transform freight operations at facilities of NFI Industries and Dependable Highway Express, Volvo said.

Voorhoeve described the project as an “end-to-end solution” addressing not just the vehicle, but the charging infrastructure and other concerns to make electrification work in real freight operations.

“Electric trucks bring many unknowns and our holistic focus through the LIGHTS project will help our fleet partners transition securely and smoothly based on their individual needs regarding driving cycles, load capacity, uptime, range and other parameters,” said Johan Agebrand, VTNA’s director of product marketing.

On the other side of the Atlantic, Volvo first unveiled the FE Electric and another all-electric model, the FL Electric, earlier this year, and announced plans to start selling those trucks in Europe in 2019.

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Volvo plans VNR Electric regional tractor by 2020

Fleet Owner  /  December 11, 2018

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Volvo Trucks’ first North American all-electric truck will be a VNR regional-haul tractor, the company announced Tuesday. The trucks will debut in California as demonstration units next year, operating in distribution, regional-haul and drayage operations. The VNR Electric will go on sale in North America in 2020.

“We are proud to announce the Volvo VNR Electric, designed to support cities focused on sustainable urban development and fleets operating in a range of regional-haul and distribution operations,” said Peter Voorhoeve, president of Volvo Trucks North America, during a meeting here with the media.

“The Volvo VNR Electric leverages the versatility of the new Volvo VNR series with a proven fully-electric powertrain, and represents a strategic stride toward a comprehensive electrified transport ecosystem,” he said. “Cities prioritizing sustainable urban development can leverage electrified transport solutions to help improve air quality and reduce traffic noise. Cleaner, quieter, fully-electric commercial transport also creates opportunities for expanded morning and late-night operations, helping cut traffic congestion during peak hours.”

The Volvo VNR Electric demonstration units will be based on the propulsion and energy storage technology currently being used in the Volvo FE Electric, according to the company, and builds on the Volvo Group’s accumulated expertise in electrified transport solutions. Sister company Volvo Buses has sold more than 4,000 electrified buses since 2010.

“The Volvo VNR is ideal for applications like heavy urban distribution, drayage and other regional applications where electric trucks will first have the greatest impact,” said Johan Agebrand, Volvo Trucks North America director of product marketing. “The VNR series has received tremendous industry acceptance since its April 2017 introduction, and the addition of an all-electric powertrain provides even greater opportunities to expand its footprint in the regional-haul market.”

Introduction of the Volvo VNR Electric models are part of a partnership, known as LIGHTS (Low Impact Green Heavy Transport Solutions) between the Volvo Group, California’s South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD), and industry leaders in transportation and electrical charging infrastructure.

The LIGHTS project is a truly unique opportunity to showcase a holistic approach to electrification of the freight transport industry as we handle ongoing challenges including electricity generation and battery optimization,” said Voorhoeve. “We appreciate that the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and the SCAQMD have recognized our leadership and trusted us to oversee this project that will ultimately result in the commercialization of fully-electric heavy-duty trucks. In addition to introducing the VNR Electric, through LIGHTS we will bring a complete sustainable freight solution with end-to-end electrification coordination with our many partners.”

"Electric trucks bring many unknowns and our holistic focus through the LIGHTS project will help our fleet partners transition securely and smoothly based on their individual needs regarding driving cycles, load capacity, uptime, range and other parameters,” said Agebrand. “Within the project we’ll look at everything from route analysis and battery optimization to servicing and financing. We always aim to offer high uptime and productivity.”

CARB has preliminarily awarded $44.8 million to SCAQMD for the Volvo LIGHTS project.  The Volvo LIGHTS project will involve 16 partners, and will transform freight operations at the facilities of two of the United States’ top trucking fleets.  Volvo LIGHTS is part of California Climate Investments, a statewide initiative that puts billions of Cap-and-Trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy and improving public health and the environment – particularly in disadvantaged communities.

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Volvo Reveals Electric VNR Model to Go On Sale in 2020

Heavy Duty Trucking (HDT)  /  December 11, 2018

Volvo Trucks has announced plans to sell an all-electric truck called the Volvo VNR Electric in North America by 2020.

Volvo had already announced that they would begin testing all-electric trucks in regional haul fleets in California beginning in 2019 before selling an electric truck model 2020 but was light on the specifics. Now we know that the VNR Electric will be based on the fully-electric powertrain technology currently being used in the Volvo FE Electric, which Volvo Trucks presented in May and will begin selling in Europe in 2019.

The company expects the VNR Electric to suitable for heavy urban distribution, drayage and other regional applications.

“The Volvo VNR Electric leverages the versatility of the new Volvo VNR series with a proven fully-electric powertrain, and represents a strategic stride toward a comprehensive electrified transport ecosystem,” said Peter Voorhoeve, president of Volvo Trucks North America. “Cities prioritizing sustainable urban development can leverage electrified transport solutions to help improve air quality and reduce traffic noise. Cleaner, quieter, fully-electric commercial transport also creates opportunities for expanded morning and late-night operations, helping cut traffic congestion during peak hours.” 

The Volvo VNR Electric came out of the Low Impact Green Heavy Transport Solutions partnership between Volvo Group and California’s South Coast Air Quality Management District as well as transportation and electrical charging infrastructure members. The California Air Resources Board allotted $44.8 million for the Volvo LIGHTS project, which is part of an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in California.

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Volvo taps VNR regional-haul tractor for electric truck option in North America

Jeff Crissey, Commercial Carrier Journal (CCJ)  /  December 11, 2018

Providing more clarity on its game plan toward an electric truck solution for the North American market, Volvo Trucks North America announced it is moving forward with an electric version of its 2017-launched Volvo VNR regional tractor originally developed for and produced in North America.

Dubbed the VNR Electric, the tractor will be put into test operations next year with 23 units at fleet customers NFI and Dependable Highway Express as part of the Low Impact Green Heavy Transport Solution (LIGHTS) partnership consisting of the Volvo Group, California’s South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) and other transportation and electrical charging infrastructure participants. The California Air Resources Board provided more than $44 million in funding for the project.

“We appreciate that the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and the SCAQMD have recognized our leadership and trusted us to oversee this project that will ultimately result in the commercialization of fully-electric heavy-duty trucks,” said Peter Voorhoeve, president of Volvo Trucks North America.

Voorhoeve said the VNR Electric will be commercially available beginning in 2020 after the completion of the LIGHTS project. But vehicle details are light other than a 113-inch BBC length and 50-degree wheel cut. Company executives said it will rely on fully electric powertrain technology from the Volvo FE and FL Electric cabovers introduced in Europe earlier this year and available for sale in 2019. The tractor also will feature a “driver-centric work environment” and stamped steel bumper to protect the lights and grille.

In addition to its European FL and FE siblings, the VNR Electric’s development will undoubtedly build on experience gained from Volvo Buses’ electric vehicle development. The group currently has added more than 4,000 electric buses into operation since 2010.

As the VNR Electric is still under development, no detailed specs were released other than a 113-inch BBC and 50-degree wheel cut.“We have decided in the group not to use cabover from Europe, but to electrify the VNR,” said Voorhoeve at a press roundtable at the House of Sweden in Washington, D.C. “From a technology point of view, we are using the electric drivetrain in the FE and FL. But we believe that for electric truck applications that the VNR is the electric truck for North America. We will showcase it in the LIGHTS project and then right after that we will commercialize it.”

The $90.7 million LIGHTS project is Volvo’s way of differentiating itself from other truck OEMs and startups in the electric truck space with by developing an end-to-end solution that addresses the tractor as well as the charging infrastructure that will be required by fleets at terminals and customer locations.

“Electric trucks bring many unknowns and our holistic focus through the LIGHTS project will help our fleet partners transition securely and smoothly based on their individual needs regarding driving cycles, load capacity, uptime, range and other parameters,” said Johan Agebrand, director of product marketing for Volvo Trucks North America. “Within the project we’ll look at everything from route analysis and battery optimization to servicing and financing.”

The buzz around electric vehicles created by companies like Tesla, Thor and Chanje have helped accelerate the conversation around electromobility in North America, said Magnus Koeck, vice president of marketing and brand management for Volvo Trucks North America, but he added Volvo Trucks has a built-in advantage of scalability of a global company that builds in excess of 200,000 trucks per year.

“Anyone can build one or two or 10 [electric trucks], but to have an entire global supply chain to build 200,000 trucks that are correctly spec’d for a particular customer in a particular market or region around the world, that shouldn’t be underestimated,” said Koeck.

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Will an electric Anthem follow? If not Volvo will be putting the squeeze on Mack regional and bulk haul.

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