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Out in front: Volvo heads electrification

Volvo the global leader in booming electric heavy truck market Metal Tech News - February 24, 2023

Since starting electric heavy truck production in 2019, Volvo has swiftly become a leader in the market with a running tally of 4,300 vehicles on the road in over 38 countries, including nearly half of all heavy electric trucks registered in North America last year. Additionally, the demand for zero-emission trucks over 16 tons has increased by 200% in Europe just in the last year, and Volvo Trucks holds the highest share of that market.

Volvo currently offers the battery-electric vehicle industry's broadest heavy truck lineup, with six vehicles in series production. Supporting a clean energy-powered construction industry is a high priority for Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE), which has steadily made headlines since announcing its aims for carbon neutrality by 2040 and is anticipating 35% of sales being BEVs in 2030.

Until now, Volvo has sourced its battery cells from Korean supplier Samsung SDI, assembling them into ready-to-install battery packs in Ghent, Belgium, while production of the vehicles themselves takes place in Gothenburg.

As demand continues to skyrocket, Volvo announced its intention in early August to build its own commercial vehicle battery cell factory in Mariestad, Sweden. The company stands by its assertions that green global transportation systems must deliver value at an acceptable price point for customers, which includes sustainable development and production of batteries as well as vehicles.

The new Mariestad site will be less than an hour from the main powertrain plant in Skövde and two hours from the automaker's research and development centers and Gothenburg headquarters, taking advantage of the region's centralized industrial and logistics infrastructure.

The battery cells are being designed specifically for commercial vehicle applications to support Volvo's continuing global roll-out of electric trucks, buses, construction equipment, and drivelines. Volvo plans to increase capacity steadily to reach large-scale production by 2030.

"We are determined to lead the electric truck transformation and our market leading position in 2022, not only in Europe, but also in North America and other markets, is proof that we are doing just that. Although, the market for electric trucks is still small, but the trend is clear: many of our customers are now starting their own shift to electric. We intend to be the catalyst for this transition and aim for 50% of our global sales of new trucks to be electric in 2030," said Roger Alm, president of Volvo Trucks.

"We now have a product portfolio that can cover most types of transportation for all kinds of customers. Looking at the goods flow patterns, it's possible to electrify nearly half of all transports with our line-up of electric trucks, we see it as our mission to support our customers in making that happen."

Together with Parker Hannifin, an American corporation specializing in motion and control technologies, Volvo CE is offering a retrofit solution for mid-size range construction machinery by converting a 20-ton loader. The L120H Electric Conversion will be commercially available in Europe during 2023 using a conventional machine as the base, with no loss to performance. It will be supported by dedicated electromobility applications, allowing the operator to check the battery and charging status. Its 240-kilowatt-hour batteries will provide a runtime of approximately five hours in most medium-duty applications, and Volvo CE says it can charge from zero to 100% in two hours or less.

Both retrofit and EV approaches are needed for the industry to reach carbon reduction targets.

"There is no time to wait – we need to deliver solutions that allow our customers to achieve their decarbonisation goals," says Carl Slotte, head of sales region Europe at Volvo CE. "Our commitment to partnership allows us to take a leading position in transforming our industry with electric solutions that are built to fulfil market demand and tailored to suit the changing needs of our customers. Working together, we are scaling up our portfolio of electric machines, extending the versatility of our range and transforming our industry towards a carbon-neutral future."


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