It looks like the electric tractor unit could be used across all applications eventually. A recent example of how the electric drivetrain is capable of viable operation comes as Volvo Trucks deliver an electric truck for heavy transport to a haulier in Gothenburg, Sweden. The truck can handle a total weight of 74 tonnes.
Across Europe, more and more hauliers are now starting to invest in electric trucks, also for heavy transport. Mattson Åkeri in Gothenburg, Sweden is one of them, and the company has now bought three heavy electric Volvo FH trucks from Volvo.
For the past few weeks, testing has been ongoing on one of the trucks in container traffic in the port area of Arendal in Gothenburg. The test is a so-called HCT (High-Capacity Transport) project. The truck with two trailers is 32 m long and can handle a gross combination weight of 74 tonnes.
“We want to show that all-electric solutions also work in applications with high total weights and a high utilization rate. Together with Mattson Åkeri, the Swedish Transport Administration and several other partners, we are now looking at how we can optimize the operation of the electric truck, including how charging should take place in the most efficient way,” explains Lena Larsson, project manager of the HCT project within Volvo’s technology organization.
The electric truck being tested is a Volvo FH Electric 6X4 and is charged with green electricity at the two fast 180 kW chargers that Mattsson Åkeri has installed in the company’s depot in Arendal. In the long term, the truck will also run between Gothenburg and the city of Borås, 70 km from Gothenburg.
In operation 12 hours a day
“Driving long and heavy loads using electricity works very well so far, and we can carry as much cargo as a diesel truck,” says Jan-Olof Mattsson, CEO of Mattson Åkeri. “The truck runs 12 hours a day, with a stop for charging when the driver takes a break. We charge with green electricity and thus get no CO2 emissions. Silent, electric operation also means a better working environment for the driver.”
Since Volvo Trucks started production of all-electric trucks in 2019, the company has sold nearly 5,000 electric trucks in 40 countries around the world. Volvo today offers the industry’s widest product range with six electric models in series production that meet a broad range of needs for transport in and between cities. Globally, Volvo Trucks has set the target that half of all trucks sold are electric by 2030.
High-Capacity Transports (HCT) means that the vehicle’s length and/or gross weight is allowed to increase, which allows for a larger load to be transported per vehicle. HCT can be applied on all types of drivelines. The idea is that HCT will contribute to lower transport costs, reduced environmental impact, higher traffic safety, reduced road wear and lower maintenance costs. In Europe there are a number of ongoing and planned HCT projects. One example is Finland, where it is permitted to drive with 76 tonnes of total weight and 34,5m truck combinations on most roads. Another is Sweden, where it is allowed to drive 74 tonnes (BK4 road network) and test, with permission from authorities, truck combinations of up to 34,5m and 100 tonnes on a defined road network.