In 2019 Volvo Trucks will start selling electric trucks in Europe, with the first units being put into operation with selected reference customers later this year. Electric trucks drastically reduce noise and exhaust emissions and will open up new ways to manage logistics. More goods will then be carried at night, meaning fewer trucks need to compete for road space during peak daytime hours.

“Electromobility is fully in line with Volvo Trucks’ long-term commitment for sustainable urban development and zero emissions”, says Claes Nilsson, President Volvo Trucks.

Claes Nilsson adds, “By using electrically-powered and quieter trucks for distribution in urban areas, we meet several challenges simultaneously. Without noise and exhaust emissions, deliveries could take place outside peak periods, like for example in the late evening or at night. This would reduce the burden on the roads during daytime rush-hour traffic, allowing both the road network and vehicles to be utilised far more effectively than today.”

A recent project, ‘Off-Peak City Distribution’, conducted by Stockholm City and KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm studied the effects of goods distribution at night in central Stockholm. Since the trucks avoid in peak-time traffic, transport assignments were carried out in one-third of the normal time.In order to improve the quality of life in urban environments more sustainable transport solutions need to be adopted. With well-developed logistics and more effective utilisation of roads in the evenings and at night, it could be possible that many smaller vehicles will be replaced by a few, larger vehicles, thus further contributing to lower emissions and less traffic.

For example, a 26-tonne distribution truck has just over ten times the load capacity of a 3.5=tonne van. If a larger proportion of transport assignments could be carried out during hours when fewer people are on the road, this will also significantly reduce the risk of road accidents.

“Our technology and know-how within electromobility are based on proven commercial solutions already in use on Volvo’s electric buses and solutions that were introduced in Volvo’s hybrid trucks as far back as 2010. However, the vehicles themselves are only one part of what is needed for large-scale electrification to succeed. Enabling long-term sustainable transport is a complex issue that requires a holistic and wide range of measures. We are working closely with customers, cities, suppliers of charging infrastructure and other key stakeholders to create the necessary framework for electrical trucks,” says Jonas Odermalm, Head of product strategy – Medium duty vehicles at Volvo Trucks.

“We believe in full electrification for urban distribution as a first step. However we are working with electrification for other transport applications. This is only the beginning”, concludes Claes Nilsson.