Not to be left out of the push for electric and electrified commercial vehicles, Volvo Trucks announced Tuesday that it will begin selling electric trucks in Europe in 2019. The company sees its electric trucks as a way to not only reduce pollution but also alleviate traffic congestion and improve logistics.
Volvo Trucks, a separate entity to the Volvo car division, did not provide any details surrounding batteries or the electric powertrain, but said the electric trucks will help reduce noise pollution and could allow drivers to operate at night after peak traffic hours. They will be shorter range trucks designed for urban deliveries.
"Transport may take place throughout less busy periods, for example in late evening and at night. This will reduce the burden on the roads during daytime rush-hour traffic," Claes Nilsson, President Volvo Trucks, said in a statement.
The company cited a recent study conducted by Stockholm City, Sweden and KTH Royal Institute of Technology. The study showed trucks operating at night in central Stockholm completed assignments one-third quicker than during normal operating times. Electric semis wouldn't disturb residents with noise or exhaust pollution.
Volvo Trucks is the latest to toss its hat into the electric truck ring. The headline name is, of course, Tesla, with the Tesla Semi. The Silicon Valley automaker's semi will supposedly go 500 miles on a single charge. Other competitors include Thor Trucks, Cummins, and Daimler's E-Fuso brand. Each company has plans to bring electric semi-trailer trucks to market with varying ranges, though Cummins also envisions a diesel-engine range extender.
The electric truck announcement from Volvo Trucks follows news that Chinese holding company Zhejiang Geely purchased an 8.2 percent stake in AB Volvo, the maker of Volvo-branded trucks and buses. AB Volvo will likely benefit from any electric powertrain development ongoing within Geely. Volvo Trucks will deploy the first electric semi trucks with selected customers this year ahead of a 2019 launch.