Volvo Trucks targets 50% electric sales in Europe by 2030
Swedish group announces three new models designed for intercity transport and construction
Volvo’s new goal of half of its European sales to be electric by 2030 is in line with rival Traton, which is owned by Volkswagen.
Volvo Trucks is aiming for half its sales in Europe to be electric by the end of the decade as truckmakers increasingly move away from diesel towards battery power.
The Swedish truckmaker, the world’s second-largest, which at present sells only a small number of battery-powered vehicles, on Tuesday announced three new heavy-duty electric trucks designed for intercity regional transport and urban construction. Production is due to start in the second half of next year.
Volvo estimates that this will give it electric models for about 45 per cent of all goods currently transported in Europe, and what it claims is the broadest portfolio in the industry.
“We are starting from zero electric trucks. It’s a segment that we are building up. . . There is huge interest from customers,” Roger Alm, president of Volvo Trucks, said.
Volvo’s new goal of half of its European sales to be electric by 2030 is in line with rival Traton, which is owned by Volkswagen. Traton is targeting 50 per cent electric sales for its Scania brand and that 60 per cent of Man delivery trucks and 40 per cent of its long-haul trucks will be zero-emission by the end of the decade.
Daimler, the world’s largest truckmaker, has said that, by 2039, all new trucks it sells will be zero-emissions, a year earlier than its Swedish rival.
Volvo started production of medium-duty electric trucks in 2019 used mostly in city deliveries and waste collection, while its heavy-duty vehicles of up to 44 tonnes will go on sale this year and into production in 2022. They will have a range of up to 300km.
Alm said that Volvo was taking electrification “market by market” and “customer by customer”, checking with logistics groups how much of their business they can shift to electric power. Drinks and grocery companies are among the early adopters, he said.
For the largest, long-distance trucks, Volvo thinks it will have to use hydrogen fuel cells and has bought itself into a joint venture with Daimler, which aims to start customer tests in about 2024 and production in the second half of the decade.
Much of the focus on electrification of vehicles has focused on cars, with Tesla in particular pushing established carmakers such as VW to up their game.
Trucks are less standardised than cars. Customers choose everything from equipment to weight distribution, and because the distances trucks have to travel can be much longer, battery range is more of a challenge.
Jessica Sandstrom, Volvo’s head of global product management, said that the market was developing quickly nonetheless: “It moves faster than we anticipated. We have this perfect storm: the customers are more and more wanting to make this move, the politicians are very clear in their ambitions, and at the same time the technology is evolving.”
She added that this would speed up the time to when electric trucks were cheaper than diesel but conceded that today they were much more expensive. Electric trucks attract subsidies in some countries and have lower running costs so Volvo is hoping that the total cost of ownership will soon be “competitive” with diesel. – Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2021