The future of transportation is in the hands of electric trucks. They will be fast, they will be powerful and they will be efficient. And they will be here next year. Tesla Semi should reach its buyers sometime in 2019. Cummins and Daimler are both preparing electric trucks of different category to enter the market next year and now Volvo is saying it has something in its sleeve too. And it should reduce traffic jams.
How can an electric truck – literally just another vehicle on the street – help fighting congestion in city centres? Volvo Trucks reminds us that many cities now have strict regulation against noise pollution. This means that trucks have to operate during the busiest hours of the day. And that is a problem.
According to Volvo that because electric trucks will be much quieter, they will be able to roam streets at late evenings and at night. This will reduce the number of delivery trucks on the street during rush hours. Electric trucks will also be able to reach areas where conventional diesel trucks are simply not allowed to go due to noise and pollution regulations.
A study, conducted in Stockholm city, revealed that trucks operating off peak traffic hours managed to cut the delivery time by 66 %. These trucks can also be slightly bigger, since they will not have to navigate the daily rush hour traffic. A simple delivery truck can carry ten times as much cargo as the vans commonly used today. This means less trips and more effective utilization of road network.
People who live in the city will benefit too from reduction of noise and cleaner air. World Health Organization estimates that by 2030 more than 60 % of world’s population will live in urban areas. In just 12 years from now cities of the world will grow by a billion people. This will cause increase in traffic problems, which are already pretty bad. It is estimated that in EU alone congestion and related traffic problems cost about a 100 billion euros per year.
Therefore, Volvo is going to start selling urban distribution trucks in Europe next year. However, initial testing with selected reference customers is already going to start this year.
Jonas Odermalm, Head of product strategy medium duty vehicles at Volvo Trucks, said: “Our technology and knowhow 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. 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”. Issues regarding infrastructure are going to be discussed with cities and customers, in order to prepare the network for sustainable electric truck operations.