Volvo Trucks said it’s time to “Take the Leap” and invest in zero-emissions transport.

“We are approaching a historical shift not seen since we shifted from carriages to trucks,” said Jessica Sandström, senior vice president of product management and sustainability for Volvo Trucks.

Volvo has set targets for 50% of its global sales to be electric by 2030, and to be selling only fossil-free trucks by 2040.

Early Fleet Adopters

In the U.S., Volvo highlighted Manhattan Beer Distributors in New York City, which recently took delivery of the first of five Volvo VNR Electric trucks.

The fourth largest beer distributor in the country, it has 400 trucks. More than 150 of those already operate on compressed natural gas, with 50 more on the way, but the company is taking the next step in its sustainability efforts with electric trucks.

Mitchel Bergson, chief transformation officer, said it’s “really an extension of what we’ve done over the last two decades.” There are benefits of being an early adopter, he said. “We get to get ahead of the game. The sooner we start, the faster we can train our people, and the faster we can create positive change… we can’t afford to wait to have system solutions to address climate change.”

For other transport companies thinking about going electric, he said, “Get started now. There’s no time to wait. You can test, you can pilot, but get some electric trucks in your fleet. I think electrification is coming… get on board with the change.”

Niklas Andersson, executive VP of DFDS’ Logistics Division, explained that it is analyzing the “flows” for specific routes and trucks. For this first truck, which will run approximately 120 kilometers per shift, it will be able to do overnight slow-charging. This also will save some time for drivers who won’t be spending time filling up with diesel.

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Beyond Making Trucks

Because batteries and charging infrastructure are important pieces of the puzzle, Volvo set up a separate business unit to focus on them called Volvo Energy. For instance, it will address the entire life cycle of batteries, from a first life in a truck, to a second life outside the trucks, such as in energy storage, and finally recycling.

For instance, Volvo said, it supports its customers with the most suitable charging hardware for their operations. European customers get a charger as part of the purchase, while in the U.S., the charger and installation are part of the overall financial solution.

While Volvo pointed out its own investments in charging infrastructure, Volvo also stressed that “investments have to be made by politicians in various countries around the world to make this happen,” Alm said.

“Things are moving, but of course they don’t move fast enough,” he said. In both Europe and the U.S., he said, “we need to scale up the volume a lot faster and drive electrification faster than we are today.”

What is required to make the transformation, he said, is “a big sense of urgency.”

“The technology is there. The transformation is happening. The charging infrastructure is being built out. We have the knowledge, we have the trucks, we have the information. We can make it happen.”

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