Heavy duty luxury vehicle manufacturer Volvo had launched their electric-powered heavy duty
truck during the last week in California. Nicknamed Project “Volvo Lights”, the vehicle series
has a set of new VNR electric heavy-duty trucks which have similar capabilities when pitted
against their IC engine counterparts.
When we look under the hood, Volvo has introduced two different variants of the truck on to the
market; one has a 6-battery configuration with a 300kWh of energy storage and another with a 4
battery configuration with 200kWh of energy storage. Under optimal testing conditions, this
electric giant can run a range of 120-280 km on one single charge. The range of the vehicle
depends upon many factors including the carrying load and the type of terrain.
The charging capacity of the vehicle is at 150kW DC or 11kW AC and the batteries are placed
behind the cabin on to the sides of the truck. This configuration allows the batteries to be easily
accessed. There is also an option for battery swapping allowing the trucks to be out of the
charging stations as soon as possible. Trucks are powered by a set of two motors with a
combined peak power of 536hp and 346hp continuous power with a two-motor gear
configuration. The truck, however, is lacking a disk brake and instead would be carrying an air
brake system which would be lighter for extracting more driving range. The truck also utilizes a
regenerative braking technique that has a positive impact while decelerating. With the option to
select different levels of regeneration it becomes easy for the driver to cruise the vehicle through
difficult road conditions.
Talking about the cabin comfort, this electric monster has a familiar layout as any modern day
diesel truck engine has with a soft air ride suspensions and large windows for comfort and
visibility. Performance-wise, the truck seems to have the capability to beat most of the diesel
drinking counterparts in the road and might also give some competition to a few slower cars on
the road without much of the smoke and gear grindings.
The Volvo team seems to be a bit diesel about the per-unit cost as a few features, add-on’s and
modifications are yet to be integrated into the system. It has been speculated the VNR electric
would be costlier than their diesel cousins by a larger gap but with the added advantage of lower
running cost and environmental friendliness, it is worth considering.