Volvo Trucks North America announced Tuesday that it will deploy 23 all-electric Class 8 tractors next year in California. The company plans to demonstrate and test an all-electric version of its regional Volvo VNR tractor in partnership with fleets NFI and Dependable Highway Express.
The company in September announced plans to go to market with an electric tractor in North America in 2020, with testing to begin in 2019. Tuesdays’ announcement provided specifics into the company’s plan for commercializing an electric Class 8 truck.
The tests will be held as part of the Low Impact Green Heavy Transport Solution (LIGHTS) partnership consisting of the Volvo Group, California’s South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) and other transportation and electrical charging infrastructure participants. The California Air Resources Board provided more than $44 million in funding for the project.
“We appreciate that the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and the SCAQMD have recognized our leadership and trusted us to oversee this project that will ultimately result in the commercialization of fully-electric heavy-duty trucks,” said Peter Voorhoeve, president of Volvo Trucks North America.
Voorhoeve said the VNR Electric will be commercially available beginning in 2020 after the completion of the LIGHTS project. But vehicle details are light, other than a 113-inch BBC length and 50-degree wheel cut. Company executives said it will rely on fully electric powertrain technology from the Volvo FE and FL Electric cabovers introduced in Europe earlier this year and available for sale in 2019. The tractor also will feature a “driver-centric work environment” and stamped steel bumper to protect the lights and grille.
In addition to its European FL and FE siblings, the VNR Electric’s development will build on experience gained from Volvo Buses’ electric vehicle development. The group currently has added more than 4,000 electric buses into operation since 2010.