Battery-powered Volvo VNRs set for testing later this year

Volvo’s electric VNR, show to industry press last week in Dublin, Virginia.Volvo’s electric VNR, show to industry press last week in Dublin, Virginia.

In line with the company’s expectations set last fall, Volvo said last week that its all-electric Class 8 VNR tractor will soon be deployed in testing this year at the Port of Los Angeles, with fleets NFI and Dependable Highway Express slated to put the trucks in operation.

The tests will be conducted with California’s South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD), and Volvo will perform demonstrations later this year. The company says the electric VNR will enter production next year.

Four packs of batteries, each weighing about 1,150 pounds and manufactured by Akasol, supply onboard power.Four packs of batteries, each weighing about 1,150 pounds and manufactured by Akasol, supply onboard power.

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) awarded $44.8 million to SCAQMD for the Volvo Low Impact Green Heavy Transport Solutions (LIGHTS) project – a green initiative involving 16 partners.

Volvo’s electric VNR features center-mounted dual electric motors with a 2-speed gearbox.

Behind that is a mostly conventional driveline. Four packs of batteries, each weighing about 1,150 pounds, supply onboard power. The battery system is designed like a shelf, allowing packs to be slid in and out for service.

The electric VNR leans heavily on powertrain technology from the Volvo FE and FL electric cabovers introduced in Europe last year.

Initial sales of the electric VNR will be limited via regional rollout in California. The first offering, slated for late next year, will be straight trucks and tractors in 4X2, 6Ă—2 lift axle and 6Ă—4 configurations with a GVW of 66,000 pounds. By the end of 2021, Volvo hopes to boost GCW to 80,000 pounds with improvements made to the eclectic driveline and next generation batteries, says Brett Pope director of electric vehicles for Volvo Trucks North America.