Volvo Trucks Wins Southern California Clean-Air Project

It’s closing in on a year since Tesla took the wraps off its all-electric semi. Since then the company or some of its customers (Walmart, FedEx) have announced a significant number of orders for the trucks. Competitors were scarce on the ground. Until today.

Thursday morning Volvo Group announced a tentative award of $44.8 million from the California Air Quality Board (CARB) to the San Diego Air Quality Management District to fund the introduction of Volvo’s all-electric truck demonstrators in California next year. In its announcement, Volvo said it plans to roll out the electric semis across North America in 2020.

Volvo Group Trucks is based in Gothenburg, Sweden, and is the second-largest heavy truck maker in the world. The truck business was not acquired in 2010 by Geely Holding when the Chinese firm acquired Volvo Cars. From 1999 until 2010, Volvo AB was owned by Ford.

Volvo Trucks president Claes Nilsson said:

This is yet another important step towards our vision zero emissions. We are convinced that electrified truck transport will be a key driver of sustainable transports, and we’re proud to contribute the Volvo Group’s expertise to this innovative public-private partnership.

The partnership with San Diego is one of 16 Volvo LIGHTS (Low Impact Green Heavy Transport Solutions) projects. According to the announcement the company will deploy 8 Class-8 demonstration units (gross vehicle weight more than 15 tons) and another 15 precommercial and commercial units in the South Coast Air Basin. The project is expected to reduce an estimated 3.57 tons of air pollutants and more than 3,000 tons of greenhouse gases annually.

The heavy trucks will be based on technology Volvo already uses in its FE electric models: twin electric motors with 370 kW of maximum power and 2-speed transmission. The lithium-ion batteries are rated at 200 to 300 kWh and the range is 200 kilometers (about 120 miles).