Volvo Trucks unveiled a completely new, fully electric rear axle at the IAA transport show in Hannover, Germany, recently, freeing up space for more batteries to improve range for Volvo’s future battery-electric and fuel-cell-electric trucks.
Volvo will start serial production of European cabover trucks with the new e-axle in a few years to complement the current line-up of battery electric trucks.
The new e-axle will have a future in North America, as well, Volvo Trucks North America told HDT.
“We will use this technology in our battery-electric trucks and when we begin testing and operating fuel-cell trucks, which we plan to be doing in the second half of this decade,” said Chuck VanDyke, product line vice president, conventional. “The e-axle is a technology we’re excited about, as it’s going to further extend the range our customers will have in our HDBEV trucks.”
Volvo Trucks currently has six different models of battery-electric trucks in serial production, including the VNR Electric in North America. Depending on the model, the range is up to 440 km (273 miles) in one charge.
“This is a breakthrough for electric trucks and a clear signal that there will be a huge demand for public fast-chargers for heavy trucks in the near future, not the least along highways,” said Jessica Sandström, SvP Global Product Management at Volvo Trucks, in a news release.
The new e-axle, presented at the IAA commercial vehicle fair in Hannover, Germany, allows even more batteries on the truck by integrating the electric motors and the transmission into the rear axle. More batteries mean longer range, which creates opportunities for long distance transports to also be electrified. On the fuel-cell electric trucks that will be introduced in the second half of this decade, the additional space comes in handy for installing other components.
“We will continue with our versatile battery-electric trucks that are already in production,” said Sandström. “They can currently cover a wide range of transport assignments. In a few years, we will add this new rear e-axle for customers covering longer routes than today.
Volvo Trucks has a three-path strategy to reach zero emissions; battery-electric, fuel cell electric, and combustion engines that run on renewable fuels like biogas, HVO or even green hydrogen.
“Different technical solutions are needed to tackle climate change, since the availability of energy and fuel infrastructure differs between countries and regions and also between different transport assignments,” Sandström said.