Volvo Trucks South Africa is currently busy with the homologation of its first extra-heavy electric truck units locally. Plans are to present the first of these vehicles to a local customer, KDG Logistics, within the next two months, once all statutory procedures have been adhered to.
Eric Parry, Volvo Trucks SA’s sustainable solutions manager, took the Volvo FM 4×2 truck-tractor through its paces on a trip from the company’s dealer in Durban to its facilities in Johannesburg – a 600km journey, with only one stop for charging.
“We aimed to prove that an extra heavy electric truck like this, can drive long distances. Even though we didn’t carry any payload, it still gave us a good indication of just what this truck is capable of,” said Parry. “Generally, battery electric trucks are used in regional distribution, operating in and around cities, running from distribution centres to stores, etc. But with proper planning, customers will be able to do so much more.”
Volvo Trucks South Africa is bringing in its complete extra-heavy electric truck range, which includes FH, FM and FMX models in truck-tractor and rigid configurations. Axle combinations will also include 4×2 through to 8×4 models. The full load on the first FM units will be 44 tonnes GCM (Gross Combination Mass). With a drive line that has 490kW of power and 2400Nm of torque, it will definitely not struggle to get the job done.
“Locally, there has been a lot of activity and interest around electromobility, a lot quicker than we anticipated, and the enthusiasm and opportunities in South Africa are there,” said Sally Rutter, Volvo Trucks South Africa’s sales director. “Irrespective of local challenges when it comes to loadshedding and infrastructure, a lot of customers are looking at setting up their own charging infrastructures to accommodate electromobility and their own sustainability goals.”
“These trucks can run meaningful kilometres in a day and if you have your charging set-up optimised, you can extend that range quite comfortably and match your operations to it,” said Parry. “Within regional operations, public charging is not really relevant for these types of fleets and having control of their own charging will allow customers to fix their costs of energy.”
Volvo Trucks electric trucks are designed to operate in a wide range of climates and environments. This includes higher altitudes and warmer conditions typically found in South Africa.
“These electric trucks will be working commercial vehicles, and are designed to be treated and driven as such,” said Parry. “We are excited about Volvo Trucks’ electromobility future in South Africa.”