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Volvo chills out battery trucks in the Arctic

Volvo Trucks cold weather testing of its battery electric models has led to an integrated system which can be controlled via a smartphone app which allows for optimum heating or cooling of the battery pack before starting


Volvo Trucks has been testing i’s electric trucks in extremely cold weather close to the Arctic Circle, with the result being a feature to maintain battery performance, even when the temperature is far below zero.

“We have customers all over the world and our trucks need to perform everywhere, so harsh climate testing is essential, of course including our electric range” Volvo Trucks SVP product management Jessica Sandström said.

Volvo wanted to know what happens to a battery-powered truck when the thermometer shows -25 degrees Celsius and hard winds set in. So, it conducted winter tests in the far northern part of Sweden.

“When testing our trucks out in the field, close to the Arctic Circle in northern Sweden, we assess all the unpredictable elements of nature,” Sandström said.

“The wind builds up ice on the truck, which gives us great opportunities to make sure that everything performs correctly under extreme circumstances. Our tests have shown that it works very well to operate our electric trucks in these really cold environments.”

Volvo said one tangible result of the winter testing is a new feature called Ready to Run.

This feature prepares the truck for the workday, when needed by pre-heating, or if operating in very warm weather, by cooling the batteries and the cab of the truck.

The optimal temperature for the batteries is around 25 degrees C and the driver can easily start the preheating or precooling, remotely via an app. 

Electric trucks are an important part of the solution for reducing CO2 emissions, but so far they represent only a modest percentage of the total truck market. Only a few hundred all-electric heavy-duty trucks have been delivered to transporters in Europe this year.

“We are driving the change and have a leading position in the European market for electric trucks,” Sandström said.

“We already today have electric trucks in serial production and are delivering to customers all over Europe and North America. Our goal is that 50 per cent of our total truck sales will be electric by 2030.”

The complete Ready to Run feature will be available on the Volvo FH, FM and FMX Electric that are used for regional haul and light construction in Europe.


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