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Volvo Trucks Beats Tesla to the Electric Punch

Volvo Trucks has introduced the first all-electric commercial truck, with sales in Europe set to start next year.

Not quite as big as Tesla’s pre-production tractor-trailer, the Volvo truck is meant for urban distribution and “refuse operations,” which we’re pretty sure is Volvonese for picking up garbage.

Powered by a 185 kW motor, kicking out 174 hp and 313 lb-ft of torque (at the motor), it sends that power to the rear wheels through a two-speed transmission and is rated at 16 tonnes GVW.

Its 2-6 lithium-ion batteries (which, by the way, are sourced ethically) combine for 100-300 kWh of storage. That’s good for a range of about 300 km and it can be charged in as little as an hour (or overnight on regular plugs).

It doesn’t end here, though. As Claes Nilsson, President of Volvo Trucks, says there will be more electric trucks to follow.

“We’re immensely proud to present the first in a range of fully electrically-powered Volvo trucks ready for regular traffic,” says Nilsson. “With this model, we are making it possible for cities that aim for sustainable urban development to benefit from the advantages of electrified truck transports.”

The lack of internal combustion doesn’t just mean less diesel exhaust in cities, it could also help with noise pollution. Along with just being nice, these are big advantages for cities, because the trucks don’t have to contribute to daytime traffic, cutting down delivery times by a third (in tests run in Stockholm) and getting out of your way during rush hour.

The technology making these trucks go is borrowed from Volvo Trucks’ sister, Volvo Buses, which has already sold more than 4,000 electrified buses since 2010.

According to Jonas Odermam, head of product strategy, these trucks won’t quite be one-size fits all.

“In order to make the transition secure and smooth, we will offer holistic solutions based on each customer’s individual needs regarding driving cycles, load capacity, uptime, range and other parameters,” says Odermalm. “Such a solution may encompass everything from route analysis and battery optimization to servicing and financing.”

The first two trucks will be sold to Portuguese recycling company Renova and TGM, a haulage company.

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