Volvo’s factory near Gothenburg is now producing electric trucks, using the same people and equipment as for diesel trucks, but docking an electric module instead of an engine. Electric heavy trucks are being mass-produced in Europe, North America, and China at a faster rate than expected. This is an exciting moment for the industry, according to Felipe Rodriguez, an expert at the International Council on Clean Transportation. Only a few years ago, the idea of electric trucks was dismissed, but now companies are looking to develop and launch them on the market.
Electric heavy trucks require a lot of energy to move their heavy loads, which raises questions about their range and recharging capabilities. Charging terminals for electric trucks need to be dozens of times more powerful than those designed for electric cars. Moreover, electric trucks are more expensive than traditional diesel models, costing two to three times more, according to industry experts. However, the prices are expected to decline, and the higher upfront cost can be offset by cheaper running costs using electricity.
The sector is determined to move forward with the development of electric trucks, spurred by strict EU regulations aimed at reducing CO2 emissions and Chinese state support for national manufacturers. In 2022, electric trucks accounted for only one or two percent of heavy trucks sold worldwide, with 40,000 to 50,000 units sold, mostly in China. However, major Western truck makers, such as Daimler, Man, Volvo, Renault Trucks, Scania, and Tesla, have invested heavily in electric trucks. The global truck market is estimated at more than $200 billion per year, with almost six million units sold.
By 2030, 50 percent of the volume that Volvo Trucks sells should be zero emissions, and by 2040, everything sold should be zero emissions, according to Roger Alm, head of Volvo Group’s trucks division. This corresponds to the level necessary to achieve the objectives of the Paris Agreement to decarbonize road transport, according to the ICCT. Diesel long-haul trucks emit around one kilo of CO2 per kilometer. With Europe’s current electricity mix, which still comprises a significant amount of coal and gas, the carbon footprint of an electric truck is two-thirds lower than that of a diesel truck. Electric trucks are expected to account for 90 percent of the truck market by 2040.
Electric trucks are set to take over the market, with manufacturers investing heavily in their development and production. Despite some challenges, such as energy requirements and cost, the industry is determined to move forward with the adoption of electric trucks in response to stricter regulations and in pursuit of environmental goals. The growing market for electric trucks provides opportunities for companies to expand into new regions and participate in large-scale projects to increase the number of truck charging stations.
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