Volvo Is Expanding Its Electric Big Rig Truck Lineup

Can these heavy trucks go the distance on electricity?

Volvo Trucks electric Concept Truck (photo: Volvo Trucks)

Volvo is looking to expand its lineup of electric big rig trucks in Europe and beyond. The company already started sales of electric heavy trucks in Europe for short range delivery and waste management duties, but the company sees an expanding market and demand for more quiet and environmentally sustainable transportation solutions.

Volvo is specifically focused on heavy trucks in big cities and urban environments where near silent trucks with zero emissions are more attractive.

Heavy construction trucks are next in the expansion. Volvo is planning to expand the electric FL and FE truck segments. According to a report from InsideEvs – these “regional delivery” trucks average about 80,000 km (50,000 miles) per year. This calculates to a required loaded driving range requirement of under 200 miles per day.

There is no question that electric motors deliver more than enough power to drive very heavy vehicles. The limiting factor remains with the amount of energy stored in the batteries. A gallon of regular gasoline provides approximately 33 kWh of energy. One gallon of diesel fuel is equivalent to about 40 kWh of energy. Many current semi trucks carry 100-200 gallons of diesel fuel on board.

These electric big rig trucks will have to pack A LOT of battery capacity to provide usable driving range.

If a current diesel-powered big rig averages 7 MPG with a full combined weight of 80,000 lbs. It means a diesel truck burns nearly 29 gallons of diesel to go 200 miles. 29 gallons of diesel converts into 1,170 kWh of required energy. Electric motors can run more efficiently than diesel engines, but we are still talking about lots of big and heavy lithium-ion batteries to get an electric truck to go the distance.

Here are all of the results of our real-world towing and hauling tests with a Tesla Model X.