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2022 Volvo FH electric

Here it is, the first all-electric truck from Volvo Trucks. And it will not only be available in the lighter versions for distribution transport, but also as a heavy truck and even as a tractor unit.

You can imagine that there is relatively little space on the outside of the frame between the axles, even if you take aside everything else, such as the two 12V batteries that are still required and the air tanks of the brake system, the former and one of the air tanks in the center all the way to the back.

Of course, a double axle is only possible with fewer batteries and with a wheelbase of more than 3.8 m even six instead of the five high-voltage batteries used here. Compared to those in longer Volvo trucks, these are also shorter and built a little higher so that they can all find their place at the edge of the chassis.

In this way, the capacity of the individual battery blocks could be maintained at 90 kWh, which in the case of our tractor truck after all results in 450 kWh. It is charged with up to 800 V and 250 kW of power, which Björn Nyland has already found on one of the trucks at a Norwegian charging station.

There is still a surprising amount left of the combustion engine drive, e.g. rear axle, cardan shaft and even the transmission. Only the engine had to make room for two to three possible electric motors with 330 - 490 kW (450 - 666 hp) continuous output. After all, the possibilities for ancillary units on the transmission were retained.

What are the electric motors with 12 gears for? After all, they are shifted automatically and ensure that you start off in the highest possible gear. If a particularly large amount of torque is then required, a downshift is carried out. It is becoming increasingly apparent that electric motors also have speed ranges with lower consumption. You can use them here.

Likewise the recuperation. This now replaces the retarder and can be switched off in two stages up to one-pedal driving, but also completely. As you can see, such a heavy electric truck can do a lot more than just be particularly quiet.

The question remains whether pure electric mobility is sufficient for heavy commercial vehicles. For the 4.5 hours until the first forced break, it could just be sufficient with an average of well under 70 km/h in summer, because the manufacturer promises a consumption of around 110 kWh/100km when fully charged at 80 km/h.

Of course, a break of 30 minutes is not enough for full charging. Here one offers a full charging in 2.5 hours. So there is still a gap of 2 hours for long-distance traffic, even if all service areas and truck stops were equipped with the appropriate charging stations.

But keep in mind that this is one of the first prototypes and battery technology is advancing. Incidentally, the loss of payload is relatively small because the legislator accepts two tons of the three tons as additional unladen weight.

One sees the new world slowly coming, perhaps even with flexible solar collectors in the trailer tarpaulin. But one fact cannot be ignored. If autonomous driving prevails practically without breaks, significantly more energy per unit of time will be required.

This becomes even more of a challenge when countless trucks arrive at a charging station without a driver. Their logistics, including waiting areas, already should be planned for when planning truck charging stations. Because, trucks could actually drive autonomously around the clock, with a focus on the night.

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