“Range doesn’t matter”: electric trucks running 24/7 with a small 40kW charger

“autonomy does not matter”: electric trucks that work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with a small 40 kw charger

From the response to the stories we’ve written about heavy-duty electric trucks, it’s clear that there are a lot of misconceptions about how they can operate and what they can do.

There’s a total obsession with range, and the assumption that unless they can go 600km without stopping to recharge, they’re not much good for anything.

However, early adopters of heavy-duty electric trucks are turning these misconceptions on their head, and an example has been provided by a European company Rockwool, which specializes in transforming volcanic rock into stone wool, a type of industrial insulation. interesting.

They have been using an earlier version of the heavy-duty electric Volvo FM, one of the heavy-duty electric vehicles that has just started series production in Gothenburg, and which a group of Australian journalists were able to drive last week.

This electric truck has a load capacity of up to 44 tons and a range of 300 km. In the application used by Rockwool, the range did not matter. It has been operating 24/7, across three different shifts, without any downtime, moving large quantities of rock from its operations within a Norwegian city.

The reason the electric truck can do this is simple. It has a 540kWh battery and works on a 14 km loop transporting goods between the distribution center and its destination. It uses 1.4kWh every kilometer and every time you return to the base to charge it, you take the opportunity to charge it at the same time, with a relatively small 40kW charger.

According to Kjetal Bergflodt, head of alternative drivelines at Volvo Norway, that meant he could practically replace the electricity he used after each loop while charging. Its state of charge never dipped below 50 percent. The truck could continue to operate without interruptions in deliveries or shifts.

“That was a revelation,” he says. He admits that it’s not really necessary to load the truck at the end of each shift; it would probably be easier to use a bigger, faster magazine between turns. “But he showed that it could be done,” she said.

And there were other benefits too. Not only for drivers who enjoyed calmer and more relaxed working conditions, but also for local residents, who were no longer woken up by passing diesel trucks up to 30 times a day.

“These trucks will make a difference to the drivers and the people who live there,” he says. The trial was so successful that Rockwool has placed an order for two heavy-duty electric trucks.

Bergflodt says what’s significant about this is that most trucks don’t make that many trips. “Range doesn’t matter as much,” he says. Around 60 per cent of transport in Norway is under 300 kilometres, which is within the range of its new range of heavy-duty electric trucks. But it is enough to cover a large part of the market.

And, with the help of Norwegian government subsidies, which cover 40 percent of the extra cost of the electric vehicle, it delivered a six-year payback on a truck that travels 100,000 km a year.

The author traveled to Sweden and Norway as a guest of Volvo Trucks.

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