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The Feeling is Electric

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Ian Wright, the founder of Wrightspeed and co-founder of Tesla, once explained to me that having millions of electric cars on the road will only make a small impact on reducing carbon emissions because in the grand scheme of things, cars really don’t burn that much fuel and they’re already relatively clean.

He told me that if we really want to make a significant difference, we have to electrify fleets. He mentioned specifically waste collection vehicles and delivery trucks. His intention with Wrightspeed is (according to the website) to provide “the lowest emissions and best energy efficiency for heavy vehicles in urban drive cycles.” The company designed and developed range-extended powertrains for heavy-duty vehicles.

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Volvo Trucks has now revealed its first all-electric truck for urban distribution and refuse operations. Each truck is powered by lithium-ion batteries and has a range of slightly more than 186 miles. The first two Volvo electric trucks will be deployed in Gothanburg, Sweden, and operated by the waste collection and recycling company, Renova, and trucking firm, TGM. Claes Nilsson, the president of Volvo Trucks says, “We’re immensely proud to present the first in a range of fully electrically-powered Volvo trucks ready for regular traffic. 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.”

Jonas Odermalm, the head of product strategy for Volvo FL and Volvo FE at Volvo Trucks, says, “From experience, we know how important it is that cities, energy suppliers, and vehicle manufacturers cooperate in order for large-scale electrification to become a reality. With attractive incentives, agreed standards, and a long-term strategy for urban planning and expansion of the charging infrastructure, the process can go much faster.”

Wrightspeed already has a few of its electric powertrains on vehicles owned by Recology. With Volvo now entering the electric fray in Sweden, it may not be long until electric collection vehicles are commonplace in the US. I’ve talked to operators who are looking forward to a quiet vehicle, and even more so, they want to see and feel the low end torque.

There isn’t any actual video of the Volvo FL Electric in action yet, but this should give you a pretty good idea of its capabilities.

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