Volvo Trucks will start selling electric trucks in Europe in 2019, and the first units will be put into operation with select customers in 2018, it has announced.
It has also reaffirmed its commitment to offer electric trucks to American customers, saying: "Work toward commercialisation of electric trucks in North America is ongoing as advancements in battery technology accelerate viability for North American duty cycles and energy demands for a broad range of applications", but has not yet given a target date.
The Swedish-based firm said more transport assignments can be carried out at night, resulting in fewer trucks competing for road space during rush hour.
"Electromobility is fully in line with Volvo Trucks’ long-term commitment to sustainable urban development and zero emissions,” said Göran Nyberg, President of Volvo Trucks North America.
"By using electrically powered and quieter trucks for goods transport in urban areas, we meet several challenges simultaneously. Without disturbing noise and exhaust gases, it will be possible to operate in more sensitive city centers. Transport may also take place throughout less busy periods, for example in late evening and at night.
"This will reduce the burden on the roads during daytime rush-hour traffic, allowing both the road network and vehicles to be utilised far more effectively than today.”
“Urban distribution and other pick-up and delivery applications are a starting point for battery-powered electric trucks, but we envision broader deployment of electric trucks for freight movement in North America as technologies and the market mature."
In a release, the company said that "in order to improve the quality of life in urban environments, more sustainable transport solutions need to be adopted", also noting that replacing smaller vehicles with larger trucks would cut down on traffic, pollution and accidents.
Keith Brandis Volvo Trucks North America vice president for product planning, commented: "Electric vehicles will be part of our future, but the vehicles themselves are only one part of what is needed for large-scale electrification to succeed.
"Enabling long-term sustainable transport is a complex issue that requires a holistic and wide range of measures. We are working closely with customers, cities, suppliers of batteries and charging infrastructure, and other key stakeholders to create the necessary framework for battery-powered electric trucks.”
A definite rival for Volvo in the electric truck market will be Elon Musk's Tesla, which has already attracted orders from the likes of DHL Supply Chain, Anheuser-Busch and PepsiCo for its new Semi-truck.
In addition, Daimler has delivered the first batch of its fully-electric FUSO eCanter truck to customers in Europe.
The German automotive company unveiled its new design in October last year and vehicles have now been dispatched, with DHL its highest profile customer on the continent.