• Volvo VNR Electric truck
  • Teaser image of the coming VNR Electric Class 8 heavy-duty tractor.
  • Image Credit: Volvo
Volvo VNR Electric truck
  • Volvo VNR Electric truck
  • Teaser image of the coming VNR Electric Class 8 heavy-duty tractor.
  • Image Credit: Volvo
Volvo VNR Electric truck
  • Volvo VNR Electric truck
  • Teaser image of the coming VNR Electric Class 8 heavy-duty tractor.
  • Image Credit: Volvo
Volvo Trucks, the world's second-largest truckmaker, will join the growing list of Class 8 truck companies to put an electric heavy-hauler on U.S. roads. The Swedish company announced in a tweet that its VNR Electric will head to California for demonstration testing in 2019, before commercial sales begin in 2020. All we know so far is that the VNR Electric will wear an illuminated logo on the grille and swoopier bodywork.

Volvo Buses began selling an FE electric bus in Europe in 2011, and has moved more than 4,000 of the FE buses since then. At the beginning of this year, Volvo Trucks announced the FL medium-duty electric truck in three battery sizes, able to haul 16 tons up to a maximum of 300 kilometers. That vehicle's been in use in Gothenburg, Sweden, with a garbage company and urban hauling company before it hits the market next year.

In April, having adopted the FE transmission to trucking, Volvo Trucks announced the FE medium-duty truck in Europe, capable of hauling 27 tons. The FE will go into small-scale service in Germany next year before commercial sales in 2020. The truck comes in two battery sizes, either 200 kWh or 300 kWh, powering two electric motors that produce up to 496 horsepower and 626 pound-feet of torque. The truck has a two-speed transmission and can run up to 124 miles. A full charge happens in two hours with 150-kW DC fast charging.

The VNR Electric is based on the Class 8 Volvo VNR truck on sale in the U.S. now with traditional diesel drivetrains, using the FE powertrain. As part of the automaker's LIGHTS program — Low Impact Green Heavy Transport Solutions — Volvo will put eight demo trucks with different battery configurations and another 15 pre-production and production units on Golden State roads with two trucking companies.

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) awarded $44.8 million to the state's South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) for the LIGHTS effort. There are 16 partners involved as Volvo works to solve round-the-clock and long-term electric trucking issues for a "comprehensive transport ecosystem," including urban frameworks, niche applications, second-life battery uses, and solar energy production. Numbers for the LIGHTS project say it will "reduce an estimated 3.57 tons of criteria pollutants (defined air pollutants) and 3,020 tons of greenhouse gases annually."

The domestic electric trucking club already counts Daimler, which has put 20 demo Freightliner eCascadia units to work at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Thor Trucks committed to deliver medium-duty Class 6 trucks to UPS, which are testing in California now. The Tesla Semi has been testing this year and has been promised for production in 2019. Diesel engine maker Cummins showed an electric truck effort last year with a 100-mile range. The Volkswagen Group owns two truck manufacturers and has put $1.7 billion to work on electric trucks in Europe, but neither brand is on sale here. It can be expected that once VNR Electric commercial sales begin, the technology will spread to Volvo's other U.S. truck brands, Mack and UD trucks.

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