Volvo launches VNR Electric model in the U.S., Canada

December 4, 2020

Tom Berg

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Volvo’s VNR Electric 6x2 tractor
Volvo’s VNR Electric will be available as a 6×2 tractor (shown), a 4×2 tractor and a 4×2 straight truck. Production is scheduled to begin in early 2021. (Photo courtesy Volvo Trucks North America)

 

Volvo Trucks North America officially launched its VNR Electric model and says it will soon go into production at its factory in Dublin, Va.

Available in a single-rear-axle truck and 4×2 and 6×2 tractor versions, the all-electric vehicle is aimed at local and regional operations involving food, beverage and freight deliveries, executives said during a podcast on Dec. 3.

The zero-emissions vehicle will be a win for drivers, owners, the public and the environment, said Peter Voorhoeve, president of Volvo Trucks North America. The VNR E, based on Volvo’s VN Regional model, will be quiet, comfortable and efficient. Quietness will enable delivery operations during night hours, reducing daytime traffic congestion and speeding route times. Volvo will support operations will a standard Gold maintenance contract package and provide assistance in setting up charging infrastructures for customers.

“The Volvo VNR Electric marks a significant step forward for electromobility in an industry that we are committed to leading as it undergoes rapid, significant change,” Voorhoeve said. “Volvo Trucks believes and invests in sustainable electromobility. Our deep understanding of the transportation ecosystem – the technology, infrastructure and applications in the trucking industry – have enabled us to deliver a solution that is both advanced yet easy to own and operate.”

VNR Electric specs

The electric powertrain will make up to 455 horsepower and 4,051 lb-ft of torque, and includes a two-speed I-Shift automatic transmission, said John Moore, senior manager for Volvo electric vehicles.

Battery packs, located in saddle-mounted caged boxes on both sides of the truck, will have 260 kilowatts of capacity and a range of about 150 miles, depending on configuration and operation. They will charge up to 80% within 70 minute, using standard CCS 1 or 2 connectors. Top speed will be 65 mph.

A VNR Electric single-axle straight truck will have a gross vehicle weight rating of 33,200 pounds, Moore said. The two tractor configurations will be rated at 66,000 pounds gross combination weight for the 4×2 and up to 82,000 pounds for a 6×2 in specific applications.

VNR Electric battery packs
Battery packs are housed in caged boxes on either side of VNR Electric trucks and tractors. Powertrain will make up to 455 horsepower and includes a two-speed I-Shift automatic transmission. (Photo courtesy Volvo Trucks North America)

 

Straight truck VNR Electric
Straight truck version will have a GVW rating of 33,200 pounds. Quiet operation will keep drivers relaxed and refreshed, Volvo says. (Photo courtesy Volvo Trucks North America)

 

Fast learning curve

The Volvo VNR E offers the same high agility and visibility as Volvo’s VNR regional-haul model, so drivers benefit from a fast learning curve, ease of operation and service, and a seamless transition from miles per gallon to kilowatt hours per mile, said Voorhoeve, who was shown driving a VNR Electric on a highway. He noted that the new model’s instruments substitute a charging gauge for a no-longer-needed tachometer, but controls and human-machine interface and design will be familiar to current VNR drivers.

No diesel noise means drivers will have a significantly quieter ride, so will be less tired after long periods behind the wheel, Voorhoeve said. Volvo’s high safety standards, such as a crush-resistant cab and standard driver-assistance equipment, are among features built into a VNR E. Without a diesel engine, there’s no engine brake, but regenerative braking provides retarding to save service brakes and convert up to 15% of the kinetic energy into electricity that’s routed to the battery, depending on the duty cycle.

“I should become a truck driver,” the executive quipped for the cameras. “I’m getting a new job.”

Volvo customers in Europe and elsewhere are operating electric versions of the builder’s FE and FL cabovers, and experience from those has gone into the design of the VNR E for North America, Moore said. Volvo has also prototype VNR Es operating in Southern California as part of a government-backed electric trucks initiative. Dealers will begin taking orders in early January. LL

Tom Berg worked his way through college by driving trucks. Since 1978, he’s been writing about trucks and trucking. He holds a Class A commercial driver’s license and drives trucks as part of story research. While semi-retired, Berg still writes about semis as a contributing editor at Land Line.