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Pilot testing of electric trucks in construction begins

| 4 min read
Volvo Trucks is taking a significant step forward in its electromobility journey by beginning pilot tests of a fully electric transport solution for the construction industry. The tests are being run in collaboration with long-standing customer Swerock. The benefits will not only include cleaner and quieter transport, but also the opportunity to evaluate how electric trucks can be used in the heavy-duty sector.
The Volvo FMX and FM parked near a charging station
An important part of the test is to look at the overall electromobility eco-system, to help find charging opportunities in line with the demands on productivity.

For the next two years, a fully electric Volvo FM truck equipped with a mixer will be quietly moving through Gothenburg and its surrounds, delivering concrete to Swerock’s customers. At the same time, a fully electric Volvo FMX truck fitted with a hooklift will be put to work at some of the city’s larger infrastructure projects.

This will not only enable Swerock to reduce its environmental impact and fuel consumption, but also brings a host of other benefits for its business, its employees, its customers and society as a whole. For example: operating without exhaust fumes and noise means healthier working conditions, and greater flexibility to operate after hours in residential areas when noise restrictions normally apply. 

A man in high visibility clothing carries a charging cable to the Volvo FM electric truck The live test collaboration between Volvo Trucks and Swerock will feature two fully electric construction trucks: a Volvo FM and a Volvo FMX.

Monitoring the electric FM and FMX trucks’ every move during the pilot is a team from Volvo Trucks. Apart from analysing the performance of the vehicles themselves, the tests will also look at the overall electromobility eco-system, to help find charging opportunities in line with demands on productivity. To this end, there will be both stationary charging stations and portable ones to suit the customer’s driving cycles and to maximize productivity. 

These types of pilot tests are valuable for helping us to better understand the customer’s operations and how electrification will impact them on a day-to-day basis.
Ebba Bergbom Wallin, Electromobility Business Manager at Volvo Trucks, behind the wheel of the electric Volvo FMX. Ebba Bergbom Wallin, Electromobility Business Manager at Volvo Trucks, behind the wheel of the electric Volvo FMX.

“These types of pilot tests are valuable for helping us to better understand the customer’s operations and how electrification will impact them on a day-to-day basis in terms of driving cycles, load capacity, uptime, range and other parameters – and with all the benefits of using quieter, cleaner transport,” says Ebba Bergbom Wallin, Electromobility Business Manager at Volvo Trucks.

The Volvo FMX electric being loaded with gravel The live tests will be ongoing for two years in order to evaluate the trucks’ performance during various seasons and through shifting weather patterns

Volvo Trucks’ partner in the pilot tests – Swerock – is one of Scandinavia’s largest suppliers of material and services to the construction industry, and also has a proven commitment to sustainability. It works extensively with the recycling of raw materials, such as producing eco-concrete, which replaces cement with slag from blast furnaces to significantly reduce its CO2 emissions. Swerock’s fleet also includes 15 hybrid concrete mixer trucks.

“This project suits us perfectly because we’re also working towards climate-smart solutions and it is part of our company policy,” says Hans Orest, Division Manager at Swerock. “In fact, it is becoming more and more common for our customers to demand reduced climate impact, which we think is really important. In particular public municipalities and county councils require this, but now even construction companies are following this trend too.”

The Volvo FM and Volvo FMX electric trucks off road on muddy ground with trees in the background. The electric Volvo FM truck will deliver concrete to customers, while the electric Volvo FMX truck will be used in larger infrastructure projects.

The benefits of electric vehicles for urban environments will be measured in terms of zero local emissions, quieter transport, onsite safety as well as various aspects of driver comfort.

“We should not underestimate how stressful the noise and vibrations of the truck can be for the driver,” says Ebba Bergbom Wallin. “When we talk to drivers, they often comment on how quiet the electric trucks are and what a difference this makes. Given the current shortage of skilled drivers, being able to provide a better workspace will be a huge competitive advantage when it comes to recruitment and retention.”

The pilot tests will be ongoing for two years in order to evaluate the trucks’ performance during various seasons and through shifting weather patterns. One of the ambitions of the pilot is to support the development of a fully electric heavy-duty truck for the construction industry. 

Facts: Volvo Trucks’ first electric customer test for the heavy-duty segment

  • The collaboration includes testing of two electric vehicles: a Volvo FM with a concrete mixer and a Volvo FMX with hooklift. 
  • The project is jointly run by Volvo Trucks and Swerock, with support from JOAB and Saraka.
  • The electric Volvo FM will be delivering concrete to Swerock’s customers in urban areas.
  • The electric Volvo FMX with hooklift will primarily be used in larger infrastructure projects and urban construction.

 

About Swerock
Swerock is one of the largest Scandinavian suppliers of material and services to the construction industry, with over 360 quarries and 60 concrete factories. Swerock also works with recycling, in order to take responsibility for the climate and environment and reduce the extraction of new material. Swerock is part of the Peab Group which has around 17,000 employees and net sales of SEK 56 billion.

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