Are heavy electric trucks ready to replace diesel trucks? For many transport assignments, the answer is yes. Hagens Transport in Norway share their experience of driving a Volvo FM Electric truck in real operation.
Hagens Transport is a Norwegian transport company based in Hamar, about 100 km north of Oslo, the capital of Norway. The country is the world leader in market share for fully electric passenger cars, which make up more than 80% of all new registrations. Now, the transformation to electric is also coming to the transport industry – as Hagen Transport has recently placed an order for two Volvo FM Electric trucks.
“This investment is about us planning ahead in time. Our main customer, Asko Transport, is determined to become a zero-emission company by the end of 2026, and that places demands on us,” says Kai Hagen, owner of Hagens Transport. Therefore, Hagens Transport decided to go electric – and as a long time Volvo customer, it was natural to turn to Volvo Trucks.
Therefore, Hagens Transport decided to go electric – and as a long time Volvo customer, it was natural to turn to Volvo Trucks.
“I have faith in Volvo and when they invest in something like they have done with their electric trucks, it is not a difficult choice. We know they will work in terms of key criteria such as operation, service, maintenance and second-hand value,” explains Kai.
Hagens Transport primarily transports groceries which have a wide range of temperature requirements between the Hamar district and Asko's large main warehouses south of Oslo. That means distances that are well suited for the Volvo FM Electric.
“We experienced that the truck had a range of around 300 km. Initially, we will use it in a 200 km zone around Oslo. That way we will get the best utilization and flexibility. We can also use it in two shifts,” comments Kai.
While Hagen Transport are waiting for their two electric trucks, they have had the opportunity to test the Volvo FM Electric in full operation for a month. They are very satisfied.
“We had four weeks without any problems. The only challenge we had was when the fuse blew on the charging box one night, but that had nothing to do with the truck,” says Kai.
“Although the charging infrastructure and range, as well as our heavy loads, presented some challenges, we could use the truck to the maximum every day. We always arrived on time.”
Our main customer, Asko Transport, is determined to become a zero-emission company by the end of 2026, and that places demands on us.
Thomas Hagen, the son of Kai Hagen, has been driving the Volvo FM Electric during the trial period. With some 8,500 kilometers on the road, he knows what he is talking about. He says the electric truck is like driving any modern Volvo truck, but with two important differences: It’s very quiet and comfortable in the cab, and the truck needs to be charged.
“I felt the range anxiety the first week. I looked at the battery percentage a little too much, but after a week I didn't think about it anymore. I knew that I would get to my destination,” he explains.
After some time, he also made a few small adjustments to his driving style. “I let the cruise control do the work and I drove in a nice and calm manner to use as little electricity as possible. You get a much more relaxed day as a driver that way,” says Thomas.
With the electric truck in operation, planning became extra important. Especially because the charging infrastructure was not fully in place during the trial period.
“We had to think about where there were fast chargers, and where there was space for a truck. When the infrastructure improves and charging is available in more places, not least with higher capacity of the chargers, it will be fantastic,” says Kai Hagen.
Hagen Transport’s main customer Asko has engaged in building their own charging infrastructure to make the operation of electric trucks work in practice. A large charging park is being built at the Asko facility in Vestby south of Oslo, and at Asko Oslofjord some 60 kilometres southwest of Oslo it’s possible to charge at the ramp while loading or unloading.
“We set up chargers at the regional companies. They can be used by our own trucks and by our partners, such as Hagens Transport,” explains John Strand, director of Asko Transport.
Kjetil Bergflødt, responsible for alternative drivelines at Volvo Trucks Norway, agrees that it’s good to see cooperation to increase charging infrastructure capabilities.
“When the transport buyer helps to arrange charging, this works really well. The electric truck is as productive as any other truck,” says Kjetil.
Now the heavy electric trucks have started to roll out of the Volvo factory in Gothenburg, and Hagen Transport is looking forward to getting theirs.
“We will receive our first electric truck in December and the next in early 2023. It will be very exciting,” Kai Hagen concludes.
Learn more about going electric here