The Telsa Semi is about to face some tough competition.
Last year, Tesla shook up the trucking industry when it unveiled a prototype of its upcoming electric Semi truck capable of delivering a 500-mile range and impressive acceleration. But like the other electric models Tesla currently sells, the all-electric Semi is about to face some stiff competition from a mainstream manufacturer.
Volvo Trucks has teased a new electric semi-truck currently in development called the VNR Electric. Based on the diesel-powered VNR, the electric variant is being billed as a regional hauler that's cleaner and quieter than traditional diesel semis. Compared to the standard VNR, the all-electric version features an illuminated grille and more aerodynamic bodywork.
No specifications have been released, but Volvo Trucks says it will use an electric powertrain based on the "proven propulsion and energy storage technology currently being used in the Volvo FE Electric."
The FE Electric has a 200–300 kWh lithium-ion battery pack that powers two electric motors to develop up to 496 hp and 626 lb-ft of torque. This setup enables the FE Electric to travel up to 124 miles on a single charge.
"We are proud to announce the Volvo VNR Electric, designed to support cities focused on sustainable urban development and fleets operating in a range of regional-haul and distribution operations," said Peter Voorhoeve, president of Volvo Trucks North America. "The Volvo VNR Electric leverages the versatility of the new Volvo VNR series with a proven fully-electric powertrain, and represents a strategic stride toward a comprehensive electrified transport ecosystem. Cities prioritizing sustainable urban development can leverage electrified transport solutions to help improve air quality and reduce traffic noise. Cleaner, quieter, fully-electric commercial transport also creates opportunities for expanded morning and late-night operations, helping cut traffic congestion during peak hours."
Next year, Volvo Trucks will begin demonstrating the VNR Electric in California for distribution, regional-haul and drayage operations before commercial sales for North America begin in 2020. Choosing California as a testing location is no coincidence as the state has set aggressive targets to improve air quality and reduce carbon emissions.
"The Volvo VNR is ideal for applications like heavy urban distribution, drayage and other regional applications where electric trucks will first have the greatest impact," said Johan Agebrand, Volvo Trucks North America director of product marketing. "The VNR series has received tremendous industry acceptance since its April 2017 introduction and the addition of an all-electric powertrain provides even greater opportunities to expand its footprint in the regional-haul market."