Volvo Trucks teases battery-electric VNL

Volvo VNL Electric Prototype
Volvo Trucks North America provided a peek of the forthcoming VNL Electric Class 8 tractor.

During a deep dive into its new VNL tractor at a press event this week at the Volvo Trucks Customer Center in Dublin, Virginia, Volvo Trucks North America gave the media a glimpse of its prototype for the forthcoming VNL Electric Class 8 tractor.

Details on the forthcoming battery electric truck were light, but Volvo Trucks said sales are expected to begin late next year and the tractor will replace the VNR Electric as Volvo Trucks’ Class 8 battery-electric vehicle platform. The new truck will presumably share the same vehicle architecture as its new conventional VNL, which Volvo Trucks calls its platform for the future.

It has been nearly six years since Volvo Trucks first mentioned the development of its VNR Electric, and five years since fleet customers Dependable Highway Express and NFI began putting them into drayage operations in the ports of California.

Led by the VNR Electric, Volvo Trucks sits atop the North American market in Class 8 electric truck sales in North America with a 43.8% market share.

“We have delivered electric trucks to 31 states and provinces in the United States and Canada,” said Magnus Koeck, vice president of strategy, marketing and brand management for Volvo Trucks North America.

Volvo Trucks currently has 62 EV-certified dealers across the U.S. and Canada, and 40 more are in the certification pipeline. “We actually don't allow customers to order [EV] trucks unless they have dealers that are fully certified and can take care of the trucks,” said Koeck. “You need to be able to charge it and you need to have dealers that can support it.”

[Related: BEV development has outpaced charging infrastructure deployment, says Volvo Trucks VP]

The overall market for Class 8 electric trucks in North America is still small, with just 1,400 units expected to be sold in 2024. “But make no mistake," cautioned Koeck, "we are investing heavily into this for the future.”

To that end, Volvo Trucks acquired battery producer Proterra last fall to secure its battery sourcing to North America. Globally, Volvo Trucks has delivered more than 3,500 electric trucks to customers in 45 countries. Volvo Trucks’ North American sales is almost 1,000 battery-electric units to date. 

Hydrogen Fuel Cell & BEV Survey
The following survey was sent as a link in an email cover message in February 2023 to the newsletter lists for Overdrive and CCJ. After approximately two weeks, a total of 176 owner-operators under their own authority, 113 owner-operators leased or assigned to a carrier and 82 fleet executives and 36 fleet employees from fleets with 10 or more power units had completed and submitted the questionnaire for a total of 407 qualified responses. Cross-tabulations based on respondent type are provided for each question when applicable.
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