Volvo to Sell All-Electric Heavy Trucks in North America in 2020

Volvo gained attention last year by announcing it would stop making new internal combustion engine models. Now it plans to electrify its 2020 truck models as well. A demonstration program will be launched in Southern California next year.

October 4, 2018, 12:00 PM PDT

By Irvin Dawid


Volvo Trucks, the world's second largest heavy truck manufacturer in 2016, "announced it would commercialize all-electric trucks in North America in 2020 after introducing them in California next year, a move made in conjunction with a partnership that includes Volvo Group, California’s South Coast Air Quality Management District and industry leaders in transportation and electrical charging infrastructure," reports Roger Gilroy of Transport Topics.

The Class 8 (aka semi-trailer trucks) all-electric "demonstration" trucks will be used in three cities in San Bernardino County: OntarioChinoFontana; and Placentia (Orange County).

“This is yet another important step towards our vision zero emissions. We are convinced that electrified truck transport will be a key driver of sustainable transports, and we’re proud to contribute the Volvo Group’s expertise to this innovative public-private partnership,” Volvo Trucks President Claes Nilsson said in a statement.

As noted in a July post about another large zero-emission vehicle, a fuel cell-powered ferry, the state's cap-and-trade revenues were instrumental.

On July 26, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) announced up to $205 million in grants, mostly from California Climate Investments – using proceeds from the state’s landmark Cap-and-Trade program for projects designed to accelerate the adoption of clean freight technologies and reduce air pollution caused by the movement of goods throughout the state. Among the 11 projects listed:

#3: Volvo Low-Impact Green Heavy Transport Solutions (LIGHTS): The South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) will receive $44.8 million to deploy 23 Class 8 Volvo battery electric trucks and 24 zero-emission forklifts, along with 58 heavy-duty fast chargers and other related equipment. Partner match: $45.9 million.

There are 15 partners, in addition to SCAQMD, to share the above match. 

"The demonstration units will be based on the technology being used in the Volvo FE Electric, which Volvo Trucks presented in May and will begin selling in Europe next year," adds Gilroy. "The FE Electric was designed for heavier city distribution and refuse transport operations."

According to Gothenburg, Sweden-based Volvo Trucks, the demonstration project "will reduce an estimated 3.57 tons of criteria pollutants (defined air pollutants) and 3,020 tons of greenhouse gases annually."

Related in Planetizen:

Friday, September 28, 2018 in Transport Topics

Walkable Urban Commercial District

The Complexities of the '15-Minute City'

What does a '15-minute city' truly mean–and how achievable is it in the U.S.?

July 29, 2021 - Governing

Toronto Freeway

Does Highway Removal Make Cities Healthier?

Highway removal can improve the air quality and health of the immediate environment, but displacement and gentrification threaten to exclude former residents from the benefits.

July 30, 2021 - NextCity

Pioneer Square, Seattle

Tree Equity Score: The U.S. Needs 522 Million More Urban Trees

As climate change intensifies the urban heat island effect, poorer neighborhoods bear the brunt of tree canopy inequity.

July 28, 2021 - The Urbanist

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Hand Drawing Master Plans

This course aims to provide an introduction into Urban Design Sketching focused on how to hand draw master plans using a mix of colored markers.