Volvo Group has been producing a range of electric trucks at for some time now. The products are already available, and Volvo Group is leading the way in terms of market share in electric trucks. The same goes for Construction Equipment, Buses, and Marine and Industrial solutions. And we have already showcased our hydrogen fuel cell solutions, which will be available to customers by the end of this decade. Like many OEMs, we have committed to the Paris Agreement, aimed at limiting Global Warming to within 1.5° C. With this commitment we have invested in a three-pronged approach to fossil-free transportation, based on pure battery electric (BEV), hydrogen fuel cells (FCEV) and combustion engines capable of running on renewable biofuels.
As this journey towards fossil-free transportation and infrastructure continues, and as more electric trucks, buses and construction machines hit the road, the demand for charging to sustain them will increase exponentially. But that is not the only challenge as we move to a fossil-free mobility system. Energy, and more importantly the distribution of power, is central to this whole equation. Without the capacity to produce and distribute enough electricity to satisfy growing demands we would have a problem. Thankfully, Sweden is blessed with a range of fossil-free energy sources – from hydropower to nuclear, down to wind and solar. So fossil free power generation in and of itself, is not a short-term problem.
At Volvo Group we are setting our sights on a fossil-free transportation and infrastructure system. The products and solutions already exist today, but to ensure a smooth roll-out we need to factor in another element – power transmission to charging infrastructure via the national, regional, and local electric grid. Without the required capacity to support a growing fleet of electric trucks, buses, and construction machines, alongside the existing needs of both industry and peoples’ homes, adoption of electric solutions will fall short of what is required to limit emissions and help to keep global warming below 1.5° C.
Actionable insights on power
Now, thanks to a ground-breaking project conducted by Volvo Group, we can clearly identify where charging hotspots need to be built and the amount of power these charge points will require, based on real-life data.
“We saw a need to provide actionable insights, built on robust real-world datasets that will support the adoption and use of electric trucks. The intention is to provide this to both governments and utility companies in Sweden to begin with, but also across the EU, where the data exists, and in other parts of the world,” said Anders Berger, Director of Public Affairs at Volvo Group.
Utilizing the onboard positioning fleet management system of Volvo trucks in Sweden, which monitors position, time, fuel consumption and other parameters, data scientists at Volvo Group have built up a clear picture of where charging stations should be located and how much power they will need to supply daily. The result is a map of required charging points, the power they will require and the energy they will need to deliver as the electric fleet grows in the coming years.
Investment in grid infrastructure
The output from this project highlights the type of investment needed to ensure that Sweden’s electric grid can transmit the required power to keep Sweden’s battery electric truck fleet, estimated to be around 15-20% of the total fleet by 2030, on the road. This real-life data will support the Swedish government and the utility companies to gauge investment requirements and build a robust plan for the rollout of the required charging and grid infrastructure over time on a national scale. Using already available Volvo Group data, reports could be produced for any country with a large enough fleet of Volvo, Renault, or Mack trucks, to provide a similar roadmap for infrastructural investment planning.
“Our approach to the transition to fossil-free transportation and the infrastructure required to make it a reality, is based on collaboration and partnerships. We want to drive prosperity and help society move toward net-zero emissions in the near-term. We can only do this if we fully understand the requirements and demand that this will place on national infrastructure, OEMs, and of course our customers, who will benefit from a well-designed charging network. This project is just one more step we are taking to ensure a smooth transition to electric trucks in Sweden, and in our major markets around the globe,” said Martin Lundstedt, President and CEO of Volvo Group.
The ambition is to broaden the scope of this project to cover countries across Europe in the near-term, based on available data, and additional locations over time, and is open to supporting both utility companies and national policymakers with available anonymized datasets to help the timely development of a robust charging infrastructure.