Volvo Will Spread Electric-Truck Development Costs Across Multiple Brands

Mack and Japan’s UD Trucks will likely get electric models as well.

byStephen Edelstein| PUBLISHED Apr 23, 2018 12:22 PM
Volvo Will Spread Electric-Truck Development Costs Across Multiple Brands

Volvo Trucks (not to be confused with wholly-separate Volvo Cars) recently unveiled its first all-electric model, the first step in what the company promises is a comprehensive electrification strategy. That strategy includes adding electric models to other Volvo-owned brands, an executive told Reuters.

Lars Stenqvist, CTO of Volvo Group Trucks Technology, told the news service that other brands like Japan's UD Trucks and Mack will get electric models in order to spread out development costs over larger production volumes. He said the same electric powertrain components being developed for commercial trucks might wind up in buses and construction equipment as well. Volvo has already tested electric buses in its hometown of Gothenburg, Sweden.

Volvo's recently unveiled FL Electric will be followed by electric garbage trucks for Europe in 2019, according to Reuters. UD Trucks will then launch an all-electric version of its Quon model around 2020. It's unclear if any of these vehicles will be sold in North America.

Volvo has said that it will sell electric trucks in North America but won't discuss a specific timeline. When it does happen, the rollout will begin with smaller vehicles like the FL Electric that are aimed at local delivery operations. That approach mirrors that of rival Daimler, which has already sold a handful of its Fuso eCanter delivery trucks in the United States, Europe, and Japan, and is planning a larger model for Europe.

Meanwhile, Tesla continues to rack up orders for its all-electric semi truck. But, as is always the case with Tesla, it's hard to predict how quickly the company will be able to ramp up production. The Volkswagen Group and Navistar have also discussed plans for all-electric commercial trucks, but it's unclear whether these two big players will start small like Daimler and Volvo, or try to compete directly with Tesla right from the start.