The race for clean mobility in the commercial vehicle segment has seen steady improvement over the years, with Swedish commercial vehicle chief Volvo leading the way. Globally, many countries, including India – are looking at all possibilities for commercial vehicle manufacturers with the goal of becoming carbon neutral.
In conversation with Express mobility“In terms of clean mobility, we are firmly committed to the Paris Agreement,” said Lars Stenkvist, Executive VP, Volvo Group Tracks Technology and CTO, Volvo. We believe we need to deconstruct road transport and infrastructure solutions. According to the Paris Agreement it is by 2050, but since our vehicles are long lasting, we cannot wait until 2049 to supply trucks that run on clean fuel. On average our vehicles run for more than 10 years, thus the goal of 2050 means our internal goal 2040.
According to him, in order to achieve this, the development of three technologies needs to be done in parallel – battery electric vehicle, fuel cell technology and internal combustion engine (ICE). While most companies are announcing the end of ICE-cars, Volvo (trucks) are not doing that. Stenkvist added, “We see that in certain applications, installing renewable fuels would be a sweet spot.”
From a global perspective, Volvo is in the process of developing some technologies that were considered impossible to use in commercial vehicles a few years ago. The CTO shared, “If you go back and read the papers 5 years ago, there weren’t many people who believed you could drive a battery-electric heavy truck. And this year, we are going to produce cereals for European customers, including heavy-duty trucks up to 44-tons. We’ve taken the technology to a new level, which means we’re working on batteries to get enough power on the ship. “
Regarding the fuel cell, the chief executive said that nowhere in the world is there a fuel cell that meets Volvo’s requirements. It was in December 2021 that Volvo entered into a joint venture with its longtime competitor, Daimler Truck, and together, they were building a fuel cell. According to JV, the companies will install and operate high-performance public charging networks for battery-powered, heavy-duty long-distance trucks and coaches across Europe.
While the two companies continue to compete against each other globally, the collaboration (for fuel cell technology) will be a 50:50 joint venture.
Volvo will start building fuel cell trucks for the European market as it sees high demand there and gradually fills other markets as demand grows, including in India. “There will be manufacturing facilities around the world where we see demand, but the first manufacturing facility for fuel cells will be in Europe. And that is the only decision that has been made so far, “Stenkvist shared.
In fact, when asked about the potential of fuel-cell CVs in the Indian market, he said that although there is no immediate plan for fuel-cell vehicles locally, “the solutions being developed in Bangalore are used all over the world and around the world. Product platforms.”
On the other hand, he shared that Volvo-Daimler cooperation does not end with the creation of fuel cells, as the two are looking at setting up charging infrastructure in Europe. “We have no intention of saying we will provide the only (charging infrastructure), but we are the first movers now,” he said. It’s important that we launch it first. “
Swedish CV Major claims that although one of its technology centers is based in a specific country, the solutions will be from a global perspective and will not be limited to the local market.