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Premiere for food distribution by electric truck

An electric distribution truck for temperature-controlled food transport – coming soon to Gothenburg. The project, being carried out in partnership between Volvo, Coop and DB Schenker, is a part of DenCity, which is a project managed by CLOSER, the neutral collaboration platform for developing the cargo transportation of tomorrow.

“It’s a question of creating clean, effective transportation shuttles with reduced noise and radically reduced emissions, while improving the working environment for drivers and other employees,” says Lina Olsson, head of CLOSER’s DenCity initiative.

DenCity is a collaborative project between the business community, academia and society. Its task is to take a holistic approach to finding new, smart and sustainable transportation for densely populated city districts that are attractive areas to live and move around in. 

Fredrik Cederstav, project manager at AB Volvo – technological development is often linked to societal benefit. How will the new trucks promote increased benefit to society?
“This truck has zero emissions and is significantly quieter than a diesel truck. In addition, electric motors yield significantly better efficiency. It has the same load capacity, and sufficient range for a commercial route. This truck opens up possibilities for off-peak deliveries in dense cities, and promotes a better working environment as well.”

You are collaborating on a project with several other partners. Why is it important to collaborate on this? 
“To obtain a commercially practicable solution, this project was conducted in consultation with the city, the carriers, the end customers and the hauliers. We have prioritized load capacity over greater range, which was a lesson from the project.”

What is new about this type of truck? 
“This truck is completely electric, with a two-step automatic transmission. It runs on batteries and an electric motor.”

What challenges have you encountered? And what lessons have you learned? 
“The challenges were finding a balance between range, load capacity, wheel base and axle weight. It took time to develop a specification everyone was satisfied with. In addition, certification required a great deal of testing.

Sales begin next year, but Volvo is already on the way to starting to test the new truck type among selected customers. Could you say a little more about that?  
“This truck will be tested before summer on a shorter commercial loop, and will then enter commercial traffic on public roads by the end of the year.”

What is interest in the market like for the new truck?
“There has been a great deal of interest from the market, and much has been written about this truck in the media.”

Ida Falkeby at DB Schenker – why did you want to be part of the project? 
“We have a responsibility in our role as a logistics company to promote a better environment. Part of that is being involved in various innovation projects to test new environmentally friendly solutions. At DB Schenker, we are working actively to find the sustainable transportation solutions of the future. One of our most important objectives is to reduce our emissions, which we have the opportunity to do thanks to electric vehicles. Being part of DenCity, developing and testing an electric vehicle, means we can more quickly make use of the new technology coming out into the market.”

From a transportation perspective: What possibilities do you see in electric vehicles? 
“Electric vehicles mean that we can drastically reduce our emissions while also reducing noise in our cities. It also improves the working environment for our drivers, which is extremely important. In addition, electric vehicles also provide opportunities for deliveries indoors, or at night.”

What are the challenges? 
“The major challenge lies in the fact that this is an entirely new type of vehicle that we haven’t yet learned everything about. Theoretically we know a lot, but when we are together with all our partners in DenCity, we test in reality what we really learned about the practical aspects.” 

What lessons have you learned so far?
“One important lesson is definitely that technology develops remarkably quickly. At the start of the project, we were going to test hybrid technology, but it did not take long before we realized that electrification lay much nearer in time than we first believed

“In partnership on this project, we have also learned how important it is to discuss load capacity in relation to range. A distribution truck in the city does not need to go any distance. On the other hand, it’s important that it can load the freight to be driven out to the customer, which meant that we could reduce range and increase load capacity.”

Why is it important to collaborate on this?
“Apart from being incredibly gratifying to work in partnership with various companies and organizations, collaboration deals with finding new, innovative and creative solutions from different parts of the value chain that we can really test with our combined forces, at a more rapid pace than if we had worked individually in our own channels.”


From left Erling Johansson, TGM, Andreas Stockman, AB Volvo, Lina Olsson, CLOSER, Fredrik Cederstav, AB Volvo, Ida Falkeby, Schenker, Kjell Håkansson, COOP, Roger Nilsson TGM, Andreas Claesson, SKAB, Jan Werner, AB Volvo, Stefan Strandberg, AB Volvo, Caroline Karlsson, Lindholmen Science Park

From Left: Ida Falkeby, Schenker, Jan Werner, AB Volvo

From left: Fredrik Cederstav, AB Volvo, Lina Olsson, CLOSER