Test Drive

New on-road tests to see how Volvo FL Electric stacks up in the heat

The Volvo FL Electric has undergone new on-road testing to see how fast charging and extreme heat can affect its range, battery charging and vehicle performance.

Equipped with Volvo Group’s second-generation battery packs with a capacity totalling 265kW, local Volvo Group Australia engineers subjected the FL Electric to a series of on-road tests in 35+ degree heat.

Loaded to a gross weight of 15,000kg, the FL Electric covered over 730 kilometres in a variety of traffic conditions and terrain including a climb up the Toowoomba bypass (6 per cent gradient) as well as routes through inner-city traffic.

These second-generation battery packs have a predicted energy consumption of 0.9 kWh per kilometre, however Volvo Group Australia says local testing has found consumption at this point to be slightly lower at 0.73 kWh per kilometre.

The potential of regenerative braking came to the fore coming down the Toowoomba range. Braking energy alone was enough to replenish battery power by nearly 5 per cent.

Paul Illmer, vice president technology and business development, explained, “Temperature is the enemy of battery performance in any vehicle. For our industry to go electric our customers need to know we’ve tried and tested our technology in adverse conditions rather than report contrived figures derived from testing in a controlled environment.

“And I’m extremely happy to see the results of this testing, which proves the FL Electric is a viable option for a range of urban distribution roles while being able to tolerate Australia’s harsh climate.”

The test drives also included a 40-minute fast charge from 40 per cent battery capacity using a 150Kwh DC chargers in an effort to understand how opportunity charging may be integrated into an everyday transport operation.

“Our electric trucks are more than just a vehicle, they are a part of an electromobility eco-system. Before a customer signs up for our electric offering we conduct a feasibility study using our bespoke range estimation tool to plot out exactly how this vehicle can be integrated into an existing transport task,” continued Illmer. “

“Once in service we can help the customer monitor vehicle performance through our Volvo Connect telematics portal.

“These proprietary tools give us a 360-degree view of our customer’s needs and the operation at hand.

“This year marks the start of commercial sales here in Australia and I look forward to seeing an electric truck with real world usability hit the local market.”

The 4×2 Volvo FL Electric has a gross vehicle weight of 16,000kg and creates 130kW of continuous power which is delivered to the rear wheels via a two-speed automated transmission. Depending on application, range can be up to 300 kilometres between charges. Charging times range from 11 hours (22Kwh AC) to 2 hours (150Kwh DC).

Customer deliveries of the Volvo FL Electric are anticipated to begin this year.

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