It’s obvious from the most recent press releases issued by Volvo Group they are getting all their ducks in a row ready for the inevitable changes needed for transitioning from diesel to electric/hydrogen in the NEW global truck market.
Indeed Volvo Group have acknowledged there’s a great and growing interest for electric vehicles and their ambition is to offer customers the most competitive solutions when it comes to electrification, including batteries and charging infrastructure.
Their answer is to setup a “standalone” energy company which will be headed by the current UD Chairman and Volvo Group executive board member Joachim Rosenburg called rather unimaginatively Volvo Energy. Perhaps the most obvious reason for Mr Rosenburgs selection is that Volvo Group are selling UD Trucks to Isuzu Trucks as part of a strategic move in Asia and therefore he will be available to concentrate on this new company.
It’s a whole new world
The signs are Volvo Group is starting to get to grips with the enormous changes required by a ‘legacy’ truck manufacturer making the switch from manufacturing diesel engines and gearboxes to one where batteries and motors are the tools of the trade. That’s not to say , they will completely disappear, there still will be a space in the market for these older technologies it’s just they will be considerably lower volumes, perhaps almost niche.
To its credit Volvo have worked out that an electric truck is as much about the battery and its energy as the truck itself, ultimately an electric truck is a very large two way energy source on wheels and with a battery between 200kWh or 400kWh that’s some energy source, and that’s just one truck!
Their press release hints at many of the obvious steps needed to take to maximise this opportunity with comments such as “We are taking a holistic view of the entire life cycle, which benefits both our customers’ business and society as a whole” from Martin Lundstedt, President and CEO.
The new company have full profit and loss responsibility and encompasses providing batteries and charging solutions to the Volvo Group plus ‘other areas’, such as construction and marine I guess etc. It also good that they are not ignoring the ‘back end’ of the cycle by offering used, remanufactured and refurbished batteries to customers for use across different applications
These ‘first life batteries’ will have a very good ‘second life’ which makes them ideal for energy storage purposes and the opportunity is open for these to be offered to logistics companies to power their buildings or cold stores as just one example but that’s just the beginning. If organised correctly this would help Volvo Group retain the customer into longer term commitments and gain greater customer loyalty by providing a level of ‘contract hire’ but it will include services at all level well above a traditional diesel package.
Volvo Group and Hydrogen
But its not all about battery electric, as most people know Volvo Trucks are part of the H2Accelerate programme which is a joint venture company with Daimler Trucks, Iveco, Shell and OMV which aims to help the introduction of hydrogen / fuel cell to the mass road transport network. So it comes as no surprise that the Volvo Energy team will also carry the Group’s responsibility for this as well.