Volvo Trucks teases the all-electric semi truck it’s bringing to California in 2019

Volvo Trucks released teaser images Wednesday of the electric trucks it plans to bring to California next year as part of a demonstration project, the latest truck manufacturer to publicize its electric plans in the state. The attraction to California is no accident. The state has set aggressive targets to improve air quality and reduce […]

Volvo Trucks released teaser images Wednesday of the electric trucks it plans to bring to California next year as part of a demonstration project, the latest truck manufacturer to publicize its electric plans in the state.

The attraction to California is no accident. The state has set aggressive targets to improve air quality and reduce carbon emissions, particularly those generated from tailpipes.

Daimler Trucks North America said in July it would begin testing 20 fully electric heavy- and medium-duty Freightliner models at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach this year. Tesla, which unveiled the Tesla Semi prototype in November 2017 , began testing its prototype semis in California and Nevada earlier this year. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said production of the Tesla Semi, a Class 8 heavy duty truck, would begin in 2019.

Newcomer Thor Trucks is developing a medium-duty Class-6 electric truck for UPS, which will also be tested in California.

Volvo Trucks plans to test its new electric VNR truck, a refitted version of its diesel-powered VNR model. The electric VNR, which will be based on powertrain technology used in the Volvo FE Electric, will be produced for the North American commercial vehicle market starting in 2020, the company said.

The introduction of the Volvo VNR Electric models is part of a partnership called LIGHTS (Low Impact Green Heavy Transport Solutions) between Volvo Group, California’s South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD), and industry leaders in transportation and electrical charging infrastructure.

The California Air Resources Board preliminary awarded $44.8 million to SCAQMD for the Volvo LIGHTS project. The LIGHTS project will focus on distribution, regional-haul and drayage operations.

The goal, according to Volvo Trucks North America President Peter Voorhoeve, is test and showcase their approach to electrifying the freight transport industry. The project will ultimately result in the commercialization of fully-electric heavy-duty trucks, Voorhoeve added.

“Electric trucks bring many unknowns and our holistic focus through the LIGHTS project will help our fleet partners transition securely and smoothly based on their individual needs regarding driving cycles, load capacity, uptime, range and other parameters,”Johan Agebrand, Volvo Trucks North America director of product marketing said in a statement. “Within the project we’ll look at everything from route analysis and battery optimization to servicing and financing. We always aim to offer high uptime and productivity.”

Elon Musk’s plans for 2019 might include a Tesla pickup truck prototype

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has floated the idea for an all-electric pickup truck numerous times in the past two years. Now, he’s back at it, this time with a teaser that Tesla might have a prototype to unveil in 2019. Musk mentioned on Twitter the desire to produce a pickup truck way back in April […]

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has floated the idea for an all-electric pickup truck numerous times in the past two years. Now, he’s back at it, this time with a teaser that Tesla might have a prototype to unveil in 2019.

Musk mentioned on Twitter the desire to produce a pickup truck way back in April 2017, before the first Model 3 sedans had been handed over to customers and the CEO had entered production hell. At the time, Musk tweeted that a pickup truck would be unveiled in 18 to 24 months. That timeline is in sync Musk’s latest tweet.

Musk brought up the pickup truck on Twitter again in June 2018, a move some described as a diversionary tactic as the company tried to hit an important production target for the Model 3.

Of course, it should be noted that a prototype isn’t the same as a production vehicle nor does it provide any clues as to when such a truck would make it into customers’ hands. A prototype would raise other questions too, specifically where Tesla would develop and assemble these trucks. Tesla’s Fremont, California plant, where the Model S, Model X and Model 3 are produced, doesn’t have the room to take on a fourth vehicle. The company is building out other facilities, but it’s unclear if there’s space for the kind of tooling and assembly lines needed for mass production.

The automaker would face competition from the gas-powered trucks of the world, which are among the best-selling vehicles in North America, as well as newcomer Rivian. Rivian, which unveiled an all-electric pickup and SUV at the LA Auto Show in November, is expected to start production of their pickup and SUV in 2020.