Volvo goes electric with Truck-as-a-Service model

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Volvo VNR Electric
The Class 8 Volvo VNR Electric is a battery-electric truck with a range of up to 275 miles (with a six-battery configuration) and features a dedicated battery thermal management system to maintain ideal battery temperatures. With a 250 kWh charge rate, the truck can achieve an 80% charge in as little as 90 minutes for the six-battery package and 60 minutes for the four-battery package.

Volvo Trucks North America (VTNA) and Volvo Financial Services (VFS) at the ACT Expo in Las Vegas Monday announced the debut of Volvo on Demand, an effort to simplify fleets' acquisition of, and reduce the upfront investment in, battery-electric vehicles.

Built on a Truck-as-a-Service (TaaS) business model, Volvo on Demand allows qualified customers to pay for miles driven with flexible term options as short as 12 months. It includes Volvo Trucks’ Gold Contract and the option to bundle vehicle insurance for physical damage and collision, route planning and optimization guidance, as well as consultation to find the best charging solution and any available incentives.

Peter VoorhoevePeter Voorhoeve, Volvo Trucks North America president.Stated more plainly, Volvo Financial Services Vice President of Services and Solutions Charles Carter said, "Volvo on Demand is the easiest way for customers to add a battery-electric truck to their fleet by providing the ability to test the technology and understand the requirements to operate an electric fleet without a substantial upfront investment." He added he sees this solution being beneficial to many segments including drayage, regional haul, last mile and smaller fleets.

Volvo on Demand, which includes a competitive mileage rate throughout the contract term, provides flexibility, a single monthly invoice encompassing all selected services, charging hardware and insurance, isn't VTNA's first foray into TaaS. Volvo Autonomous Solutions launched in 2020 has started to haul loads for the likes of DHL and Uber Freight to test aspects of the autonomous transport solution and establish frameworks and procedures for safe and reliable operations. 

VFS has kickstarted the Volvo on Demand program with 25 Volvo VNR Electric trucks, including 20 6x4 tractors with the six-battery configuration and five 4x2 tractors with the four-battery configuration. It is being launched in the U.S. in areas with a nearby Volvo Trucks Certified Electric Vehicle (EV) dealership (there are currently 57 such locations across 30 states and Canadian provincese) equipped to provide comprehensive support, including preventative maintenance, service, and charging facilities to maximize customer uptime. Volvo Trucks Certified EV Dealers have onsite technicians who have been comprehensively trained to service the VNR Electric safely and efficiently. 

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VTNA Regional Vice President Jared Ruiz said the company has received a number of inquiries from customers interested in adding the VNR Electric to their operation, "but want to understand how it will fit within their specific applications."

Volvo on Demand, he added, allows for exactly that. "With Volvo on Demand through VFS, they can gain valuable experience before making large upfront capital investments," he said.

With Volvo on Demand customers can get a single truck or a few trucks with portable 50 kWh chargers to gain real world experience while making plans to scale, including accounting for potential lead times on charging infrastructure installation, with flexible payment terms. 

Volvo Trucks last year introduced two programs to streamline the electromobility transition for fleet managers. The Turnkey Solutions program manages all aspects of the process to develop charging infrastructure and covers charging hardware, software, permitting, installation, all the interaction with the utility companies, and maintaining charging equipment. Through the Vendor Direct Shipping program, customers and dealers can order equipment through the dealership parts portal. Volvo Trucks sales teams can assist customers with the process and determine the type of charger best equipped for the application.

Jason Cannon has written about trucking and transportation for more than a decade and serves as Chief Editor of Commercial Carrier Journal. A Class A CDL holder, Jason is a graduate of the Porsche Sport Driving School, an honorary Duckmaster at The Peabody in Memphis, Tennessee, and a purple belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu. Reach him at [email protected]