Volvo, University, Fleets Team Up for Extreme BET Testing

Murphy Logistics Solutions to Perform Tests in Winter Temperatures; H-E-B Grocery Co. to Handle Tests in Heat
Murphy Logistics Solutions
Several project participants gathered at the Murphy Logistics Solutions facility. Two Volvo trucks with a six-battery configuration that are rated to provide up to 275 miles of range will be part of the testing. (Volvo Trucks)

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Volvo Trucks North America is working with the University of Minnesota (UM) and two fleet owners on extreme weather testing of the manufacturer’s Class 8 VNR Electric model to analyze the impact of ambient temperature on battery life, the company said June 22.

Murphy Logistics Solutions will test the battery-electric trucks (BETs) in Minnesota in cold winter temperatures, and H-E-B Grocery Co. in Texas will do the same in periods of intense summer heat, Volvo said.

Two Volvo trucks with a six-battery configuration that are rated to provide up to 275 miles of range will be part of the testing. Volvo said it wants to analyze the trucks’ performance on different routes in extreme temperatures with varying terrains and payload weights in order to aid customers’ route planning and optimization.

The testing is part of a Battery Efficiency for Sustainable Trucks Project sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Vehicle Technology Office.

Volvo is also carrying out extreme weather testing in Europe, including for its hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicle options. In May, the company said it had carried out the first FCEV truck tests on public roads in Sweden. Those tests were carried out north of the Arctic Circle.


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Domestically, Murphy and HEB will test the BETs on routes that exceed 250 miles a day, with drivers trained to use regenerative braking and other safe driving practices designed to maximize vehicle range, Volvo said.

Heavy-duty BETs, like other EVs, can experience range reductions during extreme temperatures because of battery chemistry, where the chemical and physical reactions can occur more slowly, reducing the range.

In addition to the testing, UM developed an energy management system to help fleets understand how driving style can impact range as well as how to take advantage of more energy-efficient routing and decrease the cost and time required for on-route battery charging, Volvo said. To date, the EMS tool has helped Murphy and HEB achieve more than 20% increases in range, it said.

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In May, Volvo announced it had tripled the number of dealers certified to sell and service its VNR Electric trucks in North America in the prior 12 months. At that point, the truck maker’s EV dealer network was up to 39 locations from 12 a year earlier, with certified dealers in 19 U.S. states and three Canadian provinces.

Volvo said a further 56 locations were in the process of obtaining certification, expanding the truck maker’s EV dealer presence to 37 U.S. states and four Canadian provinces.

HEB ranks No. 66 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest private carriers in North America.