Volvo Invites Media to Test Drive the VNR Electric Truck

volvo test track
A Volvo truck on the New River Valley Plant test track. (Connor D. Wolf/Transport Topics)

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DUBLIN, Va. — Volvo Trucks North America provided members of the media a chance to drive its VNR Electric truck during a press event Sept. 29.

The test drive — conducted on a mile-long test track at the company’s Volvo Customer Center here — was part of the Volvo Electromobility Sales Summit, which spotlighted how electric trucks can be integrated into fleet operations.

Volvo had three trucks on the track, each carrying a journalist behind the wheel and a company representative onboard to monitor safety and answer questions. Each truck was pulling a dry van trailer filled with sandbags.

To start the truck, the driver must press down on the brake pedal before hitting an ignition button on the dashboard to the right of the steering wheel. After that the driver releases the parking brake and trailer air supply before hitting the accelerator pedal, similar to the procedure used in diesel-powered trucks. As is common with EVs, moderation of the accelerator pedal offers good control over the vehicle; minimal use of the brake pedal was required. The company representative reminded drivers to ease up on the accelerator pedal when approaching corners to slow the truck’s speed.

Volvo VNR Electric cab

Volvo VNR cab interior by Connor D. Wolf/Transport Topics

The truck’s braking system recovers kinetic energy; between 5% and 15% of brake energy is regenerated back into the truck’s Energy Storage System to help recharge the battery.

The driving experience quickly becomes intuitive, and the truck returns smooth operation. The test track itself is located between the customer center and the 1.6-million-square-foot New River Valley Assembly Plant. The track includes several turns and a straightaway, and fluctuates between open and narrow roads. This includes a few tight corners, and a small tunnel. Skies were clear and sunny for the drive.

The VNR Electric Class 8 was designed for local and regional distribution. That includes urban transport, for which the truck’s panoramic windshield offers a good view. It features a bumper to back of cab length of 113 inches.

Volvo VNR on test track

Volvo trucks await entry onto the test track at the Volvo plant in Dublin, Va. (Connor D. Wolf/Transport Topics)

The truck has a six-battery configuration behind the cab that allows for 565 kilowatt-hour capacity. That equates to about a 275-mile range. The battery setup can reach 80% charge in 90 minutes, Volvo said.

The VNR Electric is based on the Volvo VNR model. The electric version is available in five configurations: 4x2 straight truck, 6x4 straight truck, 4x2 tractor, 6x2 tractor and 6x4 tractor.

VNR Electric trucks are sold in combination with the Volvo Gold Contract. This service contract is specifically designed for battery-electric vehicles and includes maintenance, towing, unplanned repair and uptime services. The truck and contract have several payment options.

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