Volvo Penta builds first terminal tractor prototype with electric driveline
14 Dec 2021
New milestone in company’s electrification journey sees it collaborate with US-based TICO tractors to build several test units over the coming year
As part of its drive towards electromobility, Volvo Penta has delivered and integrated its electric driveline into the first of a series of prototype fully electric terminal tractors for US customer, TICO – who will be testing the prototypes with a variety of major fleet partners.
The move is part of the Volvo Group's extensive electromobility agenda, under which it announced ambitions to be a net-zero emissions company by 2050 at the latest. The Group is now committing to the Science-Based Targets Initiative (SBTI) – with targets and roadmaps established this year. To support these sustainability goals, Volvo Penta is accelerating its efforts to reach zero emissions – through fossil-free, renewable fuels, hybrid, and electric technology.
According to Volvo Penta, the success and speed of the project with TICO can be attributed to several key factors: firstly, a strong collaboration between TICO and Volvo Penta helped to solve common development issues quickly; secondly, this solution is based on proven Volvo Group technology tailored to TICO’s application in terms of performance and energy needs; and thirdly, Volvo Penta’s knowledge of electromobility and its experience accumulated during earlier projects, such as terminal tractor proof of concept, has paved the way for this latest achievement.
The Volvo Group engines company also added that finally, when it comes to developing tailor-made electric driveline solutions, Volvo Penta’s full system supply approach – handling the development and installation of the complete electric driveline solution and its integration into the vehicle – has allowed TICO to focus on improving the vehicle’s functionality.
Daryl Berryman, head of R&D at TICO, said: “The market demand for electrification is everywhere in the applications we support. In the port industries, in the distribution industries, in the rail industry – electromobility is the new cutting-edge technology that everybody wants. It’s the natural evolution of all transportation and we want to be pioneers. To achieve this teamwork is key. By working with Volvo Penta, we’ve established a team where everyone plays a different role, and the results speak for themselves.”
Ports and distribution hubs have highly organised fleets and operations with favorable environments to develop charging infrastructure, having well-defined duty cycles, making them the perfect fit for this kind of technology. Volvo Penta analysed the operations of the TICO customer in real-time and based its electric system on this data and simulations. With good management of electrified vehicle fleets and access to high-power charging opportunities, this new technology could mean fleet owners will see notable benefits from a total cost of ownership perspective, including:
1. Eliminated fuel costs – this will be even more important for the future, with prices rising and emissions
legislation becoming more restrictive.
2. Reduced maintenance – electric drivelines have much fewer maintenance requirements compared to
3. Reduced vehicle stoppages and need for spare parts.
4. Possibilities to benefit from green incentives.
TICO will build a series of prototypes in close collaboration with Volvo Penta. These prototypes will be tested and continuously developed, finetuned, and improved. This stepwise approach – working closely with OEMs and their customers – embodies Volvo Penta’s process of tackling new product development. The company puts a strong emphasis on understanding end users’ needs and delivering technology and solutions that meet those needs but that are also reliable, safe, and create value.
“The industry is undergoing a major transformation,” says Giorgio Paris, President of Volvo Penta Industrial. “Increasingly, customers, such as TICO, are driving demand for new technologies and more sustainable power solutions – and we are committed to supporting and implementing these changes. We see our customers as our biggest asset here, and only by working in close collaboration with them we can ensure that new technologies meet the same high-quality standards expected of a premium brand.”