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Volvo Trucks Sees EVs As Key To Beating Freightliner In U.S.

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Image for article titled Volvo Believes Electric Trucks Are Key to Dominating U.S. Commercial Market

Photo: Volvo Trucks

Volvo is making inroads in the U.S. truck market now that the sale of EV big rigs is taking off. Volvo Trucks is currently ahead of its competitors in the U.S., including Mack, Peterbilt, International and the stalwart Freightliner, which has dominated the sale of commercial trucks in the U.S. for years, according to Automotive News.

The Volvo VNR Electric is the best-selling EV big rig in the U.S. with 51 models sold through July of 2022. That may seem like a low number, but it’s more than the number of EV models sold by three of Volvo’s competitors combined: Mack sold seven EVs; Peterbilt sold 10; and International sold six.

Freightliner and parent company Daimler don’t account for production model sales yet because the eCascadia and eM2 EVs are strictly prototypes for now. The company has 40 of these EV big rigs undergoing tests throughout the U.S., but Volvo began its commercial EV testing and pilot programs long before many competitors.

Image for article titled Volvo Believes Electric Trucks Are Key to Dominating U.S. Commercial Market

Photo: Volvo Trucks

Volvo’s early start has given the truck maker an edge over competitors as these pilot programs have turned into EV orders from major fleet operators. Shipping giant Maersk bought 16 Volvo VNR Electric trucks last year for its Performance Team division, which handles warehouse distribution in Southern California. Performance followed up with another order for 110 Volvo EVs that are set to begin running routes in early 2023.

That Maersk and Performance Team contract alone made Volvo over $50 million, with each VNR Electric selling for upwards of $400,000 based on configuration.

Elsewhere, NFI Industries has ordered 60 EV trucks from Volvo after having participated in a pilot program operating two Volvo EV big rigs in 2020. The company will have 90 electric trucks running in Southern California soon, as Auto News reports, with 60 of these being Volvo VNR Electric models and the remaining 30 being Freightliner eCascadias.

Image for article titled Volvo Believes Electric Trucks Are Key to Dominating U.S. Commercial Market

Photo: Volvo Trucks

The Volvo VNR Electric trucks have a range of up to 275 miles, which is enough to make two daily trips between ports in Southern California and NFI warehouses further inland, per AN. But Volvo is already working with dealers and utilities to build up infrastructure in the entire state with a commercial charging corridor that’ll connect Southern, Central and Northern California.

Volvo is hoping its early lead and company-backed infrastructure will help it become the dominant truck maker in North America in the long term. Even though Freightliner outsells rival truck makers in the U.S. by far, the transition to electric trucks may finally give Volvo the chance to catch up to the industry leader. But diesel trucks still dominate the market, with about 150,000 models expected to sell through the end of this year.

Freightliner has a 40 percent market share in the U.S., while Volvo has 11 percent. So, Volvo has a long way to go and deep brand loyalty to disrupt. Commercial fleets tend to stick to a preferred brand to make truck repairs and service more streamlined and less costly, but given that EVs require less service, Volvo is betting it can at least take some market share away from Freightliner.

Image for article titled Volvo Believes Electric Trucks Are Key to Dominating U.S. Commercial Market

Photo: Volvo Trucks

Image for article titled Volvo Believes Electric Trucks Are Key to Dominating U.S. Commercial Market

Photo: Volvo Trucks

Image for article titled Volvo Believes Electric Trucks Are Key to Dominating U.S. Commercial Market

Photo: Volvo Trucks

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