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Volvo to unveil electric trucks in South Africa as Nigeria lags on adoption

By Benjamin Alade
10 March 2023   |   5:54 am
Volvo Trucks South Africa has confirmed that it will start delivering heavy electric trucks to its local customers in May.

Waldemar Christensen. PIX:Engineering News

Volvo Trucks South Africa has confirmed that it will start delivering heavy electric trucks to its local customers in May.

In South Africa, these trucks fall within the extra heavy commercial vehicle segment, which comprises trucks with gross vehicle weight ratings (GVM) exceeding 16.5 t.

But in Nigeria, trucks are largely delivered in diesel engines, as adoption remains undermined by consumers’ inability to access electricity to charge the vehicles.

While the main issue with electric vehicles has never been the price or the road that a potential owner will worry about, in Nigeria the concern has always been where to charge them, considering the hours of electricity needed to keep the vehicle running, just as there are limited or non-existent charging points.

Managing Director, Volvo Trucks South Africa, Waldemar Christensen, said: “Although we are in the early stages of our electric truck journey here in South Africa, our staff and dealers are carefully trained and prepared for this new technology, enabling us to efficiently support our customers as more and more fleets move to sustainable transport solutions.”

“There are of course some infrastructural and legislative obstacles to overcome, but, together with our customers and other stakeholders, we are working hard to ensure the success and longevity of heavy electric trucks in South Africa.”

Volvo Trucks has sold more than 4,300 electric trucks globally in more than 38 countries since 2019, when production of these units started.

The Swedish manufacturer is the market leader in Europe with a 32 per cent share of the market for heavy electric trucks.

The European market for heavy electric trucks grew by 200 per cent last year, to 1,041 trucks. In North America, nearly half of all heavy electric trucks registered last year were Volvo trucks.

“We are determined to lead the electric truck transformation and our market leading position in 2022, not only in Europe, but also in North America and other markets, is proof that we are doing just that,” says Volvo Trucks president, Roger Alm.

“Although the market for electric trucks is still small, the trend is clear – many of our customers are now starting their shift to electric.

“We intend to be the catalyst for this transition and aim for 50 per cent of our global sales of new trucks to be electric in 2030.”

Volvo Trucks currently offers six electric product ranges in series production, catering for a variety of uses.

“We now have a product portfolio that can cover most types of transportation for all kinds of customers,” says Alm.

“Looking at the goods flow patterns, it’s possible to electrify nearly half of all transports with our line-up of electric trucks.”