Volvo Trucks North America is working with the University of Minnesota (UMN) to conduct extreme weather testing for its Class 8 VNR Electric model to analyze the impact of ambient temperature on a truck’s battery life.
UMN has teamed up with Murphy Logistics Solutions to test the trucks in Minnesota in winter temperatures and H-E-B Grocery Company (HEB) in Texas to test during periods of intense summer heat.
The project will track the results of two Volvo VNR Electric engineering trucks with a six-battery configuration rated to provide up to 275 miles of range.
Murphy and HEB will operate the battery-electric trucks on freight routes that exceed 250 miles in a day. The drivers have been trained by the Volvo Trucks electromobility team to utilize regenerative braking and other safe driving practices designed to maximize vehicle range. The VNR Electric trucks will leave the warehouse at the beginning of the day with a 100% state of charge and will ideally return near empty (~10% state of charge) at the end of their routes to take full advantage of useable energy in the battery.
In addition to the severe weather testing, UMN has developed an Intelligent Energy Management System (EMS) to help fleets understand how driving style can affect 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. The tool uses a machine learning-based algorithm to dynamically inform drivers about available range and minimum charging requirements, taking load and ambient conditions into consideration. The EMS also enables higher efficiency and longer range through advanced eco-route planning. To date, the EMS tool has helped Murphy and HEB achieve more than a 20% increase in range, according to UMN.
“This research project is a critical step to ensuring the efficiency and reliability of Class 8 electric trucks regardless of the environmental factors,” said Keith Brandis, VP of System Solutions and Partnerships for the Volvo Group.