Truck & Off-Highway Engineering - February 2022 - 15

'MIXED' APPROACH TO
E-TRUCK
MANUFACTURING
ELECTRIFICATION | MANUFACTURING FEATURE
Volvo
Trucks will
manufacture
electric variants
of the heavyduty
FH and FM
truck ranges
alongside
combustionengine
models.
Volvo Group CTO details the OEM's " mixed-model assembly " strategy for
battery and fuel-cell electric vehicles and provides insights on infrastructure and
the transition to autonomous.
by John Kendall
E
lectrification for truck, bus and off-highway equipment manufacturers
brings more technology hurdles than for carmakers.
Some are attributable to the issues involved with larger vehicles
and the accompanying powertrain demands. Lars Stenqvist, the
chief technology officer of the Volvo Group whose products include
trucks, buses, construction equipment, as well as marine and industrial
engines, recently discussed some of the electrification issues with SAE
Media Group Europe editor John Kendall.
Volvo Trucks has been gaining experience with electric vehicle
(EV) manufacturing through small-scale production of battery-electric
vehicle (BEV) versions of its FL medium-duty and FE middleweight
truck ranges since 2019. Later in 2022, this experience will be
used as the company also begins manufacture of electric variants of
the heavy-duty FH and FM truck ranges. Volvo Buses also launched
its BZL Electric chassis last fall.
" We made a thorough investigation when it comes to the production
setup for electric vehicles, and we have come to the conclusion
that we will use what we call 'mixed-model assembly' on the main
line, " Stenqvist shared. " So, if I invited you to the Gothenburg plant,
or Ghent in Belgium, we would walk along the line and you would see
one truck being built with a combustion engine intended for use with
diesel, the next one would be a truck with LNG [liquefied natural gas]
assembling the LNG tanks, and the third vehicle on the assembly line
would be a battery-electric vehicle. "
To accommodate the mixed assembly, Volvo Group will install a
number of new pre-assembly and sub-assembly stations on the lines.
Stenqvist says that pre-assembly will be used for the power electronics
components and batteries.
TRUCK & OFF-HIGHWAY ENGINEERING
" So, if we did walk along the lines, where we are normally
dropping or installing the engine into the vehicle,
on that very station, we would install the unit containing
the power electronics, " he explained. " On the station
where we are normally installing or assembling the fuel
tanks, that's where we are going to install and assemble
the battery units. So that is the setup. "
Volvo is already in series production with the FL and
FE. " We have learned a lot, " Stenqvist said. " Of course,
it's about the training of our assembly technicians,
because we are introducing high-voltage components
on the line. "
Flexibility with fuel cells
Volvo Group signed two important joint venture agreements
in 2021, one of them to form cellcentric with
Daimler Truck to produce hydrogen fuel-cell modules.
The company will use the same vehicle assembly techniques
for fuel-cell electric models when production of
these vehicles begins later in this decade.
Stenqvist believes that using these assembly techniques
will provide the company with ample flexibility.
" The question is of course, how fast could we ramp up
production? It's very difficult to answer, " he said. " But
if you use this concept, you will be super flexible and
you can also reuse your installations. You don't run
into those risks of saying that all of a sudden that old
February 2022 15
VOLVO GROUP

Truck & Off-Highway Engineering - February 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Truck & Off-Highway Engineering - February 2022

Truck & Off-Highway Engineering - February 2022 - CVR4
Truck & Off-Highway Engineering - February 2022 - CVRA
Truck & Off-Highway Engineering - February 2022 - CVRB
Truck & Off-Highway Engineering - February 2022 - CVR1
Truck & Off-Highway Engineering - February 2022 - CVR2
Truck & Off-Highway Engineering - February 2022 - 1
Truck & Off-Highway Engineering - February 2022 - 2
Truck & Off-Highway Engineering - February 2022 - 3
Truck & Off-Highway Engineering - February 2022 - 4
Truck & Off-Highway Engineering - February 2022 - 5
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Truck & Off-Highway Engineering - February 2022 - 15
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Truck & Off-Highway Engineering - February 2022 - 26
Truck & Off-Highway Engineering - February 2022 - CVR3
Truck & Off-Highway Engineering - February 2022 - CVR4
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