Much of the hype surrounding Tesla's newly announced electric semi truck centers on the vehicles' potential to slash fuel bills and carbon emissions. But one crucial attribute is getting lost in all the noise: the vehicles' capacity for nearly silent operation.
That advantage hasn't been lost on rival electric truck maker Volvo Trucks, which is targeting the European market for its own 2019 launch. In a recent press release, the company cited the electric trucks' quiet operation as one of their key benefits, noting that electric units offer a way around the strict overnight noise regulations in many European cities that keep diesels off their streets.
Among other benefits, the ability to operate at virtually any hour of the day would allow drivers of electric vehicles to take advantage of less-congested nighttime roads to complete their rounds, Volvo said. With fewer trucks competing for road space, midnight deliveries could lead to quicker round trips and fewer trucks on the roads overall, the company said.
A recent study supports that claim. Research conducted at Sweden's KTH Royal Institute of Technology looked at the impact of running two cargo delivery trucks between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., when heavy-vehicle traffic is forbidden in central Stockholm. The researchers found that the overnight transport assignments were carried out in just one-third the time required when trucks were forced to navigate congested roads at rush hour.
Although Volvo Trucks has targeted Europe for the initial rollout of its electric vehicles, the Swedish automaker isn't limiting its sights to the Continent. The company recently announced plans to bring its electric trucks to North America as well.