Volvo Trucks will deliver its 16-tonne heavy-electric trucks to South African customers in May. The company has already sold more than 4,300 units in 38 countries. By South African classification, they fall within the extra-heavy commercial-vehicle segment as their gross vehicle weight exceeds 16.5-tonnes (16,500kgs).

Volvo says buyers can choose between two to six battery packs to match their requirements for range and payload, with capacities between 180-540kWh.

Waldemar Christensen, MD of Volvo Trucks South Africa, says they are in the early stages of the electric-truck journey, but staff and dealers are trained and prepared for the new technology to support customers as more fleets move to sustainable transport solutions.

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

Meanwhile, the Shoprite Group is piloting a Swedish heavy-duty electric truck with a range of about 350km, with a key differentiator: it will be recharged using solar panels fitted on its roof.

It will also feature special “glow-in-the-dark” signage to make it more visible while travelling at night. The company says it can absorb and store energy particles during bright daylight, which is then emitted at night, resulting in the glow.

The Scania battery-electric vehicle is refrigerated, holds 16 pallets, has nine batteries and features a fully electric cooling system powered by its battery packs.

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