Sweden’s journey towards sustainable transportation has gained significant momentum this year, especially in electric trucks. Recent data showcases that Sweden now boasts a fleet of 16,566 light trucks and 378 heavy-duty trucks as of July 31.

The surge in light trucks has been substantial, nearly registering a 25 percent increase throughout the year. On the other hand, statistics also reveal that 378 heavy-duty trucks hit the road, showing a 65 percent increase from the initial count of 229 trucks at the beginning of the year.

Following the surge in the number of rechargeable vehicles, the collective battery capacity also experiences an increase. Currently, Sweden’s rechargeable vehicle fleet collectively boasts a robust battery capacity of approximately 10,700 MWh.

The growing battery storage capacity holds immense potential to offer substantial benefits to Sweden’s electricity system, particularly in areas like Svenska kraftnät’s support service markets or local flexibility markets.

One notable instance of a company embracing electric trucks is Tesla. Eight months ago, the company launched its electric truck, known as the Tesla Semi, which has already started its delivery operations.

Even though there aren’t many Tesla Semis in use yet, PepsiCo has already put 21 of these trucks to work at their distribution center in Sacramento, California. These trucks handle various routes of different lengths.

Most Tesla Semis cover shorter routes, around 250 kilometers with multiple stops, while three are used for longer trips. They can travel from 400 to 725 kilometers per shift.

To keep things running smoothly, PepsiCo has 750 kW fast chargers from Tesla on-site, delivering a total of 3 MW. These chargers can quickly recharge the trucks during short 20 to 30-minute stops, taking them from 5-10 percent to 95 percent. This minimizes downtime and keeps operations going.

In addition to Tesla Semis, PepsiCo is also using electric Ford e-Transit vehicles and electric forklift trucks. These vehicles get power from a solar facility on the terminal’s roof.

Advancements in Charging Infrastructure

Another important part of this move towards electric vehicles is the impressive improvement in charging infrastructure. Statistics in 2023 show a 38 percent increase in new charging stations and a 59 percent rise in new charging points.

The Energy Agency has outlined plans to have 50 additional charging points for electric trucks established throughout Sweden by the upcoming autumn. This move is expected to help solve the insufficient charging spots problem, which used to be a major concern.

NOBIL database, which gathers information about charging infrastructure, has also upgraded its data collection process recently. As a result, the database now offers more up-to-date and reliable insights into the charging infrastructure landscape.

“It is gratifying to see how the statistics on charging infrastructure are developing and the degree of coverage is improving,” said Hampus Thuresson, project manager at Power Circle.

“Reliable data is a prerequisite for us to be able to use different key figures and see how the expansion of charging infrastructure relates to the development of the rechargeable vehicle fleet.”

As more companies join the electric vehicle movement in transportation, the main challenge now is the costs involved, according to Svenska Dagbladet.

For trucking companies, the sudden spike in truck costs poses a big challenge. A diesel truck typically costs around SEK 1.5 million, while an electric truck comes with a higher price tag of SEK 4 million.

This increase in costs comes at a time when rising interest rates and inflation are already making things tougher for many haulage companies.

“The drivers love driving electric cars. But the financial calculations don’t add up,” said economic policy expert Anders Josephsson.

Swedish Commitment to Green Transition

Sweden’s commitment to promoting the use of electric vehicles is also evident in the implementation of license plate reading technology. This novel technology accurately tracks the quantity of fossil-free journeys across the bridge in real time.

Bengt Hergart, facilities director at the Öresund Bridge, highlighted the significance of this measurement. According to him, the data provides valuable insights into the broader societal shift towards green practices.

“With the help of the investment in license plate reading, which also provides smoother passages, we can contribute to traffic trends regarding the green transition across the strait,” he said.

This progress is evident in the numbers, as the percentage of eco-friendly journeys has been on an upward trajectory. According to reports, 7.4 percent of vehicles crossing the bridge were electric or hydrogen-powered. It has been increasing from 7 percent in January.

As for passenger cars, the figure is even higher at 8.2 percent, showing a big move towards cleaner transportation.

Sweden’s Traffic Emissions Drop 5%

Sweden’s commitment toward sustainability has resulted in encouraging outcomes, with a noticeable 5 percent decrease in greenhouse gas emissions from traffic compared to the previous year, according to data from the Swedish Transport Administration.

Three key factors have contributed to this positive shift, including a surge in biofuel adoption, increased energy efficiency and the growing integration of electric vehicles within the vehicle fleet.

A significant highlight of this outcome is the substantial drop in carbon dioxide emissions from newly registered passenger cars. This figure fell from 88 g/km in 2021 to a preliminary 70 g/km in 2022.

The primary cause of this reduction is the increasing popularity of electric cars, which now constitute 32 percent of new vehicle registrations, up from 18 percent.

The positive trend is further supported by the inclusion of plug-in hybrids and more energy-efficient non-rechargeable cars, as reported by Swedish Transport Administration.

Sven Hunhammar, Director of Environment at the Swedish Transport Administration, expressed optimism.

“It is positive that so much of the energy used in road traffic is fossil-free and renewable. In 2022, the proportion increased from 26 to a preliminary 29 percent, which is a record,” he said.

New Battery System

To enhance the safety of its electric trucks, Swedish manufacturer Volvo Truck has introduced a battery thermal management system. This system alerts drivers about overheating by activating a malfunction indicator on the instrument cluster.

The recall was triggered by the discovery of a non-spreading fire in a single Akasol Gen 3 battery shipped from an Ohio plant to Volvo’s Virginia assembly plant on July 5.

Although no other batteries in the shipment had similar issues, this discovery led to a safety investigation and a stop-delivery order on July 12.

Previously, Volvo Trucks North America and Mack Trucks were reported to recall a substantial number of their battery-powered electric trucks manufactured over the last four years due to potential battery fire risks.

This marks the fourth recall for these electric trucks since the companies began production in 2022. The latest recall affects 173 Volvo vehicles and nine Mack vehicles produced between April 1, 2019 and February 10, 2023.

While electric trucks are relatively new in the market, facing initial issues is common for new products. Just like traditional diesel trucks, these innovative vehicles might encounter glitches that need fixing.

The recent recalls by both Volvo and Mack, part of the Volvo Group, are linked to an issue related to over-torquing bus bars, which are responsible for collecting and distributing electric power within the vehicles.

Excessive torque can lead to damage and debris in the battery pack, potentially causing a short circuit and increasing the risk of a fire. Volvo identified insufficient process controls during assembly as the cause.