Mining company Kaunis Iron of Sweden is investing in making its transport of iron ore completely fossil-free. Together with Volvo Trucks, heavy electric trucks of 74 tons will be tested in a unique project. Kaunis Iron plans to invest half-a-billion SEK (Rs 373 crore) in new electric trucks.
At present, Kaunis transports its ore over a 160-kilometre road between Kaunisvaara and Pitkajarvi in northern Sweden, using Volvo trucks run on diesel. A total of thirty 90-ton semi-trailers make the journey around the clock. The plan going forward is to switch to battery-electric trucks for heavy transportation, so that it can operate completely fossil-free with zero CO2 emissions.
In winter 2021, a Volvo FMX Electric truck was successfully tested in real traffic, where it had to manage the arctic cold and temperatures in excess of -30degC.
“Our goal is to achieve fossil-free transport by 2025,” says Lars Wallgren, head of logistics at Kaunis Iron. “We are working hard right now to solve our transport with electric trucks. If we succeed, we can reduce carbon dioxide emissions by about 15,000 tons per year at the current production rate. We will start the next phase using 74-ton trucks in 2023, with the aim of moving up to 90 tons. This would be an unchanged gross combination weight compared to today's diesel-powered crew.”
“Volvo Trucks has very ambitious sustainability goals and we are very happy to be a supplier in this project, which will really make a difference. Kaunis Iron's transport of iron ore is the most challenging application imaginable in terms of train weights, cold climate and utilization rate. As the market leader in the development of electrified heavy transport, we look forward to deepening the collaboration,” says Ebba Bergbom Wallin, Commercial Electromobility Manager, Volvo Trucks Sweden.
The project is a collaboration between Kaunis Iron, Volvo Trucks’ dealer Wist Last & Buss and the energy company Vattenfall who will support with charging infrastructure for the electric trucks.
Electric trucks for most transport needs
Volvo Trucks started serial production of electric trucks in 2019, as one of the very first truck brands in the world to do so. With a total of six electric truck models in production as of September 2022, Volvo Trucks has the most complete electric line up in the global truck industry, covering everything from city distribution and refuse handling, to urban construction transports and regional haulage.
Volvo Trucks has so far sold more than 2,200 electric trucks globally. The company’s target is that half of its total truck sales will be electric by 2030.