Volvo Trucks and Econ just unveiled an electric gritter truck that can do a lot more than just grit

Volvo Trucks and Econ Engineering’s new electric gritter truck isn’t limited to just winter use because it has an Electric Quick Change Body (E-QCB) system.

Transformer-like electric gritter truck

The E-QCB, which is what Econ calls it, is much more than just an electric gritter truck. Thanks to Volvo Trucks’ customizable EV truck base, it can be turned, Transformer-like, into a tipper truck for highway maintenance, and a cage tipper for garbage or recycling collection. 

The E-QCB prototype, which Econ developed along with Volvo Trucks product specialists, uses hydraulic rams that allow a single person to switch between demountable bodies in just 15 minutes.

The E-QCB is the first in the “Econ Zero” range. Econ’s bodywork sits on on a 19-tonne Volvo FE Electric 4×2 chassis. It’s got four batteries and has a range of up to 155 miles (250 km). It can be charged in 2.3 hours with a 150 kW DC fast charger.

The E-QCB’s Volvo powertrain has two electric motors combined with a two-speed gearbox, and its power delivery is handled by a traction control system developed especially to function safely on slippery roads.

Econ says it’s best suited for an urban environment, as daily mileage driven will typically be less. And when it comes to gritting, the E-QCB’s FE electric-based model has less vibrations and almost silent operation that allows drivers to better focus on gritting the road and driving safely.

The flagship prototype will be run in the UK. Christian Coolsaet, managing director of Volvo Trucks UK & Ireland, said:

Every part of the transport sector needs to have its sights set on achieving net zero, and gritting and snowplowing is no exception.

The team at Econ has developed an exceptional new product with our FE Electric chassis at its heart; this is going to allow gritter fleets to reap the benefits of operating cleaner, quieter and more efficient trucks.

Electrek’s Take

I love this prototype – it’s so efficient. Econ Engineering is the UK’s largest maker of winter and highway maintenance vehicles, so it makes sense that they developed the E-QCB.

The Yorkshire-based company leases its vehicles to councils and highway authorities, so opting for an E-QCB will undoubtedly save those organizations money and space. They’ll be able to lease one electric truck that can do 3+ things, rather than 3+ trucks that can each do one thing.

Manufacturing Today asserts that Econ Engineering supplies 8 out of 10 gritters on UK roads – around 1,000 hire vehicles – so if the company rolls out more E-QCBs, it’s going to make an impact.

It would be great if Econ and Volvo rolled this EV out beyond the UK’s borders.

Read more: A Volvo FH Electric semi just made a 3,000 km trip across Europe

Photo: Econ Engineering

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