Volvo officially started North American commercial sales of its VNR electric heavy truck today, ahead of production, which will start in “early 2021.”

The truck will be available in three configurations: a single-axle box truck with 33,200lb GCWR, and two tractor configurations, a 4×2 with 66,000lb and a 6×2 with 82,000lb GCWR.

We attended Volvo Trucks’ launch event for the VNR electric earlier this year in Fontana, California. Fontana is at the heart of Southern California’s Inland Empire, an area that has seen huge growth as a logistics center for shipments entering the US through Long Beach, home to the two largest container ports in the country.

Volvo has been running a pilot program for more than a year out of Fontana, partnering with local logistics companies to assess the viability of these electric trucks. At the launch event we heard from drivers and executives alike who seemed happy with the trucks so far.

Today’s announcement doesn’t give us much more additional information about the trucks, merely that they are available for commercial sales. Availability has been pushed back from “late 2020” to “early 2021” (not unlike another electric truck you may have heard of), and battery size is 264kWh.

Volvo says that the 264kWh battery will enable operating ranges of up to 150 miles based on truck configuration, and the battery will be able to charge to 80% within 70 minutes on a sufficiently fast DC charger. The electric drivetrain will deliver 455 horsepower and 4,051lb-ft of torque.

The VNR Electric will primarily target local and regional distribution applications, like food and beverage and pickup and delivery routes.

Watch Volvo’s video that introduces the truck here:

In addition to the obvious fuel cost and environmental benefits that come from electric trucks, Volvo Trucks sees other logistical and human resource benefits to be gained as well. Disposing of loud, stinky diesel engines will allow for quieter and cleaner operation, making life easier for drivers. Quieter trucks could also allow for more flexible delivery hours, enabling neighborhood deliveries at night and thus reducing traffic and adding more flexibility for logistics managers.

While there are no plans yet for the VNR Electric to be fully autonomous, it will have several of Volvo’s active safety features, like Volvo Active Driver Assist and Lane Departure Warning.

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