Danfoss drives Volvo electric truck from Denmark to Le Mans in France


Danish engineering group Danfoss will drive one of its electric trucks from Denmark to Le Mans, France, to coincide with the 24-hour race event, together with 47 electric cars. The 20-ton, 17-meter-long Volvo electric truck will be joining what the organizers call “the world’s biggest electric road trip.”

The journey of approximately 1,300 kilometers, organized as a non-profit event by the company GodEnergi, aims to dispel range anxiety and demonstrate that it is possible to electrify and decarbonize transport to a much greater extent than is commonly perceived today.

“The 24 Hours of Le Mans race is a test of endurance for drivers and vehicles. Like the participants trying to maximize distance while minimizing the risk of a breakdown, electric vehicle drivers need to maximize range and minimize charging downtime. By participating in this event, we aim to prove that electric vehicles are built for endurance and can go the distance,” said Roy Chen, President, Editron division, Danfoss Power Solutions.

The electric truck participating in the event is part of Danfoss’ fully electric truck fleet, which transports cargo between production facilities and logistical sites in Denmark. It contains several essential components from Danfoss, such as the Editron ED3 onboard charger with electric power take-off (ePTO). ED3 delivers 43 kilowatts of charging power, the highest AC power onboard charger available today. The device enables rapid overnight and opportunity charging of electric vehicles using readily available utility outlets, facilitating quick deployment while minimizing charging infrastructure costs for end users.

“We see neither technological nor practical barriers to converting to fully electric trucks. In Denmark, for example, 48% of all trucks drive less than 300 kilometers per day. For a large part of the trucks, there is no reason to have range anxiety, and at the same time, electrification of heavy transport will make a significant contribution to the green transition,” said Torben Christensen, Chief Sustainability Officer at Danfoss.

Electrified all the way from Nordborg, Denmark, to Le Mans, France

The electric road trip consisting of 47 electric cars and the electric truck will officially depart from Danfoss’ headquarters in Nordborg, Denmark, on June 12. From Nordborg, the delegation will cross the border into Germany and reach the Netherlands later that day for a layover.

On June 13, the delegation will continue from the Netherlands through Belgium to its final destination in Le Mans, France. The convoy consists entirely of electric vehicles, and all aspects of the road trip are electrified. For example, participants will rely on power from the cars for their camp, including cooking on electric grills.

“We are 115 participants in this road trip who love motorsport and cars, and at the same time, want to prove that it is possible to cover long distances in electric vehicles. The technology and the opportunities are there. We are pleased to be joined by Danfoss and their electric truck since it is a company famous for their solutions and technology within electrification,” said Jan Darville, CEO of GodEnergi.

Danfoss technology in the Volvo electric truck

Danfoss Editron is supplying the ED3 onboard charger and electric power supply to Volvo electric trucks, which enables fast overnight AC charging and is a key enabler to electrifying on-highway trucks and buses as well as off-highway vehicles. The ED3’s dual functionality provides 43 kW of power to charge a truck overnight (8-9 hours) while using readily available AC power outlets. This enables the quick deployment of EV trucks while minimizing the charging infrastructure costs for the end users.

While DC charging is more rapid and usually the preferred option, the ability to rapidly charge with AC power (that is, to plug directly into the utility grid for charging) is crucial to providing flexibility for heavy-duty electric vehicles. Rapid AC charging is necessary to eliminate range anxiety for commercial vehicles operating on variable routes or vehicles at construction sites where it is not possible to access DC charging.

This unique product also acts as a 44 kW electric power take-off (ePTO) to power vehicle auxiliary functions, such as the compressors on refrigerated trucks and compactors on refuse trucks, as well as work functions on off-highway vehicles such as excavators and wheel loaders.

Semikron Danfoss supplies SKAI High Voltage (HV) traction inverters for Volvo electric trucks. The traction inverter plays a crucial role in controlling the flow of electrical energy from the battery to the electric motor that drives the vehicle. Precise control of the flow is essential to enable smooth acceleration, deceleration, and efficient energy consumption. Essentially, the inverter acts as the direct extension of the vehicle’s accelerator, determining how fast and how hard the motor should work, based on driver input.

The inverter is also the part of the powertrain that converts direct current (DC) from the battery to alternating current (AC), which the electric motor needs. Finally, it is the inverter that enables regenerative braking, which extends the range of the electric vehicle by producing new electrical energy for the battery when the vehicle brakes and decelerates.

SKAI HV is designed for use in buses, construction machinery, marine vessels, and trucks, and is among the market’s most robust and proven inverters for heavy-duty electric vehicles.