Nationwide Platforms raises the bar with UK’s first Volvo FM Electric pairing
Powered access specialist Nationwide Platforms has taken delivery of two new Volvo FM Electric 4×2 tractor units in what is believed to be a first for the UK’s powered access sector. The battery electric trucks form part of a larger order of Volvo models.
Supplied by Rory Kelly, Transport Solutions Executive at Volvo Truck and Bus Centre South & East’s Coventry depot, the FM Electrics will be used to pull step frame trailers transporting hire equipment to and from sites around Birmingham and the north west.
James Clarke, Haulage and Logistics Director, Nationwide Platforms, says: “Sustainability is a key driver for the business, and introducing our first battery electric trucks felt like the right thing to do. Volvo had the product that met our sustainability commitments, and it’s exciting to welcome these new electric models.”
Commenting on the suitability of battery electric power, he adds: “We need the electric trucks to cover up to 150 miles each day on the routes they’ll be working, whilst also providing enough power to drive our ancillary equipment. They’ve been spec’d to deliver that and more, with a comfortable margin of power in reserve at the end of the day before recharging in our depots overnight. We are confident they will slip into our operation seamlessly, whilst also turning heads out on the road.”
The FM Electrics both feature three electrical motors, generating an output of 666hp and 2,400 Nm of continuous torque, paired with a standard I-Shift gearbox to deliver a smooth and ultra-quiet in-cab driving experience.
Such impressive performance is handled by an electromobility traction control system to help manage power output on slippery surfaces, while different drive modes are available to set the desired performance, comfort, and energy usage levels.
The two vehicles will be split between Nationwide Platform’s Birmingham and Warrington depots, helping to further drive down its fleet emissions while complementing existing and upcoming clean air zone regulations in both regions.
“Given the size of vehicles and equipment in fleet, driving sustainability gains has always been easier said than done,” adds Clarke. “Products such as the FM Electric are clearly a step in the right direction for the environment. There is huge potential in transitioning, where possible, to low and zero tailpipe emission heavy trucks and this is a very important step for us.”
The FM Electrics have been fitted with spacious Globetrotter cabs and a Drive++ package, which adds dual armrests, leather upholstery and fully electronic air conditioning with sun, mist, air quality sensors and a carbon filter – ensuring premium driver comfort.
Visibility is improved with V-Shaped LED headlamps that automatically adapt to ambient light conditions, and rain-sensing windscreen wipers to ensure a clear view of the road ahead. Also included in the specification is a host of active safety systems, including Lane Keeping Support, Lane Keeping Assist and Driver Alert Support, as well as Side Collision Avoidance Support on both the driver’s and passenger’s side to boost safety.
Both trucks have been fully backed by Volvo, including comprehensive five-year Volvo Gold Contracts to guarantee maximum uptime. This includes preventative maintenance and repairs, plus the monitoring of key systems including batteries and other critical components.
They form part of a larger order, including Volvo FM 8×2 rigids and FM 6×2 tractor units, all powered by ultra-efficient Euro-6 diesel engines. Together, they will serve as replacements for older assets in the company’s 170-strong truck fleet.
Established in 1994, Nationwide Platforms is the UK’s market leader in powered access hire equipment, with more than 1,000 employees servicing 31 depots across the country.