Volvo teamed up with Swedish steel producer SSAB a few months ago to develop a type of steel for its vehicles that do not use fossil fuels. The automaker has now unveiled what it claims to be the world’s first vehicle made of fossil-free steel.
It’s a fully electric four-wheeled load carrier designed for quarrying and mining. It is also autonomous and can follow a pre-programmed route to transport materials at a job site, in addition to emitting no greenhouse gases.
SSAB manufactures fossil-free steel by replacing coal in the manufacturing process with hydrogen derived from electrolysis. However, as Forbes points out, the entire vehicle isn’t exactly fossil-free because the steel used for its components provided by third-party suppliers, such as its electric motor, was manufactured using traditional methods.
Nonetheless, Volvo Group CTO Lars Stenqvist told the publication that the “majority of the steel” in the vehicle is free of fossil fuels. He stated that three tons of the carrier’s 8.2-ton weight are made of SSAB green steel, and the remaining eight tons include other heavy components such as the vehicle’s tires.
Volvo intends to begin small-scale production of the vehicle next year and then scale up production based on SSAB steel availability. The Swedish manufacturer hopes to begin mass-production of its fossil-free steel in 2026, so we may see more Volvo vehicles made with the material by then.
Martin Lundstedt, President and CEO of Volvo Group, said in a statement: “This initiative with SSAB sets the benchmark for a fossil-free future. Just as the nations of the world come together at COP26 to address climate change, so too must organizations and industries work in collaboration to develop innovative new solutions for a greenhouse gas emission-free future.
“Volvo Group is committed to pioneering partnerships such as this with SSAB to develop attractive, safe, and efficient new vehicles and machines that pave the way for more sustainable transport and infrastructure system adopted for the future.”