MOL and Volvo Penta Developing Full-electric 4X4 RoRo Tractors

June 5, 2024

MOL, a manufacturer of heavy industry and port handling equipment, in partnership with Volvo Penta, has commenced trials of their full electric 4X4 RoRo tractor, the RME225. The vehicle features a Volvo Penta driveline consisting of three battery packs totaling 270 kWh of installed energy, an EPT802 gearbox, and two 200 kW propulsion motors. A separate 50 kW motor powers the hydraulic system and the fifth wheel. Designed for high productivity and performance, the RME225 aims to operate a full shift and provide an alternative to its diesel counterparts.

The trials are taking place at the Port of Ghent, a strategic hub for DFDS – one of Northern Europe's largest shipping and logistics companies. DFDS has provided support for the trials, including a dedicated operator and a specially designated monitoring space. This collaborative effort reflects DFDS’s effort to reduce the company's environmental impact, aligning with its recent procurement of 100 electric trucks from Volvo, adding to the 125 heavy electric trucks previously acquired.

"The technical progress achieved through our collaboration with Volvo Penta in creating the full electric 4x4 RME225 terminal tractor demonstrates our efforts to expand our range of new emission-free vehicles specifically for the rigorous needs of heavy-duty port equipment. We’re ensuring that it performs reliably, efficiently, and effectively in real-life operational scenarios" stated Conrad Verplancke, sales engineer from MOL. As part of this trial, MOL is conducting rigorous range tests on the RME225 to fine-tune vehicle performance and driveability. These tests are crucial for ensuring the vehicle can handle heavy loads and operate efficiently under the demanding schedules typical of port operations. The aim is to address the unique challenges faced by port-based vehicles, enhancing their performance, range, and reliability.

"The value of electrification extends beyond the initial technology investment," explains Jeroen Overvelde, area sales manager at Volvo Penta. "The full electric tractor matches its diesel counterparts in performance, with potentially higher acceleration rates and available torque on the RME225. Success hinges on delivering superior performance and optimizing total cost of ownership (TCO)."

Electrifying the 4X4 RoRo tractor offers multiple benefits. It reduces tailpipe emissions, contributing to cleaner air quality, and can lower vibrations, creating a more pleasant and quieter working environment. This is particularly advantageous in confined spaces on and off container ships. "As fleet owner and terminal operator at the Port of Ghent, we are happy to support these trials and the development and testing of the electric 4X4 RME225 RoRo tractor. This is in line with our efforts to decarbonize our land-based activities, improve the working environment, and increase the efficiency of our port operations," says Raf De Wit, Terminal Director at DFDS Ghent terminal.

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