MOL and Volvo Penta Develop Full Electric 4X4 RoRo Tractors

MOL and Volvo Penta are collaborating on trials for a pioneering electric 4X4 RoRo tractor, the RME225, utilizing DFDS's facilities at the Port of Ghent. The initiative aims to elevate material handling operations for fleet owners such as terminal operators, to new heights.
MOL and Volvo Penta Develop Full Electric 4X4 RoRo Tractors
Courtesy of Volvo Penta

The companies have commenced trials of the 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.

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' 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.

As part of this trial, MOL is conducting rigorous range tests on the RME225 to fine-tune vehicle performance and drivability. 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."

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,” says Raf De Wit, Terminal Director at DFDS Ghent terminal

The partnership among MOL, Volvo Penta, and DFDS at the Port of Ghent exemplifies a dedicated collaboration geared towards innovation amid the energy transition in the maritime and logistics sectors. This initiative shows the companies' commitment to reducing their greenhouse gas footprint in the global transition to more sustainable transportation solutions.


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