Volvo FM Electric - Hanson Plywood

Halifax-based Hanson Plywood has put its first zero-tailpipe emission truck into operation, having taken delivery of a new Volvo FM Electric 4x2 tractor unit.
Volvo FM Electric - Hanson Plywood

Established in 1987, the business has expanded considerably since its origins and now runs a mixed fleet of 18 trucks – a combination of tractor units and rigids. The new FM Electric forms an important part of its long-term sustainability ambitions.  

  • The FM Electric 4x2 is powered by three electrical motors, creating 666 hp and 2,400 Nm of continuous torque.
  • Equipped with electromobility traction control system to help manage power output on slippery surfaces.
  • Equipped with six batteries, it offers a range of approximately 300km.
  • Boosted safety with Lane Keeping Support, Lane Keeping Assist and Driver Alert Support, Side Collision Avoidance Support on both the driver and passenger’s side.



The vehicle is comfortably achieving the 170 miles that Volvo had promised, which is more than enough range to reach a lot of our customers in the north of England.

Why Volvo Electric?

Having already ordered five electric forklifts as well as signing up to the business sustainability certification Planet Mark, the next step for Hanson Plywood was to look at reducing the emissions from its HGV fleet. For Volvo, as an operator that was already actively looking to boost its environmental credentials and cut its carbon footprint, Hanson Plywood was a match made in heaven.

Together, the duo used Volvo’s Electric Range Simulator to consider multiple factors about the customer’s operation, including payload, routes, driving hours and charging infrastructure, to pinpoint a suitable vehicle spec and operational domain.

John Lumb, Transport Manager, Hanson Plywood, says: “We started to look into Volvo’s electric trucks because we felt that it was further along the EV journey than other manufacturers. Others seemed to be looking more at rigids and, with the product that we sell being very dense, these vehicles would not give us the payload that we needed.

“Volvo gave us a comprehensive and detailed presentation, explaining the very useful route simulation software. With all things considered, we decided that was the way to go.”

The Volvo Solution

Supplied by Crossroads Truck and Bus, the FM Electric is powered by three electrical motors, generating 666 hp and 2,400 Nm of continuous torque.

An onboard electromobility traction control system helps manage output on slippery surfaces, while different drive modes are available to set the desired performance, comfort, and energy usage levels. The vehicle utilises

Volvo’s standard I-Shift gearbox, which delivers a smooth and ultra-quiet driving experience by constantly evaluating information about speed, weight, road grade and torque demand.

“I dealt with Jason Robinson at Crossroads, who seemed to have all the answers to the questions I was asking him”, says Lumb, who adds that staff from Crossroads came to the Hanson Plywood site to assess the company’s operations. “From there, they were able to provide a full route simulation, based on the information I’d sent them, as well as a full route cost comparison with the EV, as opposed to a diesel truck. They based the figures on the current pence per litre rate of fuel and our kWh price to recharge the truck. The figures showed a very big saving based on the routes that we could use it on.”

The Results

The Volvo FM Electric has fitted in well to Hanson Plywood’s busy operation, offering plenty of flexibility on journeys, completing either multiple shorter runs or one longer round-trip on any given day.

“We specified a 4x2 tractor unit coupled to a brand-new 36ft tandem-axle rear steer curtainside trailer”, explains Lumb. “This configuration gives us a 20-tonne payload (with the two-tonne EV dispensation) and the flexibility to access practically any delivery point that a 6x2 rigid would.”

The FM electric will be used predominantly during the day, therefore giving a nine-hour window for charging on-site overnight.

“So far, the vehicle is achieving the 170 miles that Volvo had promised, which is enough range to reach a lot of our customers in the north of England”, concludes Lumb.