Carl-Magnus Norden, founder of Swedish electric truck startup, Volta Trucks shares his thoughts on 2019 and makes his predictions for 2020.
When it comes to your sector, what do you consider the developments in 2019 to have been?
I think the most important development is the focus on safety for trucks and especially for last-mile distribution. Hats off to the Mayor’s office of London for pushing this agenda and TfL’s research resulting in the Direct Vision Standards and regulations applied in London.
What didn’t happen in 2019 that you expected to happen?
Discussions around climate change and pollution certainly reached a boiling point in 2019, and I felt hopeful that these would force traditional truck manufacturers to make real commitments to electrification and alternative fuels. The absence of such promises is becoming more and more apparent as the end of the year is now fast-approaching.
When it comes to your sector, what do you think will be the key developments in 2020?
2020 will see more HGV regulations, such as the Direct Vision Standard in London, come into place, and I believe more UK cities will follow the lead of Bristol to announce plans to ban diesel vehicles or to introduce specific ‘zero-emission streets’ such as Beech Street in London.
Combined, this will put even greater pressure of truck manufacturers and fleet owners to upgrade their vehicles to be greener and safer. While it won’t happen overnight, I think 2020 will be the year when our industry gets serious about positive change.
What do you anticipate in the decade ahead?
I see a bright future for our industry to reduce emissions over the coming decade. I think that by 2030, all inner-city distribution will be carried out by fully electric HGVs, cars, and micromobility vehicles such as cargo bikes and mopeds. I’m hoping that the 2020s will also see more companies find inspiration in Volta Trucks to make urban transportation safer for everyone affected by it.
If you had a time machine and could travel back to 2009, what is the one piece of professional advice (or professional information) that you would tell your younger self?
Get the timing right! Over the years, I’ve learned the importance of identifying, and acting upon major technology shifts as key to becoming the market leader. With Volta, we are riding the early wave of electrification, and we can do this because we are designing our offering around available technology as opposed to anticipated advancements and imagined markets.