By Nolan Beilstein

Volvo Group has built a prototype made with fossil-free steel and New Atlas reports the Swedish manufacturing corporation is claiming the vehicle is the first of its kind. The fully electric and autonomous vehicle is a load carrier and Volvo expects a small-scale series production in 2022 with mass production to follow. 

In August, Swedish steelmaker SSAB completed the first fossil-free steel delivery to Volvo. Volvo then used the steel to make the new load carrier. 

SSAB manufactured the steel by using hydrogen rather than coal and coke as a reductant. Also, instead of a coal-fired blast furnace, SSAB used an electric variant that runs on renewable energy. 

The load carrier’s operations will involve mining and quarrying. Volvo made the vehicle capable of working in a convoy of autonomous vehicles. Ideally, the carrier would pick up and transport material around a route pre-programmed in its system. Its electric motor allows it to operate without producing any emissions. 

With steel production accounting for 7-8% of global anthropogenic carbon emissions, this development is another step for Volvo in its quest to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040. This would include its supply chain. In SSAB’s case, they hope to produce its fossil-free steel at scale in 2026.