World's First Fossil-Free Steel Vehicle is a Volvo

Volvo has unveiled the world's first vehicle using fossil-free steel—a load carrier used in mining and quarrying—at a green steel collaboration event in Gothenburg, Sweden. (Volvo)

Volvo's work to remove fossil fuel from the steel used to produce its vehicles took another step forward this week with the introduction of what the company is calling the "world's first vehicle using fossil-free steel."

The new vehicle is not a car or an SUV, but a load carrier, used in mining and quarrying. This week, the load carrier was unveiled at a green steel collaboration event in Gothenburg, Sweden, timed to coincide with the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) of global leaders. COP26 starts in Glasgow, Scotland, later this month. The automaker built the concept machine at Volvo Construction Equipment's facility in Braås, Sweden.

The fossil-free steel comes from Volvo's steel production partner SSAB, which developed its Hydrogen Breakthrough Ironmaking Technology (HYBRIT) to reduce carbon emissions in steel production, with iron ore producer LKAB and energy company Vattenfall. The three companies started working on HYBRIT technology in 2016.

"This initiative with SSAB sets the benchmark for a fossil-free future," said Martin Lundstedt, President and CEO of Volvo Group, in a statement. "Just as the nations of the world come together at COP26 to address climate change, so too must organizations and industries work in collaboration to develop innovative new solutions for a greenhouse gas emission-free future."

Earlier this year, Volvo revealed its long-term plans to use more of SSAB's greener steel in its vehicles, with the load carrier revealed this week being just the first of several vehicles made with fossil-free steel the company will build yet in 2021. At an event debuting the new load carrier, Volvo said it will introduce a series of concept vehicles and components using fossil-free steel from SSAB in 2022. Also, next year, Volvo will ramp up small-scale serial production of fossil-free steel vehicles, with mass production planned for 2023 or later. SSAB will offer fossil-free steel to the broader market in 2026, and the entire company will be "practically fossil-free" by 2045.

Removing fossil fuels—and other sources of greenhouse gas emissions—from its supply chain is a driving force for Volvo and its electric vehicle (EV) sister company Polestar, which is working to debut a completely carbon neutral EV by 2030. The Volvo Group has committed to be climate-neutral and achieve net-zero value chain greenhouse gas emissions by 2040.