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Dependable Highway Express pilots Volvo VNR electric heavy-duty trucks

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David Sickels is the Associate Editor of Tire Review and Fleet Equipment magazines. He has a history of working in the media, marketing and automotive industries in both print and online.

Dependable Highway Express (DHE) has received two Volvo VNR Electric trucks, the first battery-electric Class 8 trucks to join DHE’s fleet in southern California.

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The electric trucks will be added to DHE’s existing fleet of more than 500 Volvo trucks operating across North America. Deployed as part of the Volvo LIGHTS (Low Impact Green Heavy Transport Solutions) project, the Volvo VNR Electric trucks will operate in a pilot project through the end of 2021 to demonstrate the ability for battery-electric trucks to successfully transport goods in DHE’s daily routes.

DHE will begin operating the two Volvo VNR Electric trucks out of its facility in Ontario, California, which manages a fleet of 40 Class 8 trucks. The Volvo VNR Electric trucks will run daily routes varying between 60 to 80 miles, transporting goods from Ontario to warehouses throughout Southern California. By completing several different routes, the trucks will collect performance data under various operating conditions, producing crucial real-world operational data on the trucks’ power, performance, and range. This information will help Volvo Trucks validate customization measures to provide the most seamless transition to battery-electric trucks for its customers.

In addition to zero tailpipe emissions, the company says Volvo VNR Electric trucks simplify maintenance and improve working conditions for drivers by offering state-of-the-art responsiveness, a quieter cab free of engine-related vibrations, and by eliminating exposure to diesel fuel and exhaust.

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The Volvo VNR Electric trucks were deployed as part of the Volvo LIGHTS project—an innovative collaboration with the South Coast Air Quality Management District (South Coast AQMD) and 13 other organizations to develop a blueprint to successfully introduce battery-electric trucks and equipment into the market at scale.

In June, the first Volvo LIGHTS VNR Electric truck was deployed at Volvo Trucks North America TEC Equipment dealership in Fontana, California, which will provide DHE with ongoing maintenance support for the Volvo VNR Electric trucks. On the near-term horizon, additional announcements about fleet customer demonstrations will be made.

The Volvo VNR Electric model was recently certified by both the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and California Air Resources Board (CARB) enabling the vehicle to be commercially sold in all 50 U.S. states. This step helps Volvo Trucks move one step closer towards the commercial launch of the VNR Electric. Beginning in 2021, southern California businesses will have the opportunity to lease commercial Volvo VNR Electric trucks from TEC Equipment to gain firsthand experience with these advanced trucks in their fleet operations.

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