Volvo Trucks North America offered a first look at its Class 8 battery-electric project trucks during an event at TEC Equipment dealership in Fontana, Calif.
The Volvo VNR Electric project trucks will be put into real-world commercial operations with two of California’s leading freight companies, Dependable Supply Chain Services and NFI. Volvo Trucks engineers and project managers will closely monitor and evaluate the vehicles’ performance, driving cycles, load capacity, uptime, range and other parameters in these real-world applications over the next several months. The company will take those learnings into the final stages of product development and begin the first phase of serial production and commercial offering of the Volvo VNR Electric in late 2020.
Volvo Trucks was tight lipped about the electric VNR’s specifications with Peter Voorhoeve, Volvo Trucks North America president, stating that the current pre-production test trucks will run routes ranging from 75 to 175 miles and weigh in at 66,000 lbs. gross. He noted that full technical specs will be discussed later this year as Volvo Trucks readies the trucks for a full commercial launch. “The launch will be of a fully mature, green transportation solution,” he said.
(Note on the video: The wiring and equipment adjacent to the center console was only in the display model. The electric VNRs available for test drives did not have that equipment in the cab.)
Volvo LIGHTS project partner TEC Equipment will serve as a fully certified maintenance hub for the Volvo VNR Electric project trucks in the South Coast Air Basin. The dealership group is an established sales and service network that has partnered with local Rio Hondo College and San Bernardino Valley College to create electric vehicle repair and service technician programs to ensure fully trained and skilled technicians to support these new technologies. The company will also lease 15 battery-electric Volvo VNR Electric trucks to interested customers for real-world trials as part of the overall project scope, and offers a critical uptime support team for assistance with parts and service on these new electric vehicles.
The Volvo LIGHTS project is a collaboration between 15 public and private partners to demonstrate the viability of all-electric freight hauling in high-density traffic and urban areas and represents the project’s innovative and holistic approach to ensuring commercial readiness in all aspects. The Volvo LIGHTS project’s transformative impact on fleet operations is designed to be scalable and replicable to reduce emissions throughout the freight eco-system.
Officials from California Air Resources Board (CARB) and South Coast Air Quality Management District (South Coast AQMD) were also present, along with representatives from each of the project partners. The Volvo LIGHTS project was made possible by an award to South Coast AQMD of $44.8 million from CARB as part of California Climate Investments (CCI). CCI is a statewide initiative that puts billions of Cap-and-Trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy and improving public health and the environment – particularly in disadvantaged communities.
Volvo Group contributed $36.7 million for the project total of $90 million, and South Coast AQMD contributed $4 million from the Clean Fuels Fund, administers the grant and oversees the Volvo LIGHTS project.