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Heavy-duty

Volvo LIGHTS team helps facilitate modification for California public EV truck charging stations

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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.

Working in collaboration with its Volvo LIGHTS (Low Impact Green Heavy Transport Solutions) project partners – Calstart, Trillium and Greenlots – and other industry organizations, Volvo Trucks says it has helped facilitate the modification of California utility rules to give private entities the ability to sell electricity as a motor fuel at publicly-accessible charging stations for medium- and heavy-duty electric vehicles (EVs).

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Prior to this modification, California utilities were guided by a California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) decision established in 2010 that exempted light-duty vehicle charging station providers from being regulated as a utility but did not explicitly exempt medium- and heavy-duty charging station providers. Volvo LIGHTS partners, led by Calstart and joined by ChargePoint and other industry organizations, filed a motion in July that sought to clarify the CPUC’s position. Upon review of the motion, the CPUC issued a decision extending that exemption to medium- and heavy-duty charging station providers and directed Southern California Edison (SCE) and Pacific Gas & Electric to modify their respective Electric Rule 18 tariffs to allow this resale of electricity as a motor fuel for EVs. The decision also applies to charging service providers for off-road EVs or off-road electric equipment. San Diego Gas & Electric’s Electric Rule 18 already provided a clear exemption and did not require modification.

For the past two years, Volvo Trucks has been collaborating with the South Coast Air Quality Management District (South Coast AQMD) and 13 other organizations on the Volvo LIGHTS project to develop a blueprint to successfully introduce battery-electric Class 8 trucks and equipment into the market at scale, Volvo says. The project, taking place in Southern California, is demonstrating a range of strategies to provide flexible and cost-effective charging options to commercial fleet operators. This includes providing increased access to charging stations to allow customers to extend their daily routes.

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“We appreciate the responsiveness from the CPUC on this modification request, as well as the support provided by the California Air Resources Board, utilities companies, air districts, and other key stakeholders in California,” said Keith Brandis, vice president, partnerships and strategic solutions for Volvo Group. “The partnerships we have established through the Volvo LIGHTS project have enabled our team to quickly and proactively respond to challenges as they arise and make a tangible impact on the forward success of commercial transportation electrification.”

With the modified language to SCE’s Electric Rule 18, Volvo LIGHTS partner Trillium can move forward with building one of the nation’s first publicly accessible fast-charging, heavy-duty truck stations located on the border of Placentia and Anaheim, California. The station, scheduled to open in Q4 2021, will enable fleet operators to recharge as needed while out on routes.

Volvo Trucks dealership TEC Equipment will play a key role in facilitating battery-electric truck demonstrations with a variety of Southern California fleet operators, Volvo says. Through the project, TEC Equipment will offer 15 Volvo Class 8 trucks to lease for real-world trials. In addition to providing full maintenance and repair services, TEC Equipment will provide fleets the ability to charge their leased VNR Electric trucks from their Southern California dealerships, located in Fontana and La Mirada, Volvo says.

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