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Volvo Trucks’ customer Dependable Highway Express electrifying Southern California distribution facility

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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) recently completed several electrification initiatives to further reduce the climate and air quality impacts of its Southern California freight operations.

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Through the Volvo LIGHTS project, DHE introduced Volvo VNR Electric Class 8 trucks, battery-electric yard trucks and forklifts, charging infrastructure for both its fleet vehicles and employees’ personal vehicles, as well as solar panels and onsite energy storage at its shipping and receiving facility in Ontario, California. DHE has also signed a letter of commitment to purchase an additional 10 Volvo VNR Electric trucks in 2022.

Introduced two years ago, the Volvo LIGHTS project is a collaboration between Volvo Trucks, 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, Volvo says.

This past September, DHE began piloting two Volvo VNR Electric heavy-duty trucks out of its Ontario facility. Operating between 60 and 80 miles daily, the vehicles continue to transport goods between warehouse facilities throughout Southern California. As part of the Volvo LIGHTS project, the VNR Electric trucks run various routes while collecting data on the vehicles’ performance under differing road and real-world operating conditions.

To install and maintain the charging infrastructure needed to support the electric trucks and equipment, Volvo says DHE worked closely with Volvo Trucks North America, Southern California Edison, Greenlots, ABB, Core States and the City of Ontario in order to upgrade the facility’s power supply and install two 150 kW chargers. The chargers will utilize Greenlots’ Skynet software to effectively balance the electricity demand from the trucks, equipment, existing facilities and the electricity grid.

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Through the Volvo LIGHTS project, DHE has replaced all of the freight equipment being used in its Ontario shipping and receiving facility with battery-electric models. DHE currently operates 14 Yale Electric forklifts supported by eight Level 2 (L2) forklift chargers, and two Orange EV yard tractors supported by an additional two L2 chargers.

DHE also worked with Solar Optimum, a solar installation company, to install more than 2,300 solar panels on the roof of its Ontario facility and employee parking canopies. Annually, solar panels will generate 1.291 GWh of renewable electricity, the company says.

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