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Volvo Trucks turns on the electric LIGHTS project

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Two years, $44.8 million and 16 partners came together in the Volvo Trucks North America LIGHTS project to bring not just the Volvo electric VNR to market, but a holistic electric truck strategy—from charging infrastructure to electric truck maintenance.

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Several presenters took the stage during the opening remarks, including:

  • Martin Lundstedt, president and chief executive officer, Volvo Group
  • Peter Voorhoeve, president, Volvo Trucks North America
  • Dave Thompson, president, TEC Equipment
  • Lars Stenqvist, chief technology officer, Volvo Group
  • Barbara Riordan, board member, California Air Resources Board
  • Brett Pope, director of electromobility, Volvo Trucks North America

You can listen to the entire presentation below, but here are a few key takeaways:

• The Fontana, Calif., TEC Equipment location has installed electric charging infrastructure and will service approximately 15 electric VNRs.

• Lundstedt: “Forty percent of all imports go through the ports of California. … California is one of the most progressive in driving sustainability.” He also drew the parallel between the investment in safety technology in the 1960s to today’s investment in sustainability, and acknowledged that the ROI on the investment can be difficult to see, but that it will come because it’s an investment that needs to be made. “Profit is important. We need to fund the future.”

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• Lundstedt calls Volvo’s ’60s-era development of safety equipment the “spirit” of the Volvo LIGHTS project quoting: “I take my hat off for everything that has been achieved, but I take my jacket off and roll up my sleeves for everything we have to do together.”

• Stenqvist: “The speed of battery development will be decisive for the uptake of electric vehicles. Battery cost is important. Battery density is important. But it’s also important how you use the batteries in your vehicles…. I have three teams working on three different generations of batteries. We will go through two generations in the LIGHTS project phase.”

• Voorhoeve: “I personally believe that electromobility is the way forward. Why do I believe that? There is a society and environment push for sustainability. It’s not a Power Point bullet point. Our customers and our customers’ customers are pushing for green solutions.”

• Voorhoeve: “The LIGHTS Project is a perfect partnership and without that battery electric trucks will not happen…. We need to make sure we get the scale to get electric trucks on the road. We want electric trucks on renewable energy.”

• By the end of the year, Volvo Trucks will sell the electric VNR and ramp up production for 2021. It will be produced at the New River Valley plant in Virginia. Limited production by the end of this year.

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• Voorhoeve: Fleets can start today by talking with utility providers to find out what it will take to install their own charging structure.

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• Pope highlighted a few aspects of the electric VNR: it is up to 6 dB quieter inside the cab compared to a diesel VNR; it sports a modular power box in an engine-like arrangement so that Volvo can build the product on its main production line; and has a charging port on the driver’s side so that the driver has better charging awareness.

• Pope: Electric truck application targets include local distribution, regional distribution, construction, regional haul, long haul, rolled out over time in that order. “Growing into long haul is our ultimate objective.”

Listen to the Volvo LIGHTS Project opening remarks

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