Volvo Trucks Deploys First Pilot All-Electric VNR Truck

Volvo Trucks North America has deployed its first pilot VNR Electric truck in Southern California as part of the Volvo LIGHTS (Low Impact Green Heavy Transport Solutions) project, a 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.

The first pilot Volvo VNR Electric truck will operate at the Volvo Trucks North America TEC Equipment dealership in Fontana, California. The zero-emission truck will transport local parts between the TEC Equipment dealerships in Fontana and La Mirada.

“Volvo Trucks is proud to lead the way in the sustainable electrification of freight movement. Working with our dealership, TEC Equipment, to pilot the first Volvo VNR Electric on the road and in real-world applications is an exciting step toward our plans to commercialize these zero-emission trucks in North America this fall,” said Peter Voorhoeve, president of Volvo Trucks North America. “The all-electric Volvo VNR will become the ideal truck model for short- and regional-haul applications, such as urban distribution and drayage.”

The TEC Fontana dealership has two 50 kW chargers inside its truck maintenance bays, as well as a 150 kW charger located outside to enable fleet customers to fast charge at the dealership. Over the past year, the Volvo LIGHTS team worked with Southern California Edison (the local utility) and San Bernardino County (Authority Having Jurisdiction, or AHJ) to safely install the high-power infrastructure.

electric charging station
One of the electric charging stations installed at Volvo Trucks TEC Fontana dealership.

“This experience in designing, planning, and installing high-power chargers for electric trucks has taught us how critical it is to engage a variety of stakeholders early on,” said Aravind Kailas, advanced technology policy director for Volvo Group North America. “The Volvo LIGHTS project has provided valuable insight into how to build realistic project timelines. Despite the unavoidable delays due to the COVID-19 situation, we’re proud the team has been able to continue moving the project forward.”

Starting in 2021, Southern California businesses will have the opportunity to lease Volvo VNR Electric trucks from TEC Equipment to gain firsthand experience with these advanced trucks in their fleet operations.

“Everyone on my team that has had an opportunity to drive the Volvo VNR Electric has been surprised by how smooth the truck operates,” said Mike Reardon, general manager of TEC Equipment’s Fontana dealership. “Our parts delivery driver loves taking it out, saying it is very quiet and comfortable in the cab and has great power at take-off.”

TEC’s Fontana team will be fully trained and equipped to safely perform maintenance for its fleet customers. In addition to being outfitted with personal protective equipment (PPE) for working with high voltage, the technicians have been trained on the proper procedure to isolate the high voltage for diagnosis and service repairs.

As part of the Volvo LIGHTS project, two local fleet operators—NFI Industries and Dependable Supply Chain Services—will also begin demonstrating the pilot Volvo VNR Electric trucks for full operations in their regional routes later this summer.

For insight into how the project is helping Southern California support the widescale deployment of battery-electric trucks and charging infrastructure, join the Volvo LIGHTS project team for the 2020 Inland Empire Regional Mobility Dialogue Series, “Getting Ready for Electric Commercial Fleets.” The event, taking place online on June 23 from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. PT, is hosted by the Leonard Transportation Center at California State University San Bernardino. Registration is complimentary. To register, visit https://bit.ly/RMDS-Jun23.

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