Volvo Trucks North America recently offered a first look at its Class 8 battery-electric project trucks during an exclusive event at the TEC Equipment dealership in Fontana, Calif.
The Volvo Low Impact Green Heavy Transport Solutions (LIGHTS) Innovation Showcase revealed the progress that has been achieved since the announcement of the LIGHTS project in late 2018.
The 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 project’s impact on fleet operations is designed to be scalable and replicable to reduce emissions throughout the freight eco-system.
“We’re excited to share the milestones reached and lessons learned in the development of a battery-electric transport eco-system. This project is unique in the sense of its scope and that it takes into account the entire system, from charging stations to yard haulers to solar panels to workforce development to heavy-duty trucks,” says Peter Voorhoeve, president of Volvo Trucks North America.
“We are putting trucks on the road and fully testing them in real-world commercial applications, to learn and prepare for commercial operations for zero-emission freight hauling,” he adds.
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.
Guests at the event were also able to ride and drive the first five pilot Volvo VNR Electric trucks on a closed course at the Fontana Speedway near the TEC Equipment facility. The tailored course was set up to demonstrate the Volvo VNR Electric project trucks’ features, such as propulsion and regeneration energy, maneuverability, quietness and ease of operation
The Volvo VNR Electric project trucks will be put into real-world commercial operations with two California-based freight companies, Dependable Supply Chain Services and NFI. 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.
In North America, the Volvo VNR Electric will be targeted for short- and regional-haul applications, like heavy urban distribution, drayage and other applications where electric trucks will have the greatest impact, says the company.
Photo: Volvo VNR Electric project trucks.