Home Truck Parts Freight operator begins piloting Volvo VNR electric trucks

Freight operator begins piloting Volvo VNR electric trucks

Volvo Trucks North America delivers first Volvo VNR Electric Class 8 trucks to customer Dependable Highway Express. From left to right: Aravind Kailas, advanced technology policy director, Volvo Group North America; Troy Musgrave, director of process improvement, Dependable Highway Express; Joe Finney, chief operating officer, Dependable Highway Express; Janice Rutherford, county supervisor, San Bernardino County and South Coast Air Quality Management District board member; Mike Reardon, general manager, TEC Equipment. (Click to enlarge.)

Dependable Highway Express (DHE) has received two Volvo VNR Electric trucks, the first battery-electric Class 8 trucks to join DHE’s fleet.

The electric trucks will be added to DHE’s existing fleet of more than 500 Volvo trucks operating across North America. Deployed as part of the Volvo LIGHTS (Low Impact Green Heavy Transport Solutions) project, the Volvo VNR Electric trucks will operate in a pilot project through the end of 2021 to demonstrate the ability for battery-electric trucks to successfully transport goods in DHE’s daily routes, Volvo says.

DHE will begin operating the two Volvo VNR Electric trucks out of its facility in Ontario, Calif., which manages a fleet of 40 Class 8 trucks. The Volvo VNR Electric trucks will run daily routes varying between 60 to 80 miles, transporting goods from Ontario to warehouses throughout Southern California.

By completing several different routes, the trucks will collect performance data under various operating conditions, producing real-world operational data on the trucks’ power, performance and range. This information will help Volvo Trucks validate customization measures to provide the most seamless transition to battery-electric trucks for its customers.

In addition to zero tailpipe emissions, the Volvo VNR Electric trucks simplify maintenance and improve working conditions for drivers by offering state-of-the-art responsiveness, a quieter cab free of engine-related vibrations, and by eliminating exposure to diesel fuel and exhaust, Volvo says.

“DHE is incredibly proud to be one of the first fleets to deploy Volvo VNR Electric trucks in North America,” says Joe Finney, chief operating officer, Dependable Highway Express.

“DHE is a family-run business that considers our employees as family, which is why we want only the best for our drivers. Volvo’s entire line-up of Class 8 trucks offer our drivers the safest and most comfortable environment on the market, which is why we’ve only purchased Volvo trucks for our fleet since 2014,” Finney says. “The Volvo VNR Electric truck cabin is nearly identical to its diesel counterpart, but with a whisper-quiet engine, a super smooth ride and zero emissions. Our drivers can’t wait to get behind the wheel of the VNR Electric trucks and put them to work.”

Volvo Trucks North America President Peter Voorhoeve says, “Working with DHE as a trusted fleet partner for years, they’ve come to expect the reliability, performance and safety that is synonymous with a Volvo truck. We look forward to DHE putting these VNR Electric truck models through the rigors of their daily operations and experiencing that same level of quality.

“These zero-emission trucks will start delivering benefits to drivers and communities today, while providing us with the valuable real-world data we need to successfully introduce these trucks commercially in the very near future, a milestone in the transition to wide-scale, sustainable transport solutions,” Voorhoeve says.

The Volvo VNR Electric trucks were deployed as part of the Volvo LIGHTS 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 Volvo LIGHTS project is figuratively paving the road toward achieving meaningful emission reductions in the freight movement sector — the largest single source of air pollution in our region,” says Janice Rutherford, San Bernardino County, second district supervisor and South Coast AQMD board member. “I am pleased to see these zero-emission Volvo VNR Electric trucks driving through my district in San Bernardino County and look forward to larger scale deployments.”

In June, the first Volvo LIGHTS VNR Electric truck was deployed at Volvo Trucks North America TEC Equipment dealership in Fontana, Calif., which will provide DHE with ongoing maintenance support for the Volvo VNR Electric trucks. On the near-term horizon, additional announcements about fleet customer demonstrations will be made.

“By operating our own all-electric VNR for the past four months, our maintenance and repair crew has already gained incredible hands-on experience,” says Mike Reardon, general manager of TEC Equipment’s Fontana dealership. “We’re thrilled to extend our contracted maintenance services with DHE to include their two Volvo VNR Electric trucks and look forward to helping their team maximize their uptime.”

The Volvo VNR Electric model was recently certified by both the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and California Air Resources Board enabling the vehicle to be commercially sold in all 50 U.S. states. This step helps Volvo Trucks move one step closer toward the anticipated commercial launch of the VNR Electric. Beginning in 2021, Southern California businesses will have the opportunity to lease commercial Volvo VNR Electric trucks from TEC Equipment to gain firsthand experience with these advanced trucks in their fleet operations, Volvo says.

Volvo LIGHTS is part of California Climate Investments, a statewide initiative that puts billions of Cap-and-Trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy and improving public health and the environment—particularly in disadvantaged communities.

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