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

The Volvo LIGHTS project is a collaboration with California’s South Coast Air Quality Management District and 13 other organisations to develop a blueprint to successfully introduce battery-electric trucks and equipment into the market at scale.

“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 president of Volvo Trucks North America, Peter Voorhoeve.

“The all-electric Volvo VNR will become the ideal truck model for short- and regional-haul applications, such as urban distribution and container haulage,” he added.

The TEC Fontana dealership has two 50 kW chargers inside the 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 local electricity company Southern California Edison and San Bernardino County to safely install the high-power infrastructure.

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

The Volvo LIGHTS project was made possible by an award to South Coast AQMD of $US44.8 million from the California Air Research Board (CARB) as part of California Climate Investments (CCI). CCI is 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.

As a result, South Coast AQMD contributed $US4 million from the Clean Fuels Fund and awarded a $US45.6 million contract to the Volvo Group to design and implement the project. Volvo and its partners have promised no less than $US45.7 million matching contribution to increase the total project value to over $US91 million for South Coast AQMD to administer.

The Volvo LIGHTS team also includes partnerships with two local colleges to create electric vehicle repair and service technician programs to prepare the region’s workforce for the introduction of battery-electric freight trucks. The colleges have already begun introducing the curriculum in the classroom and enrolling students for the fall.

The colleges are also working with the Volvo LIGHTS team to design a training program with local fire departments to ensure that the region’s first responders are fully prepared to safely respond in case of an incident or accident involving a heavy-duty battery-electric vehicle (HD BEV).