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Volvo set to deploy 8 all-electric heavy trucks in California next year


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Commercial Carrier Journal (CCJ)  /  September 27, 2018

Volvo Trucks [North America - VTNA] announced Thursday it expects to begin all-electric truck demonstrations in California next year with commercialization to follow in 2020.

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has preliminarily awarded $44.8 million to California’s South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) for the Volvo LIGHTS (Low Impact Green Heavy Transport Solutions) project – a partnership between the Volvo Group, SCAQMD, and industry leaders in transportation and electrical charging infrastructure.

Volvo Trucks will deploy eight multi-configuration battery Class 8 electric demonstration units (GVW +15 tons), and an additional 15 precommercial and commercial units, throughout California’s South Coast Air Basin.

The Volvo LIGHTS project will involve 16 partners, and transform freight operations at the facilities of two U.S. trucking fleets.  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.

“This is an excellent opportunity to show the end-to-end potential of electrification,” said Peter Voorhoeve, President of Volvo Trucks North America.  “From solar energy harvesting at our customer locations, to electric vehicle uptime services, to potential second uses for batteries, this project will provide invaluable experience and data for the whole value chain.”

The demonstration units will be based on the technology currently being used in the Volvo FE Electric, which Volvo Trucks presented in May and will begin selling in Europe in 2019.

A variety of smart technologies will be used – including remote diagnostics, geofencing, and the company’s web-based service management platform – to monitor all truck performance aspects of the project, and maximize vehicle uptime.

The project will reduce an estimated 3.57 tons of air pollutants and 3,020 tons of greenhouse gases annually.

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Volvo Trucks to Bring All-Electric Truck Here in 2020

Heavy Duty Trucking (HDT)  /  September 27, 2018

Volvo Trucks will demonstrate an all-electric truck in California next year with plans to bring it to market in North America in 2020. The truck is based on Volvo's existing FE Electric truck, which was developed for Europe and will go on sale there in 2019.

Funding for the demo project comes from the California Air Resources Board, which has preliminarily awarded $44.8 million to the South Coast Air Quality Management District to fund a project dubbed the Volvo Low Impact Green Heavy Transport Solutions. Volvo LIGHTS will involve 16 partners and deploy eight multi-configuration, battery-electric Class 8 demonstration units to two unnamed "top trucking fleets."

Volvo LIGHTS will also integrate non-truck battery electric equipment, non-proprietary chargers, and solar energy production equipment. The goal is to eliminate an estimated 3.57 tons of air pollutants and 3,020 tons of greenhouse gases annually.

The project is part of California Climate Investments, a statewide initiative that aims to use cap-and-trade dollars to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while also strengthening the state’s economy and improving public health and the environment.

“This is an excellent opportunity to show the end-to-end potential of electrification,” said Peter Voorhoeve, president of Volvo Trucks North America.  “From solar energy harvesting at our customer locations, to electric vehicle uptime services, to potential second uses for batteries, this project will provide invaluable experience and data for the whole value chain.”

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Here they come: First North American Volvo trucks to go electric

Aaron Marsh, Fleet Owner  /  September 27, 2018

Volvo Trucks today announced that its first North American model heavy trucks—a total of 23 of them—will get the company's all-electric drivetrains in a special demonstration project in California. The trucks are to be tested out next year and will be commercialized in 2020, Volvo said.

The California Air Resources Board has preliminarily awarded $44.8 million for the project. The demonstration, dubbed Volvo LIGHTS for "Low-Impact Green Heavy Transport Solutions," is a partnership between Volvo Group, California's South Coast Air Quality Management District, and "industry leaders in transportation and electrical charging infrastructure."

In that vein, Volvo also detailed that the project will involve 16 partners and will "transform freight operations at the facilities of two of the United States' top trucking fleets." Claes Nilsson, president of Volvo Trucks, said the company is "convinced that electrified truck transport will be a key driver of sustainable transports."

Notably, this is not only going to include heavy truck technology—indicating Volvo and the parties involved are exploring how to work big electric trucks into the broader electric vehicle infrastructure. The Volvo LIGHTS project will work in some non-truck battery-electric equipment, non-proprietary (i.e., not Volvo-specific) chargers, and solar energy production equipment.

"This is an excellent opportunity to show the end-to-end potential of electrification," said Peter Voorhoeve, president of Volvo Trucks North America. "From solar energy harvesting at our customer locations to electric vehicle uptime services to potential second uses for batteries, this project will provide invaluable experience and data for the whole value chain."

Which North American Volvo trucks?

What trucks will this involve? Volvo officials are not yet ready to discuss which specifically, but did release some helpful details.

First, the North American trucks in this project will get the battery-electric drivetrain used in Volvo Trucks' FE Electric cabover unveiled in Europe earlier this year and slated to go on sale next year. It's the equivalent of a light Class 8 truck by U.S. standards with a gross vehicle weight (GVW) rating of about 59,525 lbs.

The FE Electric has a dual electric motor capable of 496 hp. maximum/ 349 hp. continuous and 627 lbs.-ft. of torque, with up to a huge 20,652 lbs-ft. max torque at the rear axle. The electric drivetrain provides a range of up to 124 miles and can be DC fast-charged in 1.5 hours or regular low-power AC charged in about 10 hours.

With the Volvo LIGHTS project, Volvo said it will deploy eight multi-configuration battery-electric Class 8 electric demonstration units capable of GVW plus 15 tons. An additional 15 precommercial and commercial units will be put to use throughout California's South Coast Air Basin, which includes Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino counties.

Given the range of the electric drivetrain and the location they'll be tested, the North American trucks for the project could well come from Volvo's new VNR regional-haul lineup, for instance, rather than Volvo's bread-and-butter North American VNL Series designed for long-haul operations.

Volvo further noted that the project will include a variety of technologies such as remote diagnostics, geofencing, and the company's web-based service management platform to monitor truck performance and maximize vehicle uptime. The project is estimated to eliminate 3.57 tons of air pollutants and 3,020 tons of greenhouse gases annually, according to Volvo. 

Separately, Volvo recently also recently showed off a fully autonomous, electric concept tractor system called Vera (see below). Read more on Volvo's philosophy and insight regarding electric trucks at www.volvotrucks.com/electromobility.

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