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Volvo LIGHTS project

Volvo showcases LIGHTS program, battery electric VNR model

Feb. 12, 2020
Volvo Trucks North America brought together dealers, fleet executives and industry stakeholders to showcase the ongoing progress of the Volvo LIGHTS program, and provide test drives of its battery electric VNR regional haul tractor.

Volvo Trucks North America brought together several hundred dealers, fleet executives and industry stakeholders on Feb. 11 to showcase the ongoing progress of the Volvo LIGHTS program, and provide test drives of its battery electric VNR regional haul tractor.

“Electromobility is the way forward,” Peter Voorhoeve, president of Volvo Trucks North America, said in his opening remarks at TEC Equipment’s dealership in Fontana, CA, Volvo’s largest dealer in North America.

Voorhoeve called Volvo LIGHTS (Low Impact Green Heavy Transport Solution) the “largest public-private partnership to show how heavy-duty battery electric vehicles will play a significant role in cleaner transport.”

The program brings together Volvo, the California Air Resources Board, the South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) and 14 industry partners.

Initially launched in 2018, Volvo LIGHTS received a major boost last year when CARB presented a $44.8 million check to the South Coast AQMD to help finance ongoing projects. Volvo Group has contributed $36.7 million to the project.

Martin Lundstedt, Volvo Group president and CEO, stressed that partnerships and cooperation are critical to see the successful implementation of the next era of electrification and connectivity technologies for freight transportation.

“Tangible” pilot programs pave the way for the future by helping to solve electric vehicle performance and financing challenges, while also gaining the confidence of investors and the general public, Lundstedt said.

Preparations are well underway for Volvo to commercialize the battery electric VNR, with limited production scheduled to begin late this year and a ramp up planned next year at the New River Valley manufacturing facility in Virginia.

NFI and Dependable Highway Express have taken delivery of the initial electric VNRs, and are putting the vehicles into real-world service at Southern California ports and inland warehouses.

Voorhoeve said Volvo engineers will closely evaluate data pulled from the trucks to better understand the nuisances involved in battery charging and optimizing range. Brett Pope, VTNA’s director of electromobility, said this is an example how LIGHTS will help “fleets incorporate the logistics of charging the trucks into their daily operations.”

During the Volvo event, Greenlots, a partner in LIGHTS and a member of the Shell Group, announced the installation of two fully operational 50kW DC fast chargers at the Fontana site. Greenlots said it will install an additional 150kW DC fast charger at the facility in the next month, and plans to install three other stations at warehouses across Southern California.

“Greenlots’ SKY platform is built for scale and designed to deliver a charging solution that meets Volvo Trucks’ electric fleet’s unique requirements and is optimized for cost and power,” said Harmeet Singh, chief technology officer at Greenlots.  “The open standards-based charging approach built into Greenlots’ platform enables Volvo to future-proof its investments in the charging infrastructure.”