Volvo Trucks has no plans to hand over its leadership role in heavy trucks to electrified newcomers and is gearing up for a push of its new fully-electric trucks into California next year, prior to a full launch across North America in 2020.
The new demonstration pilot will leverage $44.8 million of preliminary CARB funding to validate Volvo’s electrified truck platforms in California and required charging infrastructure prior to the full commercial launch of Volvo Trucks’ electrified vehicles in North America in 2020. The project will kick off in 2019 as part of the Volvo LIGHTS (Low Impact Green Heavy Transport Solutions) project that pulls together 16 partners working to transform operations at 2 high-volume freight locations to next generation solutions.
The core of the project revolves around implementing electric trucks and necessary charging at the logistics facilities of two unnamed freight partners. In support of this primary mission, the project team will also attempt to integrate a variety of smart technologies. 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.
In support of the pilot, Volvo will deploy eight multi-configuration fully-electric Class 8 electric demonstration units (GVW +15 tons), and an additional 15 pre-commercial and commercial units, throughout California’s South Coast Air Basin. It’s important to note that these are demonstration units as these are the most common type of commercial electric vehicles being deployed. Misunderstandings about the performance and reliability of BYD’s demonstration units resulted in a poorly researched LA Times article about their early transit buses operating in Los Angeles.
“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.”
CARB funding for the project came through the California Climate Investment, which is the organization that doles out the billions of dollars through the state’s Cap and Trade program to initiatives aimed at driving reductions in GHG emissions across the state.