NFI Expands Class 8 Electric Truck Fleet in Southern California Through the JETSI Project

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In Southern California, NFI, one of the biggest and oldest third-party supply chain solutions providers in the country, is growing its fleet of Class 8 battery-electric trucks (BETs) as a part of the Joint Electric Truck Scaling Initiative (JETSI) initiative.

NFI will deploy and operate 30 electric Freightliner eCascadias and 20 electric Volvo VNR Electric trucks from its warehouse facility in Ontario, California, as part of the project, which aims to demonstrate that fleets can successfully scale their BET fleets. NFI will use the trucks to support its dedicated port drayage services for clients ranging from manufacturing to retail. The first 15 Class 8 BETs supported by the project have already been delivered to NFI, and the remaining ordered trucks are expected to arrive by the end of June 2023.

“NFI has worked closely with its OEM partners — Volvo Trucks and Daimler Truck — during the last several years to put battery-electric trucks to the test on our routes across Southern California,” said Sid Brown, CEO, NFI. “Through the JETSI project and other innovative fleet electrification efforts, we are excited to apply our early learnings and both lead the industry and accelerate progress toward achieving our sustainability goals. By the end of this year, we will have 100 Class 8 battery-electric trucks dedicated to port drayage, bringing cleaner air to the communities in which we operate.”

NFI has been in business for 90 years and has built up a fleet of over 5,000 tractors and 14,300 trailers that are all owned by the company. In order to advance supply chain sustainability, NFI has taken the initiative to electrify freight transportation.

Since 2018, the firm has taken part in a number of BET demonstration projects, including the Switch-On, Volvo LIGHTS, and Daimler Truck’s Innovation Fleet initiatives. Through these initiatives, NFI’s demonstration fleet of electric yard tractors, Freightliner eCascadias, and Volvo VNR Electrics has traveled over 1.5 million miles and mitigated more than 2,300 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions, which is the same as 225,933 gallons of diesel fuel use.

“The team at NFI has been incredible to collaborate with the past several years, working hand-in-hand with Volvo Trucks’ engineering team and local dealer partner, TEC Equipment, to validate and configure our commercial Volvo VNR Electric model to successfully run NFI’s drayage routes,” said Peter Voorhoeve, president, Volvo Trucks North America. “This partnership will now continue through the JETSI project as our organizations closely collaborate with NFI to scale its BET fleet, maximize vehicle uptime, and showcase the real opportunity to transport goods with zero-tailpipe emissions.”

Because of its involvement in numerous freight electrification projects, NFI has learned a great deal about the best routes for BETs based on factors including the number of stops, topography, traffic patterns, the type of freight being delivered, and more. Additionally, NFI has worked with Volvo Trucks North America and Daimler Truck North America to equip its trucks in accordance with its operational requirements and to train its drivers on how to optimize the advantages of regenerative braking and extend battery life.

“By working with the NFI team as part of Daimler Truck’s Innovation Fleet, our team has gained incredible insight into the necessary steps needed to successfully deploy battery-electric trucks into freight movement operations,” said David Carson, senior vice president, sales and marketing, Daimler Truck North America. “Beyond collaborating with NFI to ensure the Freightliner eCascadia technology was ready for real-world operations, we’ve been able to see firsthand the processes and stakeholders required to install the charging infrastructure to support the trucks. This knowledge enabled us to provide guidance to many customers looking to electrify their fleet operations.”

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NFI is collaborating closely with Southern California Edison, Electrify Commercial, and the City of Ontario to upgrade the facility’s power supply and install 19 350kW power cabinets, which have 38 electric vehicle charger dispensers, in order to install the charging infrastructure required to support its expanding BET fleet. By the end of 2023, NFI’s Ontario charging infrastructure is expected to be set up and operational. As a temporary solution, NFI will run its BETs out of its Chino plant, which has high-powered charging infrastructure from previous projects.

JETSI, a collaborative initiative of the South Coast Air Quality Management District (South Coast AQMD), California Air Resources Board (CARB), and the California Energy Commission, provided funding for 50 of NFI’s BETs and accompanying charging infrastructure (CEC).

Source & photos: NFI Industries

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