Volvo Trucks North America completed Volvo LIGHTS, a three-year project that brought together 14 public and private partners to design and implement a blueprint for a support ecosystem to deploy battery-electric trucks and equipment at scale. During the project, which ran from 2019 to 2022 in California’s South Coast Air Basin, Volvo Trucks deployed its first Class 8 pilot Volvo VNR electric trucks to fleet operators to collect real-world operating data and customer feedback ahead of announcing its commercial model in December 2020.
Representatives from the 14 project partners gather to celebrate the project at a Volvo LIGHTS roundup event, which featured a display of Volvo VNR Electric trucks from project participants, including NFI, Penske Truck Leasing, Medline, Quality Custom Distribution (QCD), 10 Roads Express, Saia and SCE.
“By working closely with an extraordinary group of public and private partners through the Volvo LIGHTS project, we were able to validate key processes around Class 8 battery-electric truck adoption for commercial transport segments and identify challenges that needed to be addressed for widespread market introduction,” Peter Voorhoeve, president of Volvo Trucks North America, said. “The most valuable takeaway for our team was really experiencing the value of close cross-functional and cross-organizational collaboration as we continue to drive innovation and develop new solutions for sustainable transport.”
The Volvo LIGHTS project was led by Volvo Group North America and California’s South Coast Air Quality Management District (South Coast AQMD) and included NFI Industries; Dependable Highway Express, TEC Equipment; Shell Recharge Solutions (formerly Greenlots), the Port of Long Beach, the Port of Los Angeles, Southern California Edison, CALSTART, University of California Riverside CE-CERT, Reach Out, Rio Hondo College and San Bernardino Valley College.
During the multi-year project, Volvo Group North America collaborated with each organization to develop programs and best practices that would help lay the foundation for the successful commercialization of battery-electric freight trucks, including but not limited to:
“This project shows how important it is for public and private entities to work together to bring zero-emission technologies and infrastructure to the nation,” Ben J. Benoit, chair of South Coast AQMD’s governing board, said. “Now that the project is coming to an end, we look forward to seeing these cleaner trucks on the road and the impact they will have on air quality.”
In recognition of the project team’s leadership and tangible results achieved through Volvo LIGHTS, the project received several awards, including the:
Together with the Volvo Group, Volvo Trucks hosted a Volvo LIGHTS roundup on Aug. 23 at the Ontario Convention Center in Southern California to share exclusive insights from Volvo LIGHTS project partners on how to successfully scale truck freight electrification. The Volvo LIGHTS Roundup featured off-site tours, speaker panels and a display of Volvo VNR electric trucks from project participants, including NFI, Penske Truck Leasing, Medline, QCD, 10 Roads Express, Saia and SCE.
“Zero emission trucks work — as this project shows — and we need strong rules, in many states and federally, promoting them. This project shows that this technology can serve business and deliver protections that will benefit the health of our communities that need it the most,” Craig Segall, deputy executive officer for mobile sources and incentives for the California Air Resources Board (CARB), said.
The Volvo LIGHTS project was made possible by a $44.8 million award to South Coast AQMD from the CARB as part of California Climate Investments, a statewide initiative that puts billions of dollars toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy and improving both public health and the environment. South Coast AQMD also contributed $4 million from its Clean Fuels Fund. Volvo Group and its partners contributed $43 million in matching funds for a total project spend of $91 million.
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