The Volvo LIGHTS project is complete, giving Volvo Trucks North America real-world operating data that has helped it “validate key processes around the adoption of Class 8 battery trucks,” according to Peter Voorhoeve, president.
Volvo LIGHTS was a three-year project involving 14 public and private partners focused on creating a blueprint for the support system needed for the large-scale deployment of battery-electric trucks and equipment. It took place from 2019 to 2022 in the Southern California Coast airshed.
The project also helped the company “identify challenges that needed to be addressed for widespread market introduction,” Voorhoeve said in a prepared statement. “The most valuable point for our team has been discovering the value of close cross-functional and cross-organizational collaboration as we continue to drive innovation and develop new solutions for sustainable transportation.”
What Volvo LIGHTS revealed
The project resulted in programs and best practices that would help lay the foundation for successful commercialization of battery electric freight trucks, including but not limited to:
- Identify ideal routes for electrification. Volvo Trucks deployed 30 Volvo VNR electric trucks in 11 fleets to operate on their daily fleet routes in Southern California to assess many factors that could affect vehicle range, including topography , ambient temperature, traffic patterns, driving styles, etc. The insights gained were instructive when Volvo Trucks introduced the Electric Performance Generator (EPG), its route planning tool that allows fleet managers to simulate real-world routes for their VNR electric trucks.
- Full reseller support. TEC Equipment, a Volvo Trucks dealership, provided uptime assistance to fleet customers who leased VNR Electrics. Thanks to this practical experience, TEC Equipment Fontana became a certified Volvo Trucks electric vehicle dealer.
- Reliable and economical charging infrastructure. Several project partners worked with Shell Recharge Solutions and SCE on the installation and energization of 58 networked public and private electric vehicle charging stations, identifying opportunities to streamline processes, shorten installation times and refine existing laws relating to the authorization of entities other than utilities to resell electricity for electric vehicle charging.
- Technician training programs. Rio Hondo College and San Bernardino Valley College have both worked with Volvo Trucks to launch electric truck technician training programs, with a combined total of more than 45 graduates throughout the project.
- First responder training programs. Reach Out worked with Volvo Trucks to facilitate the development of first responder training materials to raise awareness of the high voltage components of the Volvo VNR Electric and to develop the first responder safety document which is now publicly available from the National Fire Protection Agency.
The Volvo LIGHTS project was led by Volvo Group North America and the South Coast California Air Quality Management District (South Coast AQMD), and included NFI Industries (NFI), Dependable Highway Express (DHE ), TEC Equipment, Shell Recharge Solutions (formerly Greenlots), Port of Long Beach, Port of Los Angeles, Southern California Edison (SCE), CALSTART, University of California, Riverside CE-CERT, Reach Out, Rio Hondo College and San Bernardino Valley College.
“This project shows how important it is for public and private entities to work together to bring zero-emissions technology and infrastructure to the nation,” said Ben J. Benoit, Chairman of the South Coast Board of Directors. AQMD, in a press release. “Now that the project is coming to an end, we can’t wait to see these cleaner trucks on the road and the impact they will have on air quality.”
“Zero-emission trucks work…” Craig Segall, CARB’s deputy executive office for mobile services and incentives, said in a statement. “This project shows that this technology can serve businesses and provide protections that will benefit the health of our communities who need it most.”
The Volvo LIGHTS project was made possible by a $44.8 million grant to South Coast AQMD from CARB through California Climate Investments (CCI). South Coast AQMD also contributed $4 million from its Clean Fuels Fund. The Volvo Group and its partners contributed $43 million in matching funds for a total project of $91 million.
A Volvo LIGHTS Lessons Learned Guide documents key learnings.
Source: Volvo Trucks North America