Volvo Trucks North America accepted a 2021 Climate Leadership Award for the Volvo LIGHTS (Low Impact Green Heavy Transport Solutions) project in Southern California. The “Innovative Partnership” award was presented by the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) and The Climate Registry (TCR) during a special virtual event to showcase and recognize exemplary corporate, organizational, and individual leadership in reducing carbon pollution and addressing climate change in their operations and strategies.
“Being a climate leader and advocate for ambitious action means taking the steps today that set up opportunity for the future,” said Nathaniel Keohane, president of C2ES. “The Climate Leadership Awards recognizes only those that aim high and have plans in place to achieve their goals. Volvo LIGHTS has shown exactly that kind of foresight and set an example among its peers.”
The Volvo LIGHTS project is a collaboration between 14 public and private partners to develop a blueprint to successfully introduce battery-electric trucks and equipment into the market at scale. The project is led by Volvo Group North America and South Coast Air Quality Management District (South Coast AQMD), along with partners NFI Industries, Dependable Highway Express (DHE), TEC Equipment, Greenlots, Port of Long Beach, Port of Los Angeles, Southern California Edison, CALSTART, the University of California, Riverside CE-CERT, Reach Out, Rio Hondo College, and San Bernardino Valley College.
“The Volvo LIGHTS project owes its success to the determination and dedication of our many project partners,” said Dawn Fenton, vice president, government relations and public affairs for Volvo Group North America. “Volvo LIGHTS’ diverse stakeholders each represent one aspect of the holistic ecosystem needed to support the deployment of battery-electric heavy-duty trucks. We couldn’t achieve our mission without the partnership of our trusted dealers, infrastructure experts, customers, public agencies, universities, and other stakeholders. We look forward to sharing lessons learned from the project to accelerate the already started transition to electrification of commercial transportation.”
During the multi-year project, Volvo Trucks North America demonstrated its Volvo VNR Electric trucks in daily Southern California fleet routes with NFI and DHE. The demonstrations enabled Volvo Trucks to gain valuable real-world operating insight that contributed to the successful commercialization of the Volvo VNR Electric model in December 2020.
TEC Equipment, Volvo Trucks North America’s largest West Coast dealership, has provided local maintenance and repair services to DHE, NFI, and several additional fleet customers that are leasing VNR Electrics through the Volvo LIGHTS project. The hands-on experience gained during the project led to TEC Equipment becoming the first Volvo EV Certified Dealer in North America, now serving customers who have purchased VNR Electrics outside of the Volvo LIGHTS project.
Through the project, NFI and DHE also deployed battery-electric yard trucks and forklifts at their freight facilities, with procurement support from CALSTART. Greenlots supported the installation of networked charging stations to help ensure the fleets have access to cost-effective and reliable power, while Southern California Edison analyzed the impacts of charging on the grid. The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach provided infrastructure planning support to help facilitate early adoption of battery-electric trucks for port drayage.
The wide-scale electrification of the transport system will require a highly skilled and specialized work force to support, maintain and repair advanced electric drivetrains and its increasingly sophisticated technology. To assist with the region’s workforce development, Rio Hondo College and San Bernardino Valley College launched heavy-duty electric truck technician training programs, with their first students graduating in May 2021. The two colleges also collaborated with Volvo Trucks and local community outreach organization, Reach Out, to develop training materials for first responders. Finally, UCR CE-CERT is using project data to develop algorithms to improve truck routing.
Fenton virtually accepted the award on behalf of the Volvo LIGHTS project team at the October 14 ceremony.
“The Volvo LIGHTS project demonstrates how collaboration between business and government can turn zero-emissions freight transport into a reality,” said Gideon Kracov, governing board member at South Coast AQMD and the California Air Resources Board (CARB). “We are excited this innovative project is being recognized nationally as an example of collaborative climate leadership. This project will help pave the way for more emission-free trucks and charging infrastructure, improving air quality in Southern California and beyond.”
The Volvo LIGHTS project was made possible by an award to South Coast AQMD of $44.8 million from CARB as part of California Climate Investments (CCI). CCI is a statewide initiative that puts billions of Cap-and-Trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy and improving public health and the environment – particularly in disadvantaged communities.
“Congratulations to the 2021 Climate Leadership Award winner Volvo LIGHTS for their stand-out achievements,” said Amy Holm, executive director of TCR. “At a time when the world urgently needs more climate action and ambition, these organizations and individuals demonstrate what is possible.”