Volvo Trucks completes LIGHTS project in the USA
Volvo Trucks North America has announced the culmination of the Volvo LIGHTS project – a three-year project that brought together 14 public and private partners to design and implement a blueprint for the robust support ecosystem necessary 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 VNR Electric model in December 2020.
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 involvement by NFI Industries, Dependable Highway Express, TEC Equipment, Shell Recharge Solutions, 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.
Over the course of the project, the partners identified the following cornerstones of the building of said ecosystem: Identifying ideal routes for electrification, comprehensive dealer support, reliable and cost-effective charging infrastructure, as well as technician and first-responder training programmes. Between establishing a functional baseline for the trucks to charge on, as well as how to plan delivery routes and the follow-up safety regulations, the partners feel that the industry can take the step to electrify their fleets.
“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,” said Peter Voorhoeve, president, Volvo Trucks North America. “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.”
In addition to identifying the steps which need to be taken, the partners also determined that this cannot be done by industry or politics alone: “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,” said Ben J. Benoit, Chair of South Coast AQMD’s Governing Board.
Craig Segall, California Air Resources Board (CARB) deputy executive officer for mobile sources and incentives, added: “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.”
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