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Leading freight operator, Dependable Highway Express (DHE), recently completed several major electrification initiatives to further reduce the climate and air quality impacts of its Southern California freight operations. Through the Volvo LIGHTS project, DHE introduced Volvo VNR Electric Class 8 trucks, battery-electric yard trucks and forklifts, charging infrastructure for both their fleet vehicles and employees’ personal vehicles, as well as solar panels and onsite energy storage at its shipping and receiving facility in Ontario, California. To further solidify DHE’s ongoing efforts to reduce the carbon footprint of their operations, DHE has signed a letter of commitment to purchase an additional 10 Volvo VNR Electric trucks in 2022.
“DHE is a prime example of a fleet leading the path towards sustainable freight movement,” said Peter Voorhoeve, president, Volvo Trucks North America. “DHE’s partnership has been critical to the success of the Volvo LIGHTS project over the past two years. We are proud that DHE is planning to deploy additional VNR Electric trucks in the very near future — a true testament to moving electromobility and sustainable transport solutions forward in the trucking industry.”
Introduced two years ago, the Volvo LIGHTS project is an innovative collaboration between Volvo Trucks, the South Coast Air Quality Management District (South Coast AQMD) and 13 other organizations to develop a blueprint to successfully introduce battery-electric trucks and equipment into the market at scale.
This past September, DHE began piloting two Volvo VNR Electric heavy-duty trucks out of its Ontario facility. Operating between 60 and 80 miles daily, the vehicles continue to transport goods between warehouse facilities throughout Southern California. As part of the Volvo LIGHTS project, the VNR Electric trucks run various routes while collecting data on the vehicles’ performance under differing road and real-world operating conditions.
“By deploying the Volvo VNR Electric trucks and other zero-emission equipment, we can reduce our maintenance and fuel costs, while providing a quiet, clean, comfortable working environment for our drivers and employees,” said Joe Finney, chief operating officer, DHE. “We have made measurable progress towards achieving our own sustainability goals, while taking one more step towards a sustainable goods movement industry.”
Volvo’s VNR Electric trucks produce zero tailpipe emissions and significantly reduce heat, noise and vibrations allowing for the cleanest and most comfortable experience for drivers. When learning of DHE’s sustainability milestone, Alberto Arreola, a professional driver for DHE, commented, “Seeing how the company is putting its words into actions makes me proud to work at DHE and be part of the future.”
To install and maintain the charging infrastructure needed to support the electric trucks and equipment, DHE worked closely with Volvo Trucks North America, Southern California Edison, Greenlots, ABB, Core States and the City of Ontario in order to upgrade the facility’s power supply and install two 150 kW chargers. The chargers will utilize Greenlots’ SKY software to effectively balance the electricity demand from the trucks, equipment, existing facilities and the electricity grid.
“DHE is doing its part to create a more sustainable goods movement industry,” said Wayne Nastri, South Coast AQMD’s Executive Officer. “By collaborating with partners, making bold commitments and creating an actionable plan, DHE is proving that by working together we can help improve air quality in our communities while enabling businesses to thrive.”
Through the Volvo LIGHTS project, DHE has replaced 100% of the freight equipment being used in its Ontario shipping and receiving facility with battery-electric models, reducing noise and air pollution and providing their employees with quieter, cleaner, and safer working conditions. DHE currently operates 14 Yale Electric forklifts supported by eight Level 2 (L2) forklift chargers, and two Orange EV yard tractors supported by an additional two L2 chargers.
“As one of the world’s largest transportation and logistics hubs, the Inland Empire provides more than 90,000 related jobs to the community,” said John Andrews, economic development advisor, City of Ontario, California. “The deployment of battery-electric trucks through the Volvo LIGHTS project allows us to continue growing this vital sector, bringing with it higher-skilled and higher-paying jobs, while also enabling us to meet our ambitious climate goals.”
To further mitigate grid impacts and energy costs, DHE worked with Solar Optimum, a solar installation company, to install more than 2,300 solar panels on the roof of its Ontario facility and employee parking canopies. Annually, solar panels will generate 1.291 GWh of renewable electricity.
Volvo Trucks North America began taking customer orders for its battery-electric VNR Electric model on Dec. 3, 2020. Production of the Volvo VNR Electric is slated to begin in early 2021 at Volvo Trucks’ New River Valley manufacturing plant in Dublin, Virginia.
Volvo LIGHTS is part of California Climate Investments, 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.
To see DHE’s Ontario facility in action and hear first impressions about the Volvo VNR Electric from real drivers, watch this video.