Dependable Highway Express begins piloting Volvo VNR Electric heavy-duty trucks in its Southern California fleet

Friday, September 11, 2020

General manager of Volvo Trucks North America’s TEC Equipment dealership, Mike Reardon, hands over the keys to the first Volvo VNR Electric class 8 truck models to Joe Finney of Dependable Highway Express. From left to right: Joe Finney (DHE COO), Troy Musgrave (DHE director of process improvement), Mike Reardon (TEC Equipment general manager), Janice Rutherford (county supervisor, San Bernardino County and South Coast Air Quality Management District board member) and Aravind Kailas (Volvo Group North America advanced technology policy director).

Through the Volvo LIGHTS project, leading freight company Dependable Highway Express will demonstrate the ability for battery-electric trucks to successfully transport goods in daily routes. 

Leading freight operator Dependable Highway Express (DHE) has received two Volvo VNR Electric trucks, the first battery-electric class 8 trucks to join DHE’s fleet. The electric trucks will be added to DHE’s existing fleet of more than 500 Volvo trucks operating across North America. Deployed as part of the Volvo LIGHTS (Low Impact Green Heavy Transport Solutions) project, the electric trucks will operate in a pilot project through the end of 2021 to demonstrate the ability for battery-electric trucks to successfully transport goods in DHE’s daily routes. 

DHE will begin operating the two Volvo VNR Electric trucks out of its facility in Ontario, California, which manages a fleet of 40 class 8 trucks. The electric trucks will run daily routes varying between 60 to 80 miles [97 to 129km], transporting goods from Ontario to warehouses throughout Southern California. By completing several different routes, the trucks will collect performance data under various operating conditions, producing crucial real-world operational data on the trucks’ power, performance, and range. This information will help Volvo Trucks validate customisation measures to provide the most seamless transition to battery-electric trucks for its customers.   

In addition to zero tailpipe emissions, the Volvo VNR Electric trucks simplify maintenance and improve working conditions for drivers by offering state-of-the-art responsiveness, a quieter cab free of engine-related vibrations, and by eliminating exposure to diesel fuel and exhaust.  

“DHE is incredibly proud to be one of the first fleets to deploy Volvo VNR Electric trucks in North America,” said Joe Finney, chief operating officer, Dependable Highway Express. “DHE is a family-run business that considers our employees as family, which is why we want only the best for our drivers. Volvo’s entire lineup of class 8 trucks offer our drivers the safest and most comfortable environment on the market, which is why we’ve only purchased Volvo trucks for our fleet since 2014. The Volvo VNR Electric truck cabin is nearly identical to its diesel counterpart, but with a whisper-quiet engine, a super-smooth ride, and zero emissions. Our drivers can’t wait to get behind the wheel of the VNR Electric trucks and put them to work.” 

DHE is a core division of Dependable Supply Chain Services, a full-service logistics provider established in 1950. DHE’s services include trucking, warehousing and distribution, harbour drayage, third-party logistics, air and ocean freight forwarding, and freight transport.  

“Working with DHE as a trusted fleet partner for years, they’ve come to expect the reliability, performance, and safety that is synonymous with a Volvo truck. We look forward to DHE putting these VNR Electric truck models through the rigors of their daily operations and experiencing that same level of quality,” said Peter Voorhoeve, president of Volvo Trucks North America. “These zero-emission trucks will start delivering benefits to drivers and communities today, while providing us with the valuable real-world data we need to successfully introduce these trucks commercially in the very near future, a milestone in the transition to wide-scale, sustainable transport solutions.”  

The Volvo VNR Electric trucks were deployed as part of the Volvo LIGHTS project – an innovative collaboration with the South Coast Air Quality Management District (South Coast AQMD) and 13 other organisations to develop a blueprint to successfully introduce battery-electric trucks and equipment into the market at scale.

“The Volvo LIGHTS project is figuratively paving the road toward achieving meaningful emission reductions in the freight movement sector – the largest single source of air pollution in our region,” said Janice Rutherford, San Bernardino County, second district supervisor and South Coast AQMD board member. “I am pleased to see these zero-emission Volvo VNR Electric trucks driving through my district in San Bernardino County and look forward to larger scale deployments.”   

In June, the first Volvo LIGHTS VNR Electric truck was deployed at Volvo Trucks North America TEC Equipment dealership in Fontana, California, which will provide DHE with ongoing maintenance support for the Volvo VNR Electric trucks. On the near-term horizon, additional announcements about fleet customer demonstrations will be made. 

“By operating our own all-electric VNR for the past four months, our maintenance and repair crew has already gained incredible hands-on experience,” said Mike Reardon, general manager of TEC Equipment's Fontana dealership. “We’re thrilled to extend our contracted maintenance services with DHE to include their two Volvo VNR Electric trucks and look forward to helping their team maximise their uptime.” 

The Volvo VNR Electric model was recently certified by both the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and California Air Resources Board (CARB) enabling the vehicle to be commercially sold in all 50 US states. This step helps Volvo Trucks move one step closer towards the highly anticipated commercial launch of the VNR Electric. Beginning in 2021, Southern California businesses will have the opportunity to lease commercial Volvo VNR Electric trucks from TEC Equipment to gain first-hand experience with these advanced trucks in their fleet operations.  

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 learn more about the Volvo LIGHTS project, visit www.lightsproject.com