NFI begins piloting Volvo VNR Electric heavy-duty trucks in Southern California

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Through the Volvo LIGHTS project, third-party supply chain solutions provider NFI will demonstrate the ability for battery-electric trucks to successfully transport freight under a variety of operating conditions.

Volvo Trucks North America has announced that third-party supply chain solutions provider NFI has begun piloting two Volvo VNR Electric trucks as part of the Volvo LIGHTS (Low Impact Green Heavy Transport Solutions) project, becoming the third company to deploy its battery-electric trucks. The Volvo VNR Electric trucks will be integrated into NFI’s commercial operations, demonstrating the ability for battery-electric trucks to successfully transport goods under a variety of operating conditions. 

The Volvo VNR Electric trucks join NFI’s fleet of more than 4500 heavy-duty tractors that support its dedicated transportation and port drayage services for customers spanning from manufacturing to retail. The pilot trucks will be based out of one of NFI’s warehouse facilities in Southern California that serves as a central distribution centre for the region. 

“As the future of goods movement in the US changes from more of a long-haul operation to regional and hub and spoke models, not only is that NFI’s wheelhouse, it’s an ideal scenario to immerse electrification into our regional hauling strategy,” said Jim O’Leary, vice president, assets/fleet services, NFI Industries. “Our executive team is excited to collaborate with the Volvo LIGHTS team to accelerate our transition to a zero-emission fleet, so that we can lower our carbon footprint, reduce our operating costs and provide a better work environment for our drivers.”

Recognised as a four-time award-winning EPA SmartWay Partner, NFI continues to implement a variety of clean vehicles and equipment to reduce its overall emissions, including electric heavy-duty trucks, near-zero emission natural gas vehicles and battery-electric warehouse equipment. Volvo’s VNR Electric trucks support both NFI and its customers on their journey towards meeting ambitious sustainability goals. 

“By participating in the Volvo LIGHTS project, NFI is helping to prove that Volvo’s VNR Electric trucks can handle the daily rigors of freight movement. NFI continues to be a leader in sustainability and it comes across in everything they do,” said Peter Voorhoeve, president of Volvo Trucks North America. “NFI is realising the immediate value the electric VNR provides – not just by eliminating emissions but creating an enthusiastic workforce complementing the experience of driving these electric truck models. We are proud to continue to partner with NFI – a leader of fleet innovation and a fellow champion of sustainable transport solutions.”

Volvo’s VNR Electric trucks produce zero emissions and significantly reduce heat, noise and vibrations, allowing for the cleanest and most comfortable experience for drivers.  “It’s very quiet,” said Karl Williams, a driver for NFI. “You come home feeling a lot calmer and a lot more relaxed at the end of the day.”

The Volvo VNR Electric heavy-duty trucks provide excellent responsiveness, torque and performance, especially in the heavy-idling, stop-and-go nature of urban goods movement, which is particularly taxing for diesel trucks.

“When I accelerate the Volvo VNR Electric truck, I can feel the power,” said Francisco Delgado, an NFI driver with more than 20 years’ experience operating heavy-duty trucks. “It’s fast, and it’s very smooth. I’m very excited to drive it.” 

The Volvo LIGHTS pilot project will run through 2021, enabling Volvo Trucks North America to gather real-world operational data critical to the successful commercial scaling of these vehicles.