Volvo Trucks, Pilot to create national electric-truck The traditional truck stop is poised to plug in to the future.
Greensboro-based Volvo Trucks North America and the largest U.S. operator of travel centers will partner to create a national charging network exclusively for medium- and heavy-duty electric vehicles, the companies announced Tuesday.
The chargers, to be install at selected Pilot and Flying J facilities, will be available to all large electric trucks.
“Our VNR Electric customers, as well as other fleets looking to adopt battery-electric trucks, will have peace of mind that they can access a reliable and robust, publicly accessible charging network strategically located along major transportation corridors, enabling them to extend their operating radius and decarbonize even more of their routes,” Volvo Trucks North America President Peter Voorhoeve said in a statement.
Volvo began U.S. sales of its VNR Electric trucks in December 2020. The heavy transport vehicles, equipped with six batteries, can cover up to 275 miles on one 90-minute charge
Early buyers of Volvo’s electric trucks have used them primarily for daily round trips. And employed “depot charging” in one location, the company said Tuesday.
An extensive charging network will broaden the still-limited hauling range of electric trucks by encouraging longer routes that require plugging in multiple times.
“Pilot Company and Volvo are committed to developing transportation solutions that will guide and support the industry through the energy transition,” said Shameek Konar, CEO of the Weber City, Virginia-based Pilot Company.
“Joining forces with Volvo, an expert in freight technology. Aligns with our goal to support sustainable transportation infrastructure and to meet our customers where they are head.”
Where they’ll go
The partners will have plenty of options as they create an extensive truck-charging network. Pilot operates more than 750 travel centers in North America, covering 44 U.S. states and six Canadian provinces.
But the companies haven’t decided how many chargers will be part of the network. Volvo spokeswoman Mary Beth Halprin said Tuesday.
“The rollout and costs of the chargers and their locations will be align with where medium- and heavy-duty, battery-electric truck adoption is occurring, as well as where federal and state funding grants are available,” she explain.
The bipartisan federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act passed in 2021 allocated $5 billion in funding to be dispersed by states for EV charging infrastructure.
Volvo Group will do testing and make recommendations, but Pilot will choose, own and operate the chargers, Halprin said.
In the U.S., transportation is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than any other sector of our economy. That pollution, primarily from carbon dioxide, is the nation’s largest contributor to climate change.
Trucking alone is responsible for more than a quarter of transportation-related emissions, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Now and the future
In addition to its current VNR offerings, Volvo announced in June that it expects to begin U.S. production before the end of the decade on large electric transport trucks that charge themselves and emit only water vapor. The heavy-hauling vehicles will use hydrogen fuel cells to produce their own electricity. Giving them a range of more than 600 miles, the company said.
Currently, all of Volvo’s large trucks sold in North America are assembled at the company’s New River Valley Plant in Dublin, Va., about 100 miles north of the Triad.
The company also operates a powertrain manufacturing facility in Hagerstown, Maryland.
Volvo Trucks North America has publicly announced more than 455 orders for VNR Electric trucks. 65 of which are on the road, Halrpin said.
The customers closest to the Triad who are currently running VNR Electrics in their fleets are three logistics companies in Southwest Virginia that deliver parts to Volvo Trucks’ Duplin facility, she added. That’s Volvo Trucks, Pilot to create national electric-truck.