Photo: Volvo Trucks North America
Quality Custom Distribution, a Golden State Foods company, recently ordered 30 Volvo VNR Electric trucks.

Fleets place additional orders for Volvo VNR Electric trucks

May 10, 2022
Quality Custom Distribution, a Golden State Foods company, recently ordered 30 Volvo VNR Electric trucks, while NFI Industries ordered 60 Volvo VNR Electrics for deployment across the company’s Ontario, California, fleet.

LONG BEACH, California—Two fleets are upping their commitment to zero-tailpipe emission freight transport with their latest orders of Volvo VNR Electric trucks.

Announced at the Advanced Clean Transportation (ACT) Expo here, Quality Custom Distribution (QCD), a Golden State Foods company, recently ordered 30 Volvo VNR Electric trucks, while NFI Industries ordered 60 Volvo VNR Electrics for deployment across the company’s Ontario, California, fleet throughout 2022 and 2023.

The Volvo VNR Electric truck model was designed for fleets operating in local and regional distribution, pickup-and-delivery, and food and beverage distribution segments. In January, Volvo announced production plans for its next-generation VNR Electric model that has an operational range of 275 miles. The Volvo VNR Electric initially had an operating range of up to 150 miles.

“It’s about accelerating the shift,” Peter Voorhoeve, president of Volvo Trucks North America, said during an ACT Expo press conference on May 9. “Nine months ago at ACT Expo [2021], we said we need to act now. Today, we need to accelerate the shift and deliver.”

In early 2023, Volvo’s battery-electric Class 8 trucks will be deployed in QCD’s Southern California fleet operations and will deliver products to restaurants and coffee shops throughout Riverside and San Bernadino counties. The project includes 16 fast chargers and a renewable microgrid to power the chargers.

Each year, QCD’s fleet of 700 Class 8 tractors makes more than one million last-mile deliveries from its 26 distribution centers across the U.S., averaging more than 35 million miles on the road annually, the company said during an ACT Expo press conference. To date, QCD’s fleet includes 45 Volvo VNR Electric trucks.

Shane Blanchette, senior director of operations for QCD, noted that the carrier has gained firsthand insight into the real-world performance of battery-electric trucks during the past year operating Volvo VNR Electric trucks during the Volvo LIGHTS (Low Impact Green Heavy Transport Solutions) project.

“We now have the experience needed to map out the ideal routes to integrate additional battery-electric trucks, and we’ll use this knowledge as we deploy the additional 44 Volvo VNR Electrics from our distribution centers in Fontana and La Puente, California,” Blanchette said.

Last April, QCD ordered its first batch of 14 leased Volvo VNR Electric trucks with funding support from a grant awarded to Volvo Financial Services from the Mobile Source Air Pollution Reduction Review Committee’s (MSRC) Inland Port Program. The first Volvo VNR Electrics from the 2021 order will start operations this summer out of its distribution center in Fontana. The remaining trucks will be deployed throughout 2022 and early 2023.

QCD also has partnered with Scale Microgrid Solutions to build a clean-energy microgrid to power its La Puente’s battery-electric fleet and distribution center. InCharge Energy will supply and maintain fast-charging stations utilizing onsite renewable energy generated by Scale’s microgrid.

NFI started piloting VNR Electrics in its commercial operations as part of the Volvo LIGHTS project that began in 2019.

“Our experience with the Volvo LIGHTS project was a major factor in NFI’s decision to purchase VNR Electric trucks for our drayage operations,” said Bill Bliem, SVP of fleet services at NFI. “NFI started our electrification transition because we are committed to sustainability initiatives across our operations, and we are continuing to invest in Volvo Trucks because of the proven viability and success we had had operating the Volvo VNR Electrics in our real-world routes.”

Twenty of the trucks will be deployed as part of the Joint Electric Truck Scaling Initiative (JETSI) project, which was announced during the 2021 ACT Expo. Thirty of the trucks will be deployed with funding support from California’s Hybrid and Zero-Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project. The remaining 10 trucks are part of the Switch-On project, a grant to Volvo Trucks to deploy battery-electric trucks in Southern California for regional freight distribution and drayage.

Electrify America is providing 19 350 kW ultra-fast chargers with 38 dispensers to support NFI’s growing battery-electric drayage fleet that serves the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. 

About the Author

Cristina Commendatore

Cristina Commendatore was previously the Editor-in-chief of FleetOwner magazine. She reported on the transportation industry since 2015, covering topics such as business operational challenges, driver and technician shortages, truck safety, and new vehicle technologies. She holds a master’s degree in journalism from Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut.

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