Volvo Group North America will develop a public charging hub and deploy electric trucks in the Bronx as part of a $10 million award through the New York Clean Transportation Prizes program. The program, administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), awarded the money for Volvo's multi-pronged approach to address noise, air pollution, and food distribution challenges in the South Bronx's Hunts Point neighborhood, part of the poorest urban Congressional District in the United States.
Volvo's plan, "Bronx is Breathing: Reimagining a Cleaner Hunts Point," will develop a charging hub former 3.2-acre brownfield site in the Hunts Point Food Distribution Center, which will support the trucks deployed through the project. Four Class 7 VNR Electric trucks with electric transport refrigeration units will be deployed to City Harvest, a local food rescue organization, for food distribution. The project will begin Jan. 2023, with the first Volvo VNR Electric truck deliveries expected by the fourth quarter of 2023, according to a Volvo press release.
“Volvo Trucks recognizes that the higher upfront costs of acquiring battery-electric trucks and installing charging infrastructure can be a barrier to adoption for some organizations, particularly smaller fleets and independent-owner operators,” said Peter Voorhoeve, president of Volvo Trucks North America. “Through the Bronx is Breathing: Reimagining a Cleaner Hunts Point project, our team will create a replicable, scalable, and sustainable strategy for developing freight-focused public charging hubs and new battery-electric fleet deployment models in underserved communities across the U.S, helping to reduce emissions in frontline communities while also creating new job opportunities.”
Mack Trucks SVP of Sales and Commercial Operations Jonathan Randall said, “We are honored to be a part of the winning solution for the Clean Neighborhoods category. Mack has an ongoing commitment to fulfill customers’ sustainability goals, as well as Mack’s goal of having 35 percent of its sales be for electric vehicles by 2030," adding that, "The Mack LR Electric model exemplifies Mack’s commitment to sustainable transportation solutions. It produces zero emissions, and it will help reduce air and noise pollution in Hunts Point."
Hunts Point is one of the busiest trucking destinations in the country with 15,000 truck trips each workday, according to the Volvo press release. It is home to the nation's largest wholesale food hub, nine waste transfer facilities, several large recycling yards, and a wastewater treatment facility. This level of activity is a source of noise and air pollution that impacts residential community of nearly 13,000.
NYSERDA President and CEO Doreen M. Harris said, "NYSERDA is excited to support Volvo Group North America's project that demonstrates how innovation in clean transportation can help transform Hunt's Point by reducing the harmful emissions that impact this community so deeply. This highly replicable model will improve the way food is delivered and distributed in our communities. [It will] provide opportunities for freight electric vehicle charging and business ownership through an electric truck cooperative and unleash cutting-edge battery technology for food transport."
The Bronx is Breathing: Reimagining a Cleaner Hunts Point plan was one of three award winners in the program’s Clean Neighborhoods Challenge, with the goal of spurring local economic development, creating new job opportunities, and reducing air pollution in underserved communities. The New York Clean Transportation Prize program supports New York State's goal of an 85 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 as outlined in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. The award was announced at a showcase event in New York City on Nov. 16.