NFI Industries
Nfo Volvo Vnr Electric And Freightliner E Cascadia In Operation California

NFI expands Class 8 EV fleet

April 18, 2023
With funding assistance from the JETSI project, the carrier is adding 50 battery-electric trucks from Freightliner and Volvo, along with supporting charging infrastructure, to operate in Southern California.

NFI Industries, one of the nation’s oldest and largest carriers, is expanding its Class 8 battery-electric trucks (BETs) fleet in Southern California as part of the Joint Electric Truck Scaling Initiative (JETSI) project.

Under the project, designed to show that fleets can successfully scale battery-electric trucks, NFI (No. 33 on the FleetOwner 500: For-Hire list) will deploy and operate 30 electric Freightliner eCascadias and 20 Volvo VNR Electric trucks. The EV will run out of NFI’s Ontario, California, warehouse facility to support its dedicated port drayage services for customers from manufacturing to retail. NFI said it had taken delivery of the first 15 of its Class 8 EVs funded through the project, with the remaining ordered trucks set to be delivered by this July. 

See also: EPA proposes even stronger pollution standards for all trucks and cars

“NFI has worked closely with its OEM partners—Volvo Trucks and Daimler Truck—during the last several years to put battery-electric trucks to the test on our routes across Southern California,” said Sid Brown, CEO of NFI. “Through the JETSI project and other innovative fleet electrification efforts, we are excited to apply our early learnings and both lead the industry and accelerate progress toward achieving our sustainability goals. By the end of this year, we will have 100 Class 8 battery-electric trucks dedicated to port drayage, bringing cleaner air to the communities in which we operate.”

Founded 90 years ago, NFI serves customers worldwide with an international fleet of more than 5,000 tractors and 14,300 trailers. The company has made commitments to create a more sustainable supply chain. 

NFI participated in several EV demonstration projects since 2018, including the Volvo LIGHTS, Daimler Truck’s Innovation Fleet, and Switch-On projects. Through these projects, NFI’s demonstration fleet of eCascadias, VNR Electrics, and electric yard tractors has traveled more than 1.5 million miles and offset more than 2,300 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions—equivalent to eliminating 225,933 gallons of diesel fuel consumption.

“The team at NFI has been incredible to collaborate with the past several years, working hand-in-hand with Volvo Trucks’ engineering team and local dealer partner, TEC Equipment, to validate and configure our commercial Volvo VNR Electric model to successfully run NFI’s drayage routes,” said Peter Voorhoeve, president of Volvo Trucks North America. “This partnership will now continue through the JETSI project as our organizations closely collaborate with NFI to scale its BET fleet, maximize vehicle uptime, and showcase the real opportunity to transport goods with zero-tailpipe emissions.”

Through its participation in these freight electrification projects, NFI said it had gained valuable insight into which routes are optimal for heavy-duty EVs based on the number of stops, topography, traffic patterns, freight being transported, and more. In addition, NFI has collaborated with VTNA and DTNA to configure its trucks based on its operational needs and train its drivers on how to extend power in the battery and maximize regenerative braking benefits. 

“By working with the NFI team as part of Daimler Truck’s Innovation Fleet, our team has gained incredible insight into the necessary steps needed to successfully deploy battery-electric trucks into freight movement operations,” said David Carson, SVP of sales and marketing at DTNA. “Beyond collaborating with NFI to ensure the Freightliner eCascadia technology was ready for real-world operations, we’ve been able to see firsthand the processes and stakeholders required to install the charging infrastructure to support the trucks. This knowledge enabled us to provide guidance to many customers looking to electrify their fleet operations.” 

To install the charging infrastructure needed to support its growing BET fleet, NFI is working with Southern California Edison, Electrify Commercial, and the City of Ontario to upgrade the facility’s power supply and install 19 350kW power cabinets, which have 38 electric vehicle charger dispensers. NFI’s Ontario charging infrastructure is anticipated to be installed and energized by the end of 2023. In the meantime, NFI will temporarily operate its EVs from its Chino facility, which contains high-powered charging infrastructure from earlier projects.

Funding for 50 of NFI’s BETs and supporting charging infrastructure came from JETSI, a joint project of the South Coast Air Quality Management District (South Coast AQMD), California Air Resources Board (CARB), and the California Energy Commission (CEC).

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