Volvo Trucks delivered two VNR Electric trucks to Saia LTL Freight in Los Angeles, the first zero tailpipe emission, battery-electric Class 8 trucks to be deployed in Saia’s fleet that will provide regional freight distribution services throughout Southern California, as well as logistics services across the U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico, and Mexico.
The trucks being leased to Saia by Volvo Financial Services (VFS) are part of the Volvo LIGHTS project, an innovative collaboration between Volvo Trucks North America, the South Coast Air Quality Management District (South Coast AQMD), and 12 other organizations, to develop a blueprint to successfully introduce battery-electric trucks and equipment into the North American transport industry at scale. The project includes a total of 17 leased VNR Electrics being placed into Southern California fleet operations.
“We are excited to partner with Saia’s team on this important first step toward fleet electrification and look forward to delivering the quality and reliability Saia requires to scale their zero-emission fleet in the future,” said Peter Voorhoeve, president of Volvo Trucks North America. “Through the Volvo LIGHTS project and the commercial launch of the VNR Electric, we have developed a service model to provide our customers with full support—from funding and financing options from VFS to vehicle procurement, infrastructure planning and installation, and regular maintenance schedules to maximize uptime.”
Saia’s fleet of nearly 5,000 trucks includes 350 in Southern California. Saia operates out of 170 terminals and transports more than 30,000 daily shipments to customers in multiple industrial and manufacturing sectors. Saia will leverage the firsthand insight gained by operating its two Volvo VNR Electrics to identify the ideal routes in which to integrate additional battery-electric trucks for its future operations.
“Commercialization of these cleaner technologies is a big part of the solution for cleaner air,” said Wayne Nastri, South Coast AQMD’s executive officer. “Saia’s deployment of zero-emission trucks provides a real-world example of how fleet operators can help reduce air pollution in our local communities, while still meeting business demands.”
To help Saia maximize vehicle uptime, TEC Equipment, Volvo Trucks’ largest West Coast dealership and a Volvo LIGHTS project partner, will provide contracted maintenance and repairs through the premier Volvo Gold Contract service offering at its location in Fontana, Calif.
In addition, Saia is making substantial investments in sustainable business practices and has been honored as a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency SmartWay Excellence Award recipient.
“Being a good corporate citizen is an important principle of our core values, so it’s imperative that we are managing our operations in a responsible and sustainable manner,” said Fritz Holzgrefe, Saia president and chief executive officer. “Partnering with Volvo Trucks to deploy the VNR Electrics into our Southern California freight routes will allow us to explore and fully utilize zero-emission technology to reduce our fleet’s carbon footprint.”
In addition to its dedication as an environmental steward, Saia is committed to providing a safe environment for its drivers and the communities in which they operate. The company has been repeatedly recognized by the American Trucking Associations’ Safety Management Council for its outstanding safety record, which is supported by a variety of training programs, robust employee recognition programs, and investments in the latest safety technologies.
“When I first drove the Volvo VNR Electric, I was surprised by how quiet and responsive it was and how much more relaxing the entire driving experience was,” said Keny Cano, driver for Saia. “I felt very safe behind the wheel, and I look forward to driving this truck on my routes.”