Volvo Trucks
66475b4021947944d511bf09 Food Forward Volvo Vnr Electric

Food Forward deploys Volvo VNR Electric

May 17, 2024
Nonprofit organization to use new zero-tailpipe-emission truck to fight food insecurity in California while reducing its carbon footprint.

Food Forward recently deployed a Volvo VNR Electric truck in Southern California to pick up commercial, private, and agricultural food surplus throughout the region. The nonprofit organization’s goal is to alleviate food insecurity by distributing surplus produce while decreasing its carbon footprint.

In the United States, almost 40% of food produced goes unsold or uneaten, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. The VNR Electric will play a key role in Food Forward’s efforts, enabling the recovery and distribution of between 80,000 and 120,000 lbs. of surplus produce daily, Volvo reported. By shifting to battery-electric trucks, Food Forward is accelerating progress toward achieving its goal of offsetting more greenhouse gasses than it produces. If surplus food is otherwise sent to landfills, it decomposes and releases methane—a short-lived pollutant that impacts climate change.

“Volvo Trucks is dedicated to providing a better, more sustainable future and decarbonizing transportation is a central pillar of that journey,” Jared Ruiz, Volvo Trucks North America West region vice president, said in a news release. “We are tremendously proud of the work that our battery-electric trucks are doing to decarbonize the industry, but even more compelling is the great work that Food Forward’s fleet is doing to help fight hunger and prevent food waste.”

Operating from Southern California, Food Forward’s fleet will use the VNR Electric truck to collect surplus food that is distributed to 13 counties in California, and seven additional states and tribal lands. Despite more fresh produce coming through the Los Angeles region than any other part of the country, one in five Californians lacks adequate access to food, according to the organization.

“Food insecurity and climate change are both global issues that are in many ways connected. Because of that, we must find sustainable solutions to address both issues,” said Kristen Johnson, Food Forward chief operating officer. “We have robust sustainability targets in our mission and transitioning to zero-emission vehicles is the next logical step to reduce our carbon footprint.”

The VNR Electric is a zero-tailpipe-emission solution for fleet operators supporting local and regional distribution, pickup and delivery, and food and beverage distribution. The six-battery pack configuration model has a 565-kWh capacity, enabling up to 275 miles of range on a single charge, Volvo said. Charging to 80% can be achieved in about 90 minutes, depending on a variety of factors, including distance traveled, route optimization, and driver training.

VNR Electric trucks also help fleets enhance driver comfort, especially during the hot summer months. Drivers can utilize the truck’s electric HVAC system to run air conditioning while waiting to be loaded or unloaded, while still adhering to no-idle regulations within local communities and the San Pedro Bay ports.

To support Food Forward's electromobility journey, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) assisted in providing a grant through its Community Emission Reduction Grant Program (CERGP) to offset the costs of adopting electric trucks and infrastructure. TEC Equipment in La Mirada, a Volvo Trucks Certified Electric Vehicle Dealership, will service and maintain Food Forward’s VNR Electric.

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