Last-Mile Delivery Fleet Gets Volvo VNR Electric

By Mike Brezonick01 April 2021

Volvo VNR Electric truck QDC, a food service logistics provider, is leasing a Volvo VNR Electric Class 8 truck as part of the Volvo LIGHTS program.

Quality Custom Distribution (QCD), a national food service logistics provider, recently took delivery of a Volvo VNR Electric — the first zero-emission, battery-electric truck to be deployed in QCD’s fleet of more than 700 vehicles.

The Volvo VNR Electric model from Volvo Trucks North America will begin running last-mile delivery routes to restaurants and coffee stores throughout Southern California from the company’s warehouse in Fontana, Calif.

The Volvo VNR Electric Class 8 truck being leased to QCD is part of the Volvo LIGHTS project, a collaboration between Volvo Trucks North America, the South Coast Air Quality Management District (South Coast AQMD) and 13 other organizations, to develop a blueprint to successfully introduce battery-electric trucks and equipment into the market at scale.

“We are excited to partner with QCD as they begin their fleet electrification journey,” said Peter Voorhoeve, president, Volvo Trucks North America. “Like so many of our customers, QCD depends on their vehicles to deliver every day, without compromise and without exception.

“Through the Volvo LIGHTS project, we have given consideration to every possible resource fleets need to make a successful transition to electric vehicles. By creating a holistic electrification ecosystem—from accessing grant funding to the purchase of the truck to establishing a charging infrastructure plan to providing service and support after the sale—Volvo Trucks is ensuring fleets like QCD are supported every step of the way.”

Volvo Trucks North America began taking customer orders for its VNR Electric model last December. Regular production is slated to begin in early 2021 at the company’s New River Valley manufacturing plant in Dublin, Va.

Last Mile Deliveries

Each year, QCD makes over one million last-mile deliveries from its 26 temperature-controlled distribution centers, averaging more than 35 million miles on the road annually. GSF is one of the world’s largest diversified suppliers to the food service and retail industries. More than half of QCD’s fleet consists of Volvo VNR and VNL trucks.

“Being a Volvo Trucks customer for over 13 years, we knew we could expect the same level of safety, comfort, and performance from the VNR Electric as we’ve always had with the traditional VNR,” said Mike Douglas, senior director of strategic procurement, QCD. “We are continually looking for ways to help our customers reduce their supply chain emissions and are excited to offer a battery-electric last-mile solution that can deliver. We look forward to putting the Volvo VNR Electric to work in our fleet and to more zero-emission deployments going forward.”

Leased from Volvo Trucks’ dealer Gateway Truck & Refrigeration in the St. Louis area, the Volvo VNR Electric will be operating various nightly last-mile delivery distribution routes, each totaling nearly 100 miles roundtrip. One of 17 VNR Electric trucks leased to fleet customers through the Volvo LIGHTS initiative, the Volvo VNR Electric will help to evaluate battery-electric trucks in a variety of operating conditions. The firsthand operational insight gained will enable QCD to identify the ideal routes in which to integrate additional battery-electric trucks for their future operations.

“Gateway Truck & Refrigeration is proud to be Volvo Trucks’ first dealership outside of California to deliver a VNR Electric to a fleet customer,” said Zach Wagner, principal for Gateway Truck & Refrigeration. “Our team is looking forward to gaining direct feedback on how battery-electric trucks perform on various QCD delivery routes. This insight will enable us to more effectively guide our other fleet customers throughout Missouri and Illinois in their procurement decisions.”

To help QCD maximize vehicle uptime, TEC Equipment, Volvo Trucks’ largest West Coast dealership and a Volvo LIGHTS project partner, will provide contracted maintenance services through its Fontana location.

“Successful deployment of zero-emission vehicles such as QCD’s are needed to achieve our clean air goals,” said Wayne Nastri, South Coast AQMD’s executive officer. “By fleets proactively making the switch to cleaner vehicles under the Volvo LIGHTS project, we are reducing air pollution in our local communities.”

Volvo Powertrain

The Volvo VNR Electric is designed for customer applications and driving cycles with local and regional distribution ranges, including food and beverage and pick-up and delivery routes. It is available in three configurations, a single-axle straight truck with a gross vehicle weight rating of 33,200 lb. and two tractor configurations – 4x2 with a 66,000 lb. gross combination weight rating (GCWR) and 6x2 with up to an 82,000 lb. GCWR in specific applications.

The electric driveline is a fully integrated, Volvo proprietary solution, rated 339 kW (455 hp) and generating up to 4051 lb.ft. of torque. The truck incorporates a two-speed Volvo I-Shift transmission designed to deliver smooth and efficient acceleration with excellent startability and low-speed maneuverability, Volvo said.

The truck incorporates lithium-ion batteries with a capacity of 264 kWh, which provide the vehicle an operating range of up to 150 miles based on the configuration. The batteries can be charged up to 80% within 70 minutes, Volvo said, and regenerative braking can increase range by returning power up to 15% back into the battery, depending on the duty cycle.

The VNR Electric also include Volvo Trucks’ onboard telematics including Remote Diagnostics and a new real-time battery monitoring service from the Volvo Trucks Uptime Center.

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