Saia LTL takes delivery of Volvo VNR Electrics

By Mike Brezonick21 April 2021

Volvo VNR Electric Saia LTL Freight recently took delivery of two Volvo VNR Electric trucks at its facility in Los Angeles, Calif. The VNR Electrics from Volvo Trucks North America are the first zero tailpipe emission, Class 8 battery-electric trucks to be deployed in Saia’s fleet.

Saia LTL Freight, a national transportation and logistics provider founded in 1924, recently took delivery of two Volvo VNR Electric trucks at its facility in Los Angeles, Calif. The VNR Electrics from Volvo Trucks North America are the first zero tailpipe emission, battery electric Class 8 trucks to be deployed in Saia’s fleet, which provides regional freight distribution services throughout Southern California, as well as logistics services across the U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico, and Mexico.

The Volvo VNR Electric trucks being leased to Saia by Volvo Financial Services (VFS) are part of the Volvo LIGHTS project, a 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 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.

“Volvo Trucks is pleased that Saia has chosen the VNR Electric as its first battery-electric model for regional freight transportation,” said Peter Voorhoeve, president, Volvo Trucks North America. “We are excited to partner with their 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.”

Across the U.S., Saia has a fleet of nearly 5000 trucks, including 350 in Southern California, that operate out of 170 terminals and transport more than 30,000 daily shipments to customers in a myriad of 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.

“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.”

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.

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.

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