Volvo and Pilot partner on heavy-duty public charging network

By Becky Schultz18 November 2022

Volvo Group North America and Pilot Company will develop a national public charging network for medium- and heavy-duty battery electric vehicles at Pilot and Flying J travel centers across the U.S.

The Volvo Group and Pilot Company, which operates 750 travel centers across North America, have signed a Letter of Intent to develop a national public charging network to support the scaling of battery-electric vehicles such as the Volvo VNR Electric trucks and Mack Trucks’ Class 8 LR Electric refuse model.

The Letter of Intent stipulates that the Volvo Group and its commercial brands will provide their expertise to help identify which locations should be prioritized for electromobility infrastructure based on current and expected battery-electric vehicle (BEV) deployment volume, customer charging needs and patterns, as well as the availability of federal and state funding to offset capital expenses. Pilot Company intends to install high-performance charging infrastructure at select Pilot and Flying J travel centers across the U.S., which will be open to heavy-duty vehicles of all brands.

The Volvo VNR Electric has a current range of up to 275 miles and was designed to enable fleets to perform urban and regional distribution with zero-tailpipe emissions. The Class 8 Mack LR Electric refuse model offers a standard 376 kWh total battery capacity. Its four NMC (Nickel Manganese Cobalt Oxide) lithium-ion batteries are charged through a 150 kW, SAE J1772-compliant charging system. To date, early adopters of both vehicles have utilized depot charging to support their daily routes, where trucks return to one location to charge.

The introduction of public charging infrastructure that can accommodate medium- and heavy-duty fleets will help to accelerate electrification adoption by addressing charging infrastructure accessibility and roadblocks – including long project lead times and high installation costs – that can otherwise delay scaled deployment of BEVs.

Mack Trucks LR Electric refuse The public charging infrastructure for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles will help Mack Trucks in its plans to grow sales of its LR Electric refuse model. (Photo: Mack Trucks

“Partnerships like this one are important for Mack, our industry and for society as a whole,” said Martin Weissburg, president of Mack Trucks and chairman of Volvo Group North America. “Mack and the Volvo Group are committed to being leaders in the transition to zero-emission transportation and accelerating the availability of publicly accessible charging is crucial to achieving the decarbonized, sustainable future we’re dedicated to helping bring about.”

The partnership will provide BEV customers with access to selected charging sites strategically located in high-traffic areas, helping to ensure the vehicles have the power necessary to reach their destinations.

“Our VNR Electric customers, as well as other fleets looking to adopt battery-electric trucks, will have peace of mind that they can access a reliable and robust, publicly accessible charging network strategically located along major transportation corridors, enabling them to extend their operating radius and decarbonize even more of their routes,” said Peter Voorhoeve, president, Volvo Trucks North America.

“Pilot Company and Volvo are wholly invested in transportation solutions that will guide and support the industry through the energy transition,” said Shameek Konar, CEO, Pilot Company. “Joining forces with Volvo, an expert in freight technology, furthers our mutual commitment towards nationwide electrification and sustainable transportation infrastructure. This strategic partnership is aligned with our goal to meet customers where they are headed, now and in the future.

“Together, we will work to identify public funding opportunities and to develop the infrastructure our customers need to move toward zero-emission fleets, helping to create a better world for future generations,” Konar added.

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