“Albertsons is providing a great example of how this type of technology can reduce emissions and provide a sustainable zero-emissions goods delivery option,” said South Coast AQMD governing board member, Lisa A. Bartlett.
What she’s referring to, of course, is Albertsons Cos.’ delivery of a refrigerated grocery load with zero tailpipe emissions. This is the first delivery of its kind in the United States and was accomplished by deploying an electric Volvo truck as well as an electric Advanced Energy Machines trailer.
“Clean up on aisle everywhere,” said Volvo Trucks North American in a tweet. “Albertsons Companies is leading the way with the nation’s first 100% zero-emission refrigerated grocery delivery deploying two Volvo VNR Electric trucks, the first in their fleet.”
Albertsons, America’s second-biggest grocery chain, obtained two Volvo VNR Electric trucks for its Irvine, California distribution center, and completed a zero-emissions frozen food delivery to an Irvine store on May 28th. According to local and state environmental regulators, this delivery shows the potential for electric trucks and other environmentally-friendly transportation equipment to become more widely commercialized and make a shift in the trucking industry for the better.
“As early adopters of leading-edge technology, Albertsons Cos. continues to pursue new delivery modes that will help reduce emissions,” explained vice president of transportation at Albertsons, Tim Burke.
Additionally, electric trucking capabilities “will also provide a better working environment for our drivers and grocery store staff,” he added.
Nonprofit Calstart CEO, John Boesel, chimed in, noting how many members of the freight industry can make the switch to zero tailpipe emissions–which has only been made easier with more green transportation equipment coming available than ever before.
“When you get a major OEM and a major fleet working together on an all-electric tractor-trailer rig, it sends a strong message that the technology is mature, reliable, and ready to go,” said Boesel. “I would expect that Albertsons’ competitors will pay attention and will not want to be left behind using yesterday’s technology that is leading to climate change.”
Volvo’s VNR Electric was launched into production at its New River Valley, Virginia factory in 2020, and the company continues moving forward in the electric truck game. As of now, Volvo has 100 trucks either ordered or already in operation throughout the county, and its VNR Electric capabilities are meant for heavy hauling through regional areas. VNR Electric currently has 455 horsepower, 4,051 pound-feet of torque, and a range of 150 miles.
As part of the Low Impact Green Heavy Transport Solutions (LIGHTS) Project, Albertsons acquired these trucks, and the company’s Southern California fleet only uses Volvo Trucks–covering 335 stores in the area.
The LIGHTS Project was created through partnerships between Volvo Trucks North America, South Coast AQMD, and a dozen other organizations through a $4.8 million grant given by the California Air Resources Board. Volvo Group contributed another $36.7 million and built 25 trucks for the project’s efforts.
“We are confident that the Volvo VNR Electric Albertsons is deploying in Southern California will enable the company to not only reduce its emissions, but to make reliable daily deliveries to its grocery stores throughout the region,” explained Peter Voorhoeve, President of VTNA.
Southern California–from ports in Los Angeles and Long Beach all the way to warehouses and distribution centers 70 miles to the east–has become a hub for electric truck testing. Right now, pre-production models of the Freightliner eCascadias (built by Daimler Trucks North America) are being tested by companies such as J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc., Knight-Swift Transportation Holdings Inc., XPO Logistics, Ryder System Inc., U.S. Foods Inc., UPS Inc., and Schneider National Inc.
Volvo has also recently acquired its biggest order on electric trucks thus far from Quality Custom Distribution. QCD, a supplier of national food service logistics services, has leased 14 Volvo VNR Trucks solely for its delivery routes throughout Southern California and will begin to deploy these vehicles from its Fontana distribution center later in 2021.
“The experience gained from this program will help accelerate battery-electric truck adoption in QCD’s fleet, as well as other last-mile delivery fleets,” said QCD senior director of strategic procurement, Mike Douglas.