Volvo Trucks to construct charging network throughout California


Volvo Trucks North America is joining forces with a bunch of other companies, including Shell Recharge, to implement a fast-charging network on the West Coast dedicated to supporting medium- and heavy-duty commercial EVs. The California Electrified Charging Corridor will combine several major metropolitan cities across Northern and Southern California with high-powered charging infrastructure.

Volvo Group (AB Volvo) is a multinational corporation; their subsidiary Volvo Trucks has built and delivered much of the world’s heavy-duty trucks. Previously, the Swedish automaker has teamed up with companies like DHL to produce electric heavy-duty trucks and fulfilled orders from logistic giants like Maersk.

After selling all-electric trucks in Europe toward the end of 2019, Volvo Trucks set its sights on North America by introducing its VNR Class 8 BEV. US entry began in California in early 2020 with a heavy-duty EV program centered around the VNR truck.

This was followed by a second-generation VNR electric truck from Volvo Trucks, which debuted this past January. With a number of heavy-duty EVs now on roads throughout California, Volvo Trucks is building its own charging network to support them and any other medium- and heavy-duty EVs in need of a charge.

Map of the proposed California Electrified Charging Corridor / Source: Volvo Trucks

Volvo Trucks to break ground on charging network this year

The Swedish automaker shared details of its charging network plans in a press release today, announcing it is joining forces with Volvo Financial Services, Volvo Technology of America, Shell Recharge Solutions, TEC Equipment, Affinity Truck Center, and Western Truck Center to bring the network to life.

During the next eighteen months, the California Electrified Charging Corridor project will deploy high-powered chargers at several existing Volvo Trucks dealership locations throughout Central and Northern California.

The new chargers will join the existing heavy-duty EV infrastructure already available in Southern California. The goal of the project is to create transport routes equipped with publicly accessible charging stations at convenient intervals, allowing EV fleets to efficiently travel throughout all of California. Volvo Trucks North America president Peter Voorhoeve shared his thoughts:

This project will open the door to a truly electrified freight future in which zero-tailpipe emission medium- and heavy-duty trucks are no longer limited to short-mileage, return-to-base operations and can reach far and wide across the state. We are excited to begin construction of the Electrified Charging Corridor Project this year in collaboration with these pioneering truck dealerships so that we can further support fleets in successfully integrating battery-electric trucks into their operations, including our Volvo VNR Electric model. With the support of the CEC helping to drive and manifest this project, we will see an accelerated progression with ripple effects across the industry.

By “CEC,” Voorhoeve is referring to the California Energy Commission, which awarded the project $2 million under its BESTFIT grant program to cultivate innovative charging solutions in the state. According to Volvo Trucks, its new network has the goal of providing convenient charging to the following groups:

  • Small business fleets that want to avoid making major financial investments in large-scale charging infrastructure at their own depots
  • Fleets looking to pilot an electric vehicle through rental and short-term lease opportunities
  • Fleets that need an OEM-neutral location to “opportunity charge” along their route

The project is slated to get underway in 2022, and all five of the initial EV charging stations in the network are expected to be operational by the end of 2023.

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