Amazon to roll out almost 50 Volvo VNR Electric trucks in Southern California

Amazon to roll out almost 50 Volvo VNR Electric trucks in Southern California

The company said the fully electric trucks will haul cargo containers and customer packages in first- and middle-mile operations.

Amazon will roll out nearly 50 heavy-duty electric trucks across Southern California. The company said the fully electric trucks will haul cargo containers and customer packages in first- and middle-mile operations. Combined, these trucks are expected to travel more than one million miles each year, Amazon said.

First mile, or global logistics, is where goods are moved from where they are manufactured, through customs, across oceans, into ports, and then into Amazon’s fulfillment network. Amazon said its electric trucks in ocean freight operations, also known as drayage trucks, have started hitting the road at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, with a dozen expected by the end of the year. The electric drayage trucks transport containers from the ports to an Amazon facility in Santa Fe Springs, California, where items are prepared for the next leg in their journey — middle mile.

According to Amazon, trucks in middle mile move customer orders between its fulfillment centers, sort centers, air facilities, and delivery stations, where packages are loaded into last-mile vans to be delivered to customer doorsteps. The company has deployed 35 electric heavy-duty vehicles in Southern California and has installed over 45 direct current (DC) fast chargers across 11 sites to power the trucks.

“We’re proud to launch our largest fleet of electric heavy-duty vehicles yet in California,” Udit Madan, vice president of Worldwide Amazon Operations said. “Heavy-duty trucking is a particularly difficult area to decarbonize, which makes us all the more excited to have these vehicles on the road today. We’ll use what we learn from deploying these vehicles as we continue to identify and invest in solutions to reduce emissions in our transportation network, and to impact sustainability in the trucking industry more broadly.”

The battery-electric Class 8 Volvo VNR Electric trucks have a range of up to 275 miles and a gross combination weight of 82,000 pounds, Amazon said.

“Within Amazon’s operations, the Volvo VNR Electric will provide zero-tailpipe-emissions transportation across a variety of different applications efficiently and sustainably. The Volvo VNR Electric was built on the already proven regional haul VNR platform which makes it well suited for drayage and middle-mile operations, particularly in areas of dense population and moderate to heavy traffic volumes,” said Keith Brandis, vice president, of partnerships and system solutions, Volvo Group North America. “We are thrilled to work with Amazon’s expansive fleet on their electromobility transition and help to pave the way for a more efficient and sustainable future.”

Amazon said it has been operating electric yard tractors since 2019 and now has over 140 moving trailers around its sites in the U.S. In 2022, Amazon launched its custom electric delivery vans from Rivian and has scaled over the past two years, rolling out more than 13,500 across the country.

In addition to bringing more electric vehicles to the road, Amazon said it is investing in alternative fuels like green hydrogen and biofuels to reduce carbon emissions in its trucking and maritime operations. Amazon also founded the Zero Emission Maritime Buyers Alliance (ZEMBA) alongside The Aspen Institute, Patagonia, and Tchibo to enable companies to access zero-emission shipping solutions that are not currently available, it said.

Amazon said it has a number of sustainability initiatives in California to help reduce emissions and support communities where it operates. The company has 58 renewable energy projects in the state and a growing number of buildings seeking the International Living Future Institute’s low-carbon building certification known as “Zero Carbon Certification,” including a same-day site and three Amazon GO stores located in California, and have donated $200,000 to The Bay Foundation to help support kelp reforestation in the Santa Monica Bay, it said.

Since 2010, Amazon said it has created more than 153,000 full- and part-time jobs in California and invested more than $142 billion across the state, including infrastructure from fulfillment centers, Whole Foods Market locations and two tech hubs.

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