Amazon adds fifty Volvo VNR Electric semis to its Californian fleet

Amazon says it is investing in electric vehicles worldwide and is now rolling out nearly 50 heavy-duty electric trucks from Volvo in Southern California. They will share the Californian roads with 13,500 custom-built Rivian electric vans, a fleet that should be expanded to 100,000 vans by 2030.

The fully electric trucks will haul cargo containers and customer packages in Amazon’s first- and middle-mile operations and are expected to travel combined more than 1,5 million km each year with zero tailpipe emissions.

Difficult to decarbonize

“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,” said Udit Madan, vice president of Worldwide Amazon Operations.

“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.”

Range up to 275 miles

Volvo Truck’s VNR Electric is offered in the US as a 4×2 or 6×4 Straight or Tractor combination, with 340 kW (455 hp) of power, configurable with four (375 kWh) or six batteries (565 kWh). The latter offering a range of up to 275 miles (440 km). Charging can be done at up to 250 kW DC with CCS1 in 90 minutes for 80%.

They are Amazon’s first-ever electric Class 8 semis, the heaviest with an 82,000 GCW capacity (41 tons), used in its ocean freight operations, also known as drayage trucks.

The first started hitting the road at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, with a dozen expected by the end of the year. In Southern California, Amazon has installed 45 direct current (DC) fast chargers across 11 sites to power the trucks.

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, the so-called middle mile.

From there, trucks move packages between Amazon’s fulfillment centers, sort centers, air facilities, and, finally, delivery stations, where they are loaded into last-mile vans and delivered to the customer’s doorstep.

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