Manhattan Beer Distributors' charging unit has the ability to charge a single truck at 75 kilowatts. - Photo: Vesna Brajkovic

Manhattan Beer Distributors' charging unit has the ability to charge a single truck at 75 kilowatts.

Photo: Vesna Brajkovic

In what marks the truck manufacturer’s first leap to deploy its Class 8 battery-electric trucks outside of California, Volvo Trucks North America has delivered a Volvo VNR Electric to one of the largest beer and beverage distributors in New York City.

The move into the East Coast marks a first for Volvo. Before this, its VNR Electric trucks were only being deployed in California — thanks to the state’s push for emission reduction and Volvo’s Low Impact Green Heavy Transport Solutions (LIGHTS) project. LIGHTS is a collaboration between Volvo Trucks North America, the South Coast Air Quality Management District and 12 other organization to introduce battery-electric trucks and equipment into the North American transport industry.

On Aug. 12, HDT was on site as Manhattan Beer Distributors welcomed delivery of the first of its order of five Volvo VNR Electric trucks and view the complete charging infrastructure at Manhattan Beer’s Bronx facility. The Volvo VNR Electric trucks will serve customers throughout New York City, Long Island and the surrounding counties.

The order means tangible progress for Volvo’s goal to have 35% of truck sales electric by 2030.

“There's a lot of writing and there’s a lot of talking about plans, and what’s going to happen in 2022, or 2023, and we're talking about what's happening in July-August 2021,” VTNA President Peter Voorhoeve said during the Q&A session to industry press. “Trucks on the road contribute to a cleaner environment; trucks in the order books will do that in the future.”

“Trucks on the road contribute to a cleaner environment, trucks in the order books will do that in the future,” VTNA President Peter Voorhoeve said during a Q&A session with industry journalist following the initial press event (pictured here). - Photo: Vesna Brajkovic

“Trucks on the road contribute to a cleaner environment, trucks in the order books will do that in the future,” VTNA President Peter Voorhoeve said during a Q&A session with industry journalist following the initial press event (pictured here).

Photo: Vesna Brajkovic

Manhattan Beer Distributors began building its low-emission fleet in the 1990s, which today includes more than 160 Volvo VNR and VNL compressed-natural-gas Class 8 trucks. Now, the company says it plans to eliminate diesel within four years by switching 35 trucks a year to either electric or compressed natural gas.

Most likely, the fleet will continue on with electric, following successful deployment of its first five, Juan Corcino, senior director of fleet operations and sustainability at Manhattan Beer, told HDT and other industry journalists during an Aug. 12 question-and-answer session with officials from Volvo, Manhattan Beer Distributors, charging supplier Gilbarco Veeder-Root, and Milea Truck Sales and Leasing. Milea is the long-time dealer for Manhattan Bear, and was recently named the first dealership on the East Coast to become a Volvo EV Certified Dealer.

Left to right: NYC DOT Commissioner Henry Gutman; Juan Corcino of Manhattan Beer; Simon Bergson of Manhattan Beer; Peter Voorhoeve of VTNA; Barry Milea of Milea Truck Sales and Leasing; and Allen Goetz of Gilbarco. - Photo: Vesna Brajkovic

Left to right: NYC DOT Commissioner Henry Gutman; Juan Corcino of Manhattan Beer; Simon Bergson of Manhattan Beer; Peter Voorhoeve of VTNA; Barry Milea of Milea Truck Sales and Leasing; and Allen Goetz of Gilbarco.

Photo: Vesna Brajkovic

For the electric trucks to work it Manhattan Beer's operation, the trucks had to be able to complete the company's farthest route, with a full load, twice on a single charge. The average route for the operation is about 60 miles round trip.

Manhattan Beer Distributors’ battery-electric trucks were the first Volvo VNR Electric models to enter full serial production at Volvo Trucks’ New River Valley manufacturing plant in Dublin, Virginia, which assembles all Volvo trucks sold in North America.

Charging Infrastructure and The Grid

To support the charging of its battery-electric fleet, Manhattan Beer Distributors has installed three Tritium Level 3 DC fast chargers at its Bronx facility that can recharge its Volvo VNR Electric trucks up to 80% in just over an hour (1 hour and 10 minutes, to be exact). The chargers are equipped with Amply Power's Omega managment software platform.

The unit has the ability to charge a single truck at 75 kilowatts, or spilt power between two trucks charging 50 kilowatts on one side and 25 on the other. That configuration gives maximum flexibility for charging, Allen Goetz, market development manager of fleet e-mobility for Gilbarco Veeder-Root, explained to industry and mainstream journalists during a charging demonstration at Manhattan Beer's facility. Gilbarco Veeder-Root installed the charging infrastructure.

To support the charging of its battery-electric fleet, Manhattan Beer Distributors has installed three Level 3 DC fast chargers at its Bronx facility. - Photo: Vesna Brajkovic

To support the charging of its battery-electric fleet, Manhattan Beer Distributors has installed three Level 3 DC fast chargers at its Bronx facility.

Photo: Vesna Brajkovic

Goetz explained that in this configuration, a truck with a particularly long route and a short duty cycle for charging can charge solo at 75 kilowatts. Or, for example, a couple of vehicles with overnight charging capabilities can be plugged in and a single unit can charge both, diverting power between the two until both are fully charged.

Designing the infrastructure was not a quick process, and required consideration of specific use cases, length of the routes and site layouts.

“This is a project that requires a lot of careful coordination to make sure that the trucks are going to perform the way they need to,” Goetz said. “No part of this was left to chance in making sure that Manhattan Beer Distributors is completely satisfied with the solution the we have.”

Manhattan Beer Distributors welcomed delivery of the of the first of five Volvo VNR Electric trucks. - Photo: Volvo

Manhattan Beer Distributors welcomed delivery of the of the first of five Volvo VNR Electric trucks.

Photo: Volvo

Juan Corcino, senior director of fleet operations and sustainability at Manhattan Beer, told HDT and other industry journalists that it’s a great time to go electric, because the grid in New York is offering to bring additional power if needed at no additional cost as long as you make a presentation for the need. Corcino presented his case for power for the next 40 electric trucks and was granted the support.

Funding and Incentives

Manhattan Beer Distributors secured funding for the Volvo VNR Electrics through the New York City Department of Transportation’s NYC Clean Trucks Program. The funds were made possible through New York’s Volkswagen settlement funds, which were paid to settle a scandal over diesel engines rigged to cheat on emissions tests in 2015.

New York State’s Volkswagen settlement plan, Clean Transportation NY was developed to reduce emissions in major transportation corridors, including Hunts Point, by funding zero-emission vehicles and equipment.

Several government officials attended the event showcasing the delivery of Manhattan Beer’s first Class 8 electric truck.

“As one of the largest beverage distributors in the U.S., Manhattan Beer Distributors recognizes the broad sustainability impact that we can make by eliminating our fleet’s tailpipe emissions,” said Simon Bergson, founder, president and CEO of Manhattan Beer Distributors.

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