Volvo Trucks North America customer Utah PaperBox, a family-owned business that delivers paper products in the Salt Lake City region, has become the first company in Utah to invest in a zero-tailpipe emission Volvo VNR Electric truck. The Class 8 battery-electric truck will help to reduce emissions in the region — which has significant air quality challenges due to its unique topography.
As reported by Salt Lake City's KUTV Channel 2 News, Utah is building EV infrastructure with the help of a $36 million grant through the NEVI program funded by the bipartisan infrastructure bill. Additionally, it was announced that the ASPIRE engineering research center at Utah State University was awarded $7 million by the U.S. Department of Energy to electrify traffic corridors for medium and heavy duty vehicles. The team at ASPIRE will soon test technology that electrifies roads and highways, allowing drivers to charge their vehicles while in motion on the road.
"It's the perfect opportunity to address the challenge of emissions from trucks because more than 50% of air pollution in Salt Lake City comes from trucks and cars on the road," said Professor Regan Zane, director of ASPIRE engineering research center, in a statement to KUTV.
The Volvo VNR Electric is the first heavy-duty Class 8 battery-electric truck in Utah PaperBox’s fleet. The six-battery configuration Volvo VNR Electric offers a range of up to 275 miles, enabling the company to service its high-traffic delivery routes between Provo, Ogden, and Salt Lake City, Utah.
“Utah PaperBox is a prime example of an established company that is changing the way they operate to be a good environmental steward for future generations,” said Jared Ruiz, regional vice president - West, Volvo Trucks North America. “In addition to supporting Utah PaperBox, our dealer partner Mountain West Truck Center will support other customers in the region in deploying battery-electric trucks as the dealership completes our rigorous accreditation process to become the first Volvo Trucks Certified Electric Vehicle (EV) dealership in the state.”
Charging infrastructure for the Volvo VNR Electric is expected to be installed by April in preparation for the truck’s arrival at Utah PaperBox’s Salt Lake City facility. The 150 kW chargers will provide the Volvo VNR Electric truck with an 80% charge in about 90 minutes and will utilize its existing solar power to avoid off-peak costs for charging from the grid. As part of its overall sustainability initiatives, the family-run paper company has made significant investments in solar energy, previously installing 1,000 solar panels that generate up to 1100 kWh per day. The solar panels also provide power to 40 kWh charging stations for employees’ personal electric vehicles at its facility.
“My daughter is the fifth generation of our family to join the business, so we understand the vital importance of protecting the air quality in the community where we have lived and worked for decades,” added Steve Keyser, president, Utah PaperBox. “We are proud to be the first company in Utah to deploy a Volvo VNR Electric, and our driver is wild with excitement at the chance to drive the battery-electric truck. I predict we will not be the only company making the transition, not just from an environmental standpoint, but for the many business advantages offered.”
Utah PaperBox purchased its 6x2 Class 8 battery-electric truck through the Utah Clean Diesel Program, an incentive offered through the Utah Department of Environmental Quality to offset costs for clean fleet transition. The funding program required the company to dispose of one of its Class 8 diesel trucks in its fleet to be replaced with the Volvo VNR Electric.
Utah PaperBox worked with Mountain West Truck Center to identify the ideal Volvo VNR Electric configuration to ensure the heavy-duty battery-electric truck would support both urban traffic in Salt Lake City and the rugged mountain terrain on its delivery routes. The dealership also provided driver training to optimize the range of the Volvo VNR Electric, including instructions on how to leverage regenerative braking benefits to add power back to the battery. The Salt Lake City-based dealership is in the final phase to become the state’s first Volvo Trucks Certified EV Dealer, a milestone that would ensure the team is trained and prepared to service the Volvo VNR Electric truck when it is delivered to the paper company later this year.