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Pilot and Volvo Group add to public electric charging projects

Infrastructure plan would build onto Pilot’s network with General Motors

The Mack Trucks LR Electric and its Volvo sibling VNR Electric would benefit from partnership with the Pilot Co. on a public charging infrastructure. (Photo: Mack Trucks)

Volvo Group and Pilot Co. will build on Pilot’s plan to add electric charging at selected truck stops and travel plazas scaled for heavy-duty trucks.

Few specifics accompanied Tuesday’s announcement of a letter of intent to develop public, high-performing charging infrastructure for medium- and heavy-duty electric vehicles at more than 750 Pilot and Flying J locations across North America.

Pilot said in July it would install 2,000 electric fast chargers at 500 of its U.S. truck stops over the next few years, creating a coast-to-coast network in partnership with General Motors. EVgo, which is providing the chargers, includes 350-kilowatt chargers that eventually will be suitable for heavy-duty trucks, said Cathy Zoi, EVgo CEO.

Goal ‘to support sustainable transportation’

“Joining forces with Volvo, an expert in freight technology, aligns with our goal to support sustainable transportation infrastructure and to meet our customers where they are headed, now and in the future,” said Pilot Co. CEO Shameek Konar in a news release.

Volvo Trucks North America and Mack Trucks would benefit from making public charging available in addition to selling chargers and consulting services for buyers of the Volvo VNR Electric regional-haul Class 8 truck and the Mack LR Electric, mostly used as a refuse vehicle.

“Partnerships like this one are important for Mack, our industry, and for society as a whole,” said Martin Weissburg, president of Mack Trucks and chairman of Volvo Group North America. 

Volvo Group and Pilot will identify Pilot and Flying J locations based on electric truck sales.

The majority of early VNR Electric sales are in California, where Volvo Trucks North America is working on a charging network with its dealers. The VNR Electric has a single-charge driving range of up to 275 miles with six 1,200-pound battery packs.

Seeking federal money

“Our VNR Electric customers, as well as other fleets looking to adopt battery-electric trucks, will have peace of mind that they can access a reliable and robust, publicly accessible charging network strategically located along major transportation corridors,” VTNA President Peter Voorhoeve said.

The Volvo VNR Electric would gain more public charging access in a partnership with the Pilot Co. (Photo illustration: Volvo Trucks North America)

Startup electric truck maker Nikola Corp. last week said it would leverage the ChargePoint EV public charging network to provide on-road charging for the battery electric Class 8 trucks it is selling. Creating depot-based charging is time-consuming and expensive, especially for companies with fewer resources than better-established legacy truck manufacturers.

The availability of federal money from the Inflation Reduction Act and federal infrastructure funds could help speed the build-out of charging. Volvo and Pilot said they are counting on the financial help.

Separately, Prologis Inc., a global leader in logistics real estate, on Tuesday unveiled two electric truck charging installations. The two sites will enable Maersk Performance Team, the warehousing, distribution and transportation business of the ocean shipping giant, to simultaneously charge up to 38 of its 126 VNR Electric trucks.

Pilot Co. and GM plan coast-to-coast EV fast-charging network

Volvo to create electric semi charging corridor

Maersk orders 110 electric Class 8 trucks from Volvo

Click for more FreightWaves articles by Alan Adler.

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Alan Adler

Alan Adler is an award-winning journalist who worked for The Associated Press and the Detroit Free Press. He also spent two decades in domestic and international media relations and executive communications with General Motors.