Ladies and gentlemen, stop your engines!

Volvo Trucks North America today took part in a demonstration of technology to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The effort aims to dramatically cut down on truck engine idling by making it easier to use electric power when parked.

There are approximately three million trucks on U.S. roads today, hauling 70% of America’s freight.  More than 80% of this country’s communities are exclusively supplied by trucks.  So if you have it, a truck most likely brought it to you. 

The professional men and women who drive these trucks every day across the nation’s roadways can be away from home for several days or even weeks at a time.  To ensure their safety and those of others on the road, these drivers are required to take daily 10-hour rest breaks.  The cab of the truck becomes their home-away-from-home.  And as in any home, power is necessary for heating or cooling, a refrigerator, a microwave, and the other necessities of life. 

To date, the majority of that power has come from idling the truck’s engine – a necessity for the driver, but not so good for the environment.  A typical diesel truck can burn as much as 10 gallons of fuel during one of these daily rest breaks – meaning as much as 220 pounds of the greenhouse gas CO2 emitted into the atmosphere.
In the world of trucking, plugging into an electrical outlet at a truck stop is called shore power.  Volvo Trucks began offering trucks capable of tapping shore power in 1996 and has been a leader in the technology ever since.  Currently, about 40% of Volvo trucks with sleeper cabs are equipped for shore power.  But due to a variety of factors, such as high cost of wiring truck parking lots, the availability of shore power has not grown as rapidly as the company hoped.  Currently, only 139 truckstops out of about 2,700 in the U.S. and Canada have shore power capability, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

“When it comes to environmental care, we at Volvo Trucks acknowledge that we’re part of the problem,” said Frank Bio, product manager – trucks.  “But we’re also committed to being part of the solution.  We pioneered the availability of shore power technology in heavy-duty trucks because we know how important it is to reduce truck idling.  And we’re excited to be part of today’s event, recognizing a project aimed at doing just that.”

The demonstration, at the Big Boys Truck Stop in Kenly, NC, was provided funding from the Clean Fuel Advanced Technology Project, an initiative of the North Carolina Solar Center of North Carolina State University supported by the North Carolina Department of Transportation.  Other participating companies were Shorepower Technologies, Rome, NY, which makes and installs truck stop electrification systems,  Progress Energy, Raleigh, NC, an electric utility company serving the Southeast U.S. and Advanced Energy, a Raleigh-based non-profit organization.

The Big Boys truck stop recently installed six Shorepower pedestals, each with electrical connections for four trucks.  A truck driver simply pulls in and attaches an all-weather electrical cord between the pedestal and his truck.  Electricity is then available for use inside the cab.

Beyond environmental considerations, shore power has gained a higher profile in the trucking industry as the price of diesel neared $5 a gallon in 2008.  Every gallon of diesel saved through shore power cuts operating costs for trucking companies and reduces America’s dependence on imported oil.

Volvo Trucks North America’s operations and products are guided by the company’s three core values:  Safety, Quality and Environmental Care.  The Volvo VN and VHD trucks are assembled in the United States at the New River Valley Plant in Dublin, Virginia, while Volvo engines for North America are assembled in Hagerstown, Maryland.  Both plants are certified to ISO14001 environmental and ISO9001 quality standards.

Volvo Trucks North America is part of the Volvo Group, one of the world's leading manufacturers of trucks, buses and construction equipment, drive systems for marine and industrial applications, aerospace components and services, and one of the world's leading producers of heavy-diesel engines (9-16 liter).  The Group also provides complete solutions for financing and service.  The Volvo Group, which employs about 100,000 people, has production facilities in 19 countries and sells their products in more than 180 markets.  Volvo Group sales for 2008 amounted to over $46 billion.  The Volvo Group is a publicly-held company headquartered in Gothenburg, Sweden.  Volvo Shares are listed on Nasdaq OMX Nordic Exchange and are traded OTC in the U.S.

October 20, 2009

For further information, please contact Jim McNamara, Volvo Trucks North America, phone 336-393-2143, email