The award is part of the New York Clean Transportation Prize program designed to advance solutions to reduce air pollution, enhance electrification and grow mobility options in underserved communities across the state. Administered by NYSERDA, the program supports New York State's nation-leading goal of an 85 percent reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050 as outlined in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.
VGNA won the award in the Clean Neighborhoods category and will be the project leader for a multi-pronged approach to introduce accessible and affordable clean transportation solutions to companies in Hunts Point in the South Bronx.
“We are incredibly proud and honored to be chosen to lead such an important project,” said Keith Brandis, VGNA vice president of system solutions and partnerships. “Working closely with our community and supplier partners, we will use this award to effect real change in Hunts Point that will have a measurable impact on businesses and residents alike.”
NYSERDA President and CEO Doreen M. Harris said, “NYSERDA is excited to support Volvo Group North America’s project that demonstrates how innovation in clean transportation can help transform Hunt’s Point by reducing the harmful emissions that impact this community so deeply. This highly replicable model will improve the way food is delivered and distributed in our communities, provide opportunities for freight electric vehicle charging and business ownership through an electric truck cooperative, and unleash cutting-edge battery technology for food transport.”
Hunts Point is home to the nation’s largest wholesale food hub, nine waste transfer facilities, several large recycling yards, a wastewater treatment facility, and a residential community of nearly 13,000, all located in the southern tier of the poorest urban Congressional District in the United States.
Electrification of local truck fleets offers the most direct approach to addressing freight transportation emissions in the area comprehensively.
VGNA’s proposal identified three challenges that local fleet operators face when considering electrification of their fleets:
1. Access to affordable charging infrastructure
2. High acquisition costs of current electric truck models
3. Scarcity of battery-electric refrigeration solutions available in a food distribution hub
To overcome these hurdles to EV truck adoption, VGNA’s winning proposal includes the following plans:
Building a Multi-User Electric Vehicle Charging Hub: The Recharge Hub, to be built and run by VGNA partner Shell Recharge Solutions, will be a new, public, freight-focused charging hub on a 3.2-acre brownfield site in the Hunts Point Food Distribution Center (FDC). The hub will establish an ecosystem for zero-tailpipe emission freight in Hunts Point and address the high cost of fast-charging deployment.
Establishment of the Electric Truckers Cooperative (ETC): With VGNA’s guidance, a new worker-owned, zero-tailpipe emission logistics company will be developed by the 6,000 member Drivers Cooperative, a driver-owned ride-hailing organization based in New York City . VGNA will provide four Class 7 Volvo VNR Electric models and one Mack LR Electric refuse model. The ETC will give members access to electric trucks that they otherwise might not be able to afford. All of the cooperative’s trucks will reside and be charged at the Recharge Hub.
Creation of a Refrigerated Battery-Electric Fleet: VGNA will provide four additional Class 7 VNR Electric trucks to City Harvest, a food rescue organization. The project will model emissions reduction in a refrigerated fleet while addressing food insecurity in the Bronx. All four trucks will feature battery-electric transport refrigeration units (eTRUs) and utilize the EV freight hub for charging.
“The Volvo Group’s goal is to drive prosperity through transport and infrastructure solutions,” Brandis said. “This project is in perfect alignment with that objective and our goal to have at least 35% fully electric vehicles sales by 2030.”
VGNA anticipates the project to kick off in early 2023, with the first truck deliveries occurring in the fourth quarter.
VGNA partnered with the following organizations to develop this award-winning project: