Penske takes delivery of two Volvo VNR Electrics

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Trucking news and briefs for Thursday, June 3, 2021:

Penske takes delivery of Volvo VNR Electric trucks
Penske Truck Leasing recently took delivery of two VNR Electrics from Volvo Trucks North America, expanding its fleet of battery-electric Class 8 trucks available in Southern California.

Its first Volvo VNR Electrics will be used by two consumer retail companies, enabling both to gain firsthand insight into the benefits of battery-electric trucks, the ease of recharging, and the ideal routes to deploy additional units in the future.

“With Penske Truck Leasing operating over 330,000 vehicles globally, Volvo Trucks sees this as an incredible opportunity to collaborate with their team to deploy zero tailpipe emission VNR Electrics and help other businesses achieve their sustainable transportation goals,” said Peter Voorhoeve, president, Volvo Trucks North America. “Our companies share a common mission of providing top-tier, comprehensive service to help fleets maximize uptime and reliability. We look forward to seeing positive results with these first two battery-electric units and working alongside Penske to expand its VNR Electric fleet in the future.” 

Knight-Swift acquires brokerage
Knight-Swift Transportation Holdings (CCJ Top 250, No. 4) announced this week it has acquired Kansas City-based brokerage UTXL, which specializes in over-the-road full truckload and multi-stop loads in any length of haul throughout the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

The purchase price consideration was approximately $22.5 million. The purchase price consideration is subject to a customary working capital adjustment and additional potential deferred payments over the next two years.

UTXL generated over $100 million in operating revenue last year, contributing to an operating ratio in the low-90s.

"The UTXL team’s excellence in providing customer-specific solutions will be an invaluable complement to our Knight-Swift transportation service offerings,” said Knight-Swift CEO Dave Jackson. “UTXL provides outstanding and unique customer service with some of the truckload industry’s most demanding service requirements. Knight-Swift will support the UTXL brand and independent operations, consistent with previous acquisitions, while leveraging technology and economies of scale to create synergies."

Aurora, Embark join Self-Driving Coalition’s Board of Directors
Self-driving truck makers Embark and Aurora have joined the Self-Driving Coalition’s Board of Directors after becoming members of the of the group in 2020.

The Coalition works with lawmakers, regulators and the public to realize the safety and societal benefits of autonomous vehicles.

The current Board of Directors for the group includes Ford, Volvo and Waymo, and the broader Coalition brings together a wide variety of top AV companies including Argo AI, Cruise, Kodiak, Lyft, Motional, Nuro, Uber, TuSimple and Zoox.

The Coalition says the addition of Aurora and Embark to the Board “stands to strengthen the Coalition’s position as the leading organization representing all facets of the AV industry, including automotive, technology, delivery and long-haul trucking.”

“As two of the top companies advancing the broad spectrum of use cases for autonomous driving technology, the addition of Embark and Aurora to the Board signifies the Coalition’s continued commitment to fully realize the wide range of safety, mobility, and economic benefits AVs have to offer,” said Board Chair David Quinalty. 

Waste Management wants to add pulsating brake lights to trucks
Waste Management is petitioning the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration for a waiver to allow the company to replace the rear high-mounted brake lights on its trucks with red or amber brake-activated pulsating lamps.

The company says the pulsating brake lights would be positioned in the upper center position, or in an upper dual outboard position, and would be used in conjunction with the steady burning brake lamps required by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs).

FMCSA is requesting public comment on the request, which can be made at www.regulations.gov by searching Docket No. FMCSA-2021-0059.

A similar waiver was granted last year to the National Tank Truck Carriers group, which allows tanker fleets to install pulsating brake lights on the back of tanker trailers.