Fleets servicing Volvo's truck plant going electric to support truckmaker in its climate pledge

Cannon Mug Headshot

Volvo Trucks North America takes its carbon footprint very seriously, which is why they have committed to shrinking it.

The company's New River Valley (NRV) manufacturing plant already is a carbon neutral facility, is fully powered by local renewable electricity and is landfill free. But VTNA President Peter Voorhoeve said it's not enough that the facility itself be green. It's important that those who service the manufacturing site join the truckmaker on its quest to clean up the environment. 

Watsontown Trucking Company and Camrett Logistics, two VTNA customers and carrier partners, placed orders for their first Volvo VNR Electric trucks – the first deployments of Volvo's battery-electric model in Virginia. By the end of this year the Virginia-based fleets will deploy the zero tailpipe emission trucks to transport inbound parts and components daily to NRV in Dublin, Virginia.

It's increasingly common for shipper customers to lean on carriers to go green, seeing trucking company's tailpipe emissions as part of their own. However, Voorhoeve noted neither carrier were forced to adopt electric, rather they opted into a partnership VTNA announced in August that would cut emissions of trucks coming into the plant. 

"That's the ultimate level of partnership," Voorhoeve said, adding the initiative with Watsontown Trucking Company and Camrett Logistics was an opportunity to continue its partnership with fleets already servicing local NRV logistics routes, "and to utilize Volvo VNR Electrics to reduce the carbon footprint of our own supply chain."

The trucks will complete up to 12 roundtrips per day from their local warehouse facilities to NRV. The Volvo VNR Electric’s 264-kWh lithium-ion batteries have an operating range of up to 150 miles. Regenerative braking can increase range by returning up to 15% of the power back to the battery, depending on the duty cycle. Voorhoeve said Volvo is helping support the trucks with charging facilities at the plant, but the carriers will rely mostly on charging terminals at their respective depots along with mobile options. 

Deploying the electric models is expected to reduce carbon emissions by approximately 140 metric tons annually (46.53 metric tons per truck each year) and reduce diesel use by around 18,000 gallons per year.

Watsontown Trucking Company, a SmartWay-certified carrier, operates a fleet of 425 trucks in a mix of over-the-road, and regional haul and last-mile delivery.

Camrett Logistics operates a fleet of 18 Volvo trucks, and the Volvo VNR Electric will be the company’s first battery-electric truck. Collin Peel, founder and CEO of Camrett Logistics, said the company hopes to be fully carbon neutral by 2030 and is making investments in solar panels to power all its facilities with a goal of electrifying all the Class 8 trucks in their operations.

The Volvo VNR Electric will be serviced at the local Volvo Trucks dealership, Nacarato Truck Centers, in Roanoke, Virginia, which is working toward becoming a Volvo EV Certified Dealership. Camrett Logistics is also working to train technicians at its own shop to service electric trucks.

Jason Cannon has written about trucking and transportation for more than a decade and serves as Chief Editor of Commercial Carrier Journal. A Class A CDL holder, Jason is a graduate of the Porsche Sport Driving School, an honorary Duckmaster at The Peabody in Memphis, Tennessee, and a purple belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu. Reach him at [email protected].