Even more attendees were on hand for the second day of this year’s ACT Expo, starting with an announcement of the Joint Electric Truck Scaling Initiative, or JETSI, a landmark initiative to deploy 100 battery-electric regional haul and drayage trucks across California. The trucks, manufactured by Daimler Trucks North America and Volvo Trucks North America, will be deployed by logistics companies NFI Industries and Schneider on freight corridors serving the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, as well as distribution centers across Southern California.
Attendees then sat in on a fireside chat with Volvo Trucks North America’s President Peter Voorhoeve. GNA CEO Erik Neandross queried Voorhoeve on the Volvo Trucks’ involvement with the JESTSI project, the VNR Electric, the OEM’s partnership with Daimler on fuel cell truck development, and how the global consensus on climate change is evolving.
“We have a general awareness now in the world that something needs to happen,” said Voorhoeve. “There’s a lot happening, people are engaged, and we need to do something in a relatively high pace,” adding that many large companies are calling for the sustainable transport of their products, as well as during the manufacturing process.
After an insightful chat with Voorhoeve, attendees were engaged with a panel discussion on electrifying last-mile delivery fleets. Paul Rosa, senior vice president of procurement and fleet planning at Penske Truck Leasing led the panel, which also included Travis Katz, president and CEO of BrightDrop; John Pfeifer, president and CEO of Oshkosh Corporation; Boris Kort-Packard, chief engineer of global vehicles at FedEx; and Cathy Zoi, CEO of EVgo. The shorter trips of last-mile fleets offer a greater opportunity for advanced technology and clean fuel innovation and deployment. Whether its electrified delivery vans, autonomous robots, or drones, this sector is at forefront of this exciting evolution.
Jason Skoog, general manager of Peterbilt and vice president of PACCAR, took center stage next, delivering a keynote address highlighting the ongoing developments of diesel efficiencies which has evolved into the recently launched Model 579 Next Generation. While the OEM still has one foot rooted in diesel trucks, the other has been stepping forward into electric truck territory. With a current backlog of more than 400 orders for its Model 579EV, Model 520EV, and Model 220EV electric trucks, Skoog confirmed that 60 of these trucks will be sent out before the end of 2021.
The day came to a climax as the bustling crowd gathering within the Long Beach Convention Center was finally allowed to enter the Expo Hall, unveiling a show floor filled with more than 200 booths covering every level of the clean transportation tech industry. Throughout the day, companies held press conferences announcing exciting new products and solutions, including: