Food Forward Inc. Deploys Volvo VNR Electric to Fight Food Insecurity

Food Forward Inc., a nonprofit organization committed to alleviating hunger and reducing food waste, has deployed a Volvo VNR Electric truck in Southern California to pick up commercial, private, and agricultural food surplus throughout the region. Food Forward aims to address food insecurity by distributing surplus produce, while decreasing their carbon footprint through the use of zero-tailpipe emission trucks in communities experiencing food insecurity.

In the United States, almost 40% of food produced goes unsold or uneaten, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. The Volvo VNR Electric will play a crucial role in Food Forward's efforts, enabling the recovery and distribution of between 80,000 and 120,000 lbs. of surplus produce daily. By shifting to battery-electric trucks, Food Forward is accelerating its progress toward achieving its goal of offsetting more greenhouse gasses than it produces. If surplus food is otherwise sent to landfills, it decomposes and releases methane – a potent short-lived climate pollutant that impacts climate change.

“Volvo Trucks is dedicated to providing a better, more sustainable future and decarbonizing transportation is a central pillar of that journey,” said Jared Ruiz, regional vice president – West, Volvo Trucks North America. “We are tremendously proud of the work that our battery-electric trucks are doing to decarbonize the industry, but even more compelling is the great work that Food Forward’s fleet is doing to help fight hunger and prevent food waste.”

Operating from Southern California, Food Forward’s fleet will use the Volvo VNR Electric truck to pick up commercial, private, and agricultural food surplus throughout the region that is then distributed to 13 counties in California, and seven additional states and tribal lands. Despite more fresh produce coming through the Los Angeles region than any other part of the country, one in five Californians lacks adequate access to food. Food Forward presents a simple solution to this disparity by connecting surplus fresh fruits and vegetables with people experiencing food insecurity.

“Food insecurity and climate change are both global issues that are in many ways connected. Because of that, we must find sustainable solutions to address both issues,” said Kristen Johnson, chief operating officer, Food Forward. “We have robust sustainability targets in our mission and transitioning to zero emission vehicles is the next logical step to reduce our carbon footprint.”

The Volvo VNR Electric was designed as a zero-tailpipe emission solution for fleet operators supporting local and regional distribution, pickup and delivery, and food and beverage distribution. The six-battery pack configuration model has a 565 kWh capacity, enabling up to 275 miles of range on a single charge. Charging to 80% can be achieved in about 90 minutes, depending on a variety of factors, including distance traveled, route optimization, and driver training.

In addition to helping fleets reduce emissions, Volvo VNR Electric trucks help fleets enhance driver comfort, especially during the hot summer months. Drivers can utilize the truck’s electric HVAC system to run air conditioning while waiting to be loaded or unloaded, while still adhering to the no-idle regulations within local communities and the San Pedro Bay ports.

To support Food Forward's electromobility journey, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) assisted in providing a grant through its Community Emission Reduction Grant Program (CERGP) to offset the costs of adopting electric trucks and infrastructure. TEC Equipment – La Mirada, a Volvo Trucks Certified Electric Vehicle Dealership, will service and maintain Food Forward’s Volvo VNR Electric truck. The dealership also provided training for Food Forward’s drivers to help them understand how to optimize the range of the Volvo VNR Electric, including how to leverage regenerative braking benefits to add power back to the battery.

This collaboration between Volvo Trucks North America, Food Forward, and LADWP sets a precedent for how organizations can work together to address global challenges of food insecurity and environmental sustainability.

CAPTION: Volvo Trucks North America customer Food Forward Inc., a leading hunger relief nonprofit organization dedicated to fighting hunger and food waste, deployed a Volvo VNR Electric truck in its mission to rescue fresh surplus produce in Southern California.

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