Volvo VNR Electric Makes its East Coast Debut

August 17, 2021

After making their rounds in California, Volvo Trucks North America’s VNR Electric trucks have landed on the East Coast, finding a home within New York City-based Manhattan Beer Distributors’ fleet of close to 400 trucks. Serving customers throughout New York City, Long Island, and the surrounding counties, Manhattan Beer Distributors commemorated the delivery with a press event co-hosted by the New York City Department of Transportation at its distribution warehouse in the Bronx.

“Economic sustainability and environmental sustainability go hand in hand,” said Peter Voorhoeve, president of Volvo Trucks North America, pointing to the fact that in applications such as distribution and delivery fleets, electrification can benefit all the involved parties. “We will come to a time when the total cost of ownership of diesel and electric trucks will be the same, but until then we need help.”

This help came in the form of funding from New York State’s Volkswagen settlement funds, through the New York City Department of Transportation’s (NYC DOT) NYC Clean Trucks Program. The state’s Volkswagen settlement plan, Clean Transportation NY, was developed to reduce emissions in major transportation corridors, including the Hunts Point area of the Bronx, where Manhattan Beer Distributors is headquartered.

“I don’t think anyone, anywhere on the planet can doubt that climate change is real — it’s a crisis and it’s now,” said NYC DOT Commissioner Hank Gutman. “We are determined to turbocharge the move to electric vehicles and to do everything the city can to facilitate that change.”

“I don’t think anyone, anywhere on the planet can doubt that climate change is real — it’s a crisis and it’s now.”

This is not the beverage distributor’s first step into the clean tech space. CEO and President Simon Bergson began building his low-emission fleet in the ’90s, which now includes more than 160 Volvo VNR and VNL CNG Class 8 trucks, as well as the five new Volvo VNR Electrics. Manhattan Beer Distributors has also installed three Level 3 DC fast chargers at its Bronx facility that can fully recharge its Volvo VNR Electric trucks up to 80% in a little over an hour, which fits well into its regional routing schedule.

“We value hard work, long-term forward thinking, and doing the right thing for our people, our business, and our community,” said Bergson, who founded the company in 1978 with one truck. “We are thrilled to be the first customer outside of California for this Volvo VNR Electric tractor-trailer combo.”

“We value hard work, long-term forward thinking, and doing the right thing for our people, our business, and our community.”

Manhattan Beer Distributors’ commitment to the community at large has not gone unnoticed. In an area where asthma is a common ailment of those born and raised in South Bronx, the addition of the VNR Electrics will reduce emissions and create a healthier environment for its residents. A number of state and local representatives were also on hand to stress the need for similar programs.

“The ‘justice’ part of ‘environmental justice’ means it’s not fair that just because you were born in the South Bronx, that you have a higher propensity to develop asthma in your lifetime,” said New York State Assembly Member Amanda Septimo. “I want to thank Manhattan Beer Distributors for making sure we all understand that you can do good work and make money, and you don’t have to cost the community you exist in.”

Manhattan Beer Distributors will receive continued support though Volvo Trucks dealership Milea Truck Sales and Leasing. Milea, which serves New York City and the tri-state area, is Volvo Trucks’ first East Coast Volvo EV Certified Dealer and can help support fleets in the region during their journey to electrification. The dealership installed heavy-duty-capable charging infrastructure onsite, and its service team has been fully trained and equipped to safely perform battery-electric truck maintenance and repairs.