May 3, 2022 Minutes- Dr. Aravind Kailas, Advanced Technology Policy Director, Volvo Group North America-In-person and via ZOOM

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Hybrid Meeting In-Person and via ZOOM


Present:  Megan Barajas, Deborah Barmack, Peter Barmack, Carole Beswick, Mike Burrows, Chris Carrillo, Mark Cloud, Josh Cox, Michelle Decker, Louis Goodwin, Otis Greer, Fran Inman, Mark Kaenel, Lowell King, Pam Langford, Mike Layne, Darcy McNaboe, Jacquelyn Mercado, John Mirau, Dan Murphy, Vikki Ostermann, Catherine Pritchett, Thomas Rice, Karen Richmond, Dan Roberts, Dan Schenkel, Patty Senecal, Eric Ustation, Ray Wolfe, and Frank Zabaleta.

Guests: LaDonna DiCamillo, Michael Rivera and Todd Warden.

Announcements:  1) Staff encouraged members to participate in-person next week as our speaker is expected to be in-person.

Lowell King, Chair presiding.

Motion/Second/Passed: Minutes from April 26, 2022, with one abstention.

The Education Committee recommends support for AB-1703 California Indian Education Act: California Indian Education Task Forces.  Introduced by Assemblyman James Ramos and supported by San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, the bill would affect K-12 grade levels.  Pam Langford, Education Committee Chair, stated that the act would encourage local educational institutions and charter schools to form Californian Indian Education Task Forces to help develop curricular materials on the history, culture and government of our local tribes.  The Task Forces would be required to submit a report and their findings to the California Department of Education.  San Bernardino County Schools are currently working on a pilot regarding this legislation.  The bill has bi-partisan support and is supported by many  local tribes.  Additional support comes from the L.A. County Board of Supervisors, the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, the California Parent Teacher Association, California Charter Schools Association and more.  Comments and questions were requested.
Motion/Second/Passed:  Inland Action will send a letter of support for AB 1703.

Mark Cloud introduced Dr. Aravind Kailas, Advanced Technology Policy Director, Volvo Group North America who joined us remotely via Zoom.  He spoke on redefining goods movement and building an eco-system for the introduction of heavy-duty battery-electric vehicles. The Volvo Low Impact Heavy Transport Solutions (LIGHTS) project in southern California has provided a blueprint to successfully introduce zero emission battery-electric trucks and equipment into the market at scale.

The Volvo Group is a global manufacturer made up of numerous brands which include trucks, buses, construction equipment and marine and industrial engines in addition to their financial services.  They build in 18 countries and sell in over 190 markets.  Their global headquarters are located in Sweden and their U.S. headquarters are in Greensboro, NC.   The Volvo Group has pledged to be carbon neutral both in zero emission vehicles and in their internal operations by 2050.  Volvo’s business manufacturing consists of 65% trucks, 20% construction equipment, 6% buses and 4% engines.

Electrification of light to medium duty commercial vehicles has taken off globally, and these solutions are critical for a carbon neutral society.   Many of the Volvo Group’s electromobility solutions began here in the Inland Empire.  We already have numerous zero emission trucks, buses and construction equipment that are working in real world customer operations, and they are currently taking orders for more.  Soon we will see zero emission firetrucks in Southern California with the first coming to L.A. County later this year.

Volvo Energy, their newest business unit, will support charging and infrastructure solutions in addition to the repairing, remanufacturing, and the recycling of batteries.  They consider this unit a wrapper of all the other business units and will work in lock step with production of zero emission products.  The deployment of charging infrastructure is expensive and will take time.  Fourteen charge ports for these vehicles have been installed with six of them semi-public.

The Volvo LIGHTS program began in 2018 when they were one of four winners of a grant program provided by the California Air Resources Board (CARB).  Of the $100M in funding 50% came from CARB and the SCAQMD with the 14 other partners also investing in the plan to accelerate the adoption of clean freight technologies and reduce air pollution caused by the movement of goods throughout the State.  The Volvo LIGHTS program provided a template for modernizing freight facilities by deploying battery-electric Class 8 trucks, yard, and warehouse equipment, charging infrastructure, solar panels and more.  There are more than 25 Class 8 battery-electric trucks in diverse revenue generating customer operations today.  There are numerous battery pack configurations available, and all contain multiple voltage systems with special safety manuals for repair personnel and emergency responders.  In the last two years they have increased the battery pack kilowatt hour capacity by 40% with little weigh change.   There is always a tradeoff between payload weight capacity and range.

Volvo LIGHTS lives predominantly in the Inland Empire with four charging facilities, located in Ontario, Fontana, Chino, and La Mirada.  The largest is the facility in Fontana which is the 2nd largest Mack Truck dealership in the world.  (Mack Truck is part of the Volvo organization.)  A modern freight facility should have varied types of chargers for different types of vehicles/equipment and also have solar panels and energy storage.

Their initial academic partners (Rio Hondo College and San Bernardino Valley College) have been working to train the next generation workforce.  Specializing in the key differences between a diesel truck and an electric truck and translating real world applications into classroom teaching.  Numerous graduates from the two facilities have had good success by being hired by TEC Equipment in Fontana and others.  California University, Riverside, has also been a partner especially in fleet dispatch algorithms and testing of the Class A truck batteries.

The two main ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles are also partners. Although they are developing their own Electric Vehicle (EV) blueprint plans, they were helpful with information flow regarding charger specifications, the number of chargers needed, and identification of fleets at their ports that could take advantage of public charging sites.  A key aspect of the program was working with all partners to assess their needs and to determine which applications in each sector make sense.

Successful plans to continue the paradigm shift will depend on project partners, government commitment to sustained funding, incentives and multi stakeholder coordination.

A Q & A period followed.
Meeting adjourned at 8:33 a.m.