DeFazio highlights need for clean energy during test-drive of Volvo electric truck

COBURG, Ore. — In early May, Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), the Chair of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, visited Volvo Trucks North America’s TEC Equipment dealership location in Coburg, Oregon, to test-drive an electric Volvo Class 8 truck and highlight his clean energy priorities.

For years, climate change deniers have argued that big businesses would never choose to invest in clean technologies because it wouldn’t make business sense — but now, big corporations are showing that there is a business case for climate solutions,” DeFazio said. “As I work with President Biden to move the American Jobs Plan through Congress, I look forward to making investments that move our country toward cleaner, greener technologies and a zero-pollution transportation sector. It’s a plan that addresses the existential threat of climate change and creates thousands of good-paying jobs and strengthens an economy reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

During May visit, DeFazio was joined by Dave Thompson, founder and CEO of TEC Equipment; Alan Zelenka, assistant director for planning and innovation for the Oregon Department of Energy; Jeff Allen, executive director of Forth Mobility, a nonprofit organization advancing electric, shared and smart transportation; and Jonathan Miller, senior vice president of public affairs for Volvo Group North America.

“At Volvo Group North America, we are committed to electrification and many other efforts to support the decarbonization of transportation and sustainability of our environment, including the launch of the Volvo VNR Electric Class 8 truck model, as demonstrated in Coburg, Oregon today,” Miller said. “Last year, the Volvo Group announced plans in line with the Paris Agreement to be fossil-fuel free by 2040. While these are ambitious goals, we are currently taking orders and delivering on our plans to commercially launch battery-electric trucks, buses and construction equipment in the United States and Canada.”

The Volvo VNR Electric truck is designed for driving cycles with both local and regional distribution ranges, including food and beverage and pick-up and delivery routes. According to the manufacturer, the truck’s batteries can charge up to 80% within 70 minutes and have an operating range of up to 150 miles, based on the truck’s configuration.

As chair of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, DeFazio is expected to be a principal author and negotiator of President Biden’s American Jobs Plan, a wide-sweeping plan aimed at fixing and modernizing the nation’s outdated infrastructure system, according to a prepared statement from DeFazio’s office. DeFazio said he plans to introduce legislative text in the coming weeks that lays out transformative investments in roads, bridges, transit and rail, including funding to help build charging capacity to accommodate the shift to electric vehicles, including passenger vehicles, freight trucks and buses.

The statement cites the Business Roundtable, noting that inadequate infrastructure costs U.S. businesses $27 billion per year in extra transportation costs. According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, between 2016 and 2025, the economy will lose almost $4 trillion in economic activity if there are not upgrades to the nation’s infrastructure, which could cost 2.5 million jobs.