This year’s ACT Expo (for “Advanced Clean Transportation” Expo) brought together all the usual suspects in the big trucking space in a show that– for the first time since COVID kicked off in 2020– really had the buzz and excitement of a good, pre-pandemic tech show. There was a lot to cover, of course, with new and improved products from just about ever major player. We’ll highlight a few of our favorites in the coming days, but while I rest my tired little feet and try to collect my thoughts, I thought I’d share some of the initial stand-outs from my first day at the show.
Disclaimer: PR firm Skyaa covered the cost of getting us out to California for the 2022 ACT Expo at the Long Beach Convention Center, which is still going as I type this.
Nikola is Real
Nikola went from “the next-big-thing” to industry joke so quickly it was almost funny– but now, nearly two years on from scandals involving everything from a Fyre-festival like “Nikola Day” party to willfully defrauding investors with a fake truck rolling down a hill and allegations that the CEO of the company sexually assaulted his cousin, nobody’s laughing. That’s because the Iveco-based battery-electric truck is not only in series production, but fully 14 have made it to customers as of this week.
That’s right, kids: the Nikola is in production and on the road, while the Tesla Semi– first shown waaay back in 2017– remains in … I mean, can you still call it “production Hell” if it’s not in production?
The Nikola, meanwhile, was power-sliding its demos all over the ACT Expo demo course that included sections of the famous IndyCar race that was, incidentally, just held there a few weeks ago. Even more impressive than the truck’s speed and power? You could hear birds chirping over the sounds of the truck. THAT is impressive!
Volvo Brought the Big Toys
Of course I’m going to write about Volvo– I’m “Volvo Jo,” after all!– but it’s worth noting that Volvo brought several big electric toys to the 2022 ACT Expo, from an electric drayage truck and trackhoe to the big, over-the-road sleeper highlighted, above. And, unlike some of the other big companies at the show (we’re looking at you, Toyota/Hino), Volvo’s trucks aren’t concepts. They’ve been in production for years, with millions of miles logged.
If you’re a fleet operator looking for a proven electric product with an established service history, there are few better places to shop than your Volvo dealer. Maybe the (Volvo-owned) Mack store, too …
California Loves BYD Loves California
Chinese EV giants BYD have invested millions into manufacturing its commercial electric trucks, buses, and forklifts in California, and the Warren Buffett-backed company had a big presence at an ACT Expo that was packed with big presences. Most interesting was the terminal truck, which is a must-have for any port operators looking to update their fleets ahead of zero-emission mandates and which was decked out with the perfect livery for a BEV that’s saddled with a GVWR penalty: Frito-Lay!
If you don’t know how trucks and weight ratings work, you’ll just have to trust me. That’s hilarious.
Via Gets Real
If you feel like you’ve been reading about VIA Motors and its plan to electrify delivery vans for the better part of a decade, that’s because you have– but the company has been steadily moving along, and its new, proprietary skateboard chassis is finally ready for prime-time. I actually got to drive an upfitted VIA van around the Long Beach course, and it feels (finally!) really, really real.
There’s Good Fishin’ in Kwee-bec
Propulsion Quebec is one of the most influential e-mobility groups you’ve never heard of, promoting more than 200 Canadian companies at every stage of the EV process, from mining and production to telematics, design, and even– through our friends at Flo– charging!
There’s more to electrification than just cars, though, and Propulsion Canada is there, too, with ride-sharing, e-bikes, and even an electric street sweeper (shown, above, far right). We’ve set up an interview with them for CleanTech Talk, so keep an eye out for that. You won’t want to miss it!
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