The Bronx is Breathing: Reimagining a Cleaner Hunts Point
The Hunts Point peninsula in the South Bronx is home to the nation's largest wholesale food hub, 9 waste transfer facilities, several large recycling yards, and a residential community of 13,000, all located in the southern tier of the poorest urban Congressional District in the United States. The peninsula is characterized by disparitie - a thriving living wage employment hub that benefits the entire downstate region and an archetypal environmental justice community where 40% of residents live below the poverty line and children ages 5-14 consistently have some of the highest asthma rates in the state. The solution laid out in this proposal seeks to leverage battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and public charging infrastructure to improve air quality and create economic opportunity for the South Bronx without disrupting the essential freight activities that power the local economy.
Hunts Point confronts two persistent challenges: environmental inequity and economic insecurity. Tractor trailers carry waste and wholesale food into the neighborhood each morning and resource - from fresh food to paycheck - flow out each evening. Smaller trucks traverse the community day and night, passing dense residential blocks and historic rowhouses adjoining a vast industrial zone that offers residents few opportunities for meaningful economic participation. These twin challenges impact health outcomes and economic well-being in the South Bronx and have yielded undercapitalized small businesses, a disadvantaged labor force, and households with disproportionately high healthcare needs.
To address these challenges, Volvo and the Greater Hunts Point Economic Development Corporatatin (GHPEDC) will partner with local fleets and stakeholders to unlock the environmental and economic promise of the emerging clean transportation economy. Through the deployment of a battery electric vehicle (BEV) refuse truck as well as Class 7 and 8 refrigerated BEVs and the development of a new FDC charging hub, the project team will model truly zero-emissions solutions in Hunts Point's two dominant sectors - food and waste.
By standing up an EV truckers cooperative ("ETC"), introducing a "Vehicle as a Service'' model, demonstrating the value of second life batteries, offering all-electric truck refrigeration units, and providing accessible fast charging, Volvo and GHPEDC will validate strategies for lowering barriers to EV adoption in under-resourced communities. In the near-term, this approach will expand access to commercial BEVs and seed Hunts Point's EV ecosystem. In the longer-term, it will offer policymakers and advocates a model to accelerate EV adoption in similar communities, diminish health risks, and support economic self-determination.