The South Coast Air Quality Management District is leading a coalition to deploy 100 battery-powered electric trucks across California, an initiative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and lower fuel and maintenance costs.
The agency is touting it as the largest commercial deployment of battery-powered electric trucks in North America to date. The announcement was made Tuesday at the Advanced Clean Transportation Expo in Long Beach, which runs through Wednesday, September 1.
Some trucks will hit the road by 2022.
Battery electric vehicles use chemical energy stored in rechargeable batteries, unlike traditional electric cars and trucks, which use electric motors instead of or in addition to internal combustion engines.
AQMD has partnered with the California Air Resources Board and the California Energy Commission to distribute regional transport and dump vehicles to Southern California logistics providers, NFI Industries and Schneider, which transport cargo to and from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.
Daimler Trucks North America and Volvo Trucks North America will produce and deliver the vehicles, 50 for each company.
The two logistics companies move freight from local distribution centers and warehouses along Highway 710 to area railways for delivery throughout California and the rest of the country.
“We’re very excited about this as a company,” said Rob Reich, Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer of Schneider. “This is absolutely the future of mobility. “
The call for zero emission vehicles
The move is in line with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s executive order of September 23, 2020 that will require state sales of medium and heavy trucks and buses to be zero emissions by 2045. The deployment of the trucks will also create 239 jobs in long term for drivers and service technicians.
The 710 handles more than double the average Los Angeles freeway truck traffic and accounts for 20% of all particulate matter emissions in Southern California. The Electric Truck Scaling Joint Initiative, or JETSI, is expected to eliminate 8,247 metric tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year, project officials said.
“We are proud to be a part of this historic initiative here in Southern California,” said Gideon Kracov, AQMD’s South Coast board member, in a statement. “The agency has always been a leader in innovative collaborations that help advance zero-emission transportation and protect the health of our communities.
NFI is already testing commercial electric trucks in Southern California for port dotting, according to industry publication FleetOwner. The company currently operates 39 fully electric battery-powered utility vehicles. They were acquired through government funding and OEM leasing programs for truck manufacturers.
JETSI received $ 26.98 million in funding from CARB’s California Climate Investments Initiative and CEC’s Clean Transportation Program, as well as $ 5.43 million from the South Coast AQMD and $ 41.37 million project partners.
Reich said Schneider pays $ 8.7 million for its trucks and the equipment used to load them.
“We currently use about 200 trucks in our Southern California fleet,” he said. “There will be some growth with the new vehicles that we get, but some will also replace the existing trucks that we change every year. “
Riech said the first battery-powered electric trucks are expected to arrive in about a year and full delivery will be completed in early 2023. The vehicles will reduce fuel costs, he said, although this involves a process of learning to achieve optimal savings.
“There are a lot of variables,” he said. “When you get a lot of trucks, you try to load them at the optimum time, not during peak demand periods when it costs more. It also depends on how much freight you are carrying. But we also have to match that with when the freight is due. “
CARB President Liane Randolph said projects like JETSI will help accelerate the large-scale manufacturing of zero-emission trucks.
“Getting more of these trucks on our roads and highways as soon as possible is a primary goal of the Newsom administration, and crucial to cleaning up the air in communities adjacent to our ports and along highways now crowded with diesel trucks,” she said.