California’s zero-emission truck vision is achievable

Clean truck The final feasibility report found major Class 8 truck OEMs plan to begin offering ZE battery electric Class 8 trucks by 2021. Credit Port of Los Angeles/ Port of Long Beach

The ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles have released a final report on the feasibility of deploying clean truck technology to begin meeting the zero-emission goals set by the Clean Air Action Plan (CAAP), which found that all the existing and start-up Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) appear to be developing Class 8 tractors with zero-emission designs and will achieve timely commercialisation.

San Pedro Bay Ports Clean Air Action Plan 2018 Feasibility Assessment for Drayage Trucks used the parameters of commercial availability, technical viability, operational feasibility, availability of infrastructure and fuel and economic workability to examine which, if any, emerging zero-emission (ZE) and/or near-zero-emission (NZE) fuel-technology platforms for Class 8 trucks are demonstrably capable of, and ready for, broad deployment in revenue drayage service at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, in 2018 or within approximately three years.

"We've set aggressive goals with our partners in the trucking industry to reduce emissions from heavy duty drayage trucks, with the ultimate target of reaching zero emissions by 2035 for trucks serving the Ports,” said Chris Cannon, chief sustainability officer for the Port of Los Angeles. “These feasibility studies are an important tool for us to track progress in the market place for development of near-zero and zero emission technologies.”

He confirmed that this is the first of ongoing three-year feasibility assessments

Two promising technologies

Of five core fuel-technology platforms, battery electric and natural gas met the tests for commercial availability and technical viability and so only these platforms were assessed for the remaining three parameters.

All major truck OEMs and many new market entrants are developing ZE truck platforms and several major Class 8 truck OEMs plan to begin offering ZE battery electric Class 8 trucks by 2021.

Similarly, strong progress is being made to build, test and eventually mass-manufacture Class 8 trucks powered by ZE hydrogen fuel cell systems. Equally important, HDV end user fleets are gaining important experience building out hydrogen fuelling stations, which has the potential for technology transfer into Class 8 trucking applications.

The report stated: “Over the next three years, if at least some of these OEMs are able to able to achieve their stated goals on performance and cost metrics – and very critical infrastructure build-outs can move forward in proportion to vehicle rollouts – this will fundamentally improve the commercial availability and broad feasibility of ZE platforms in drayage trucking.”

The CAAP has established goals of zero-emissions terminal equipment by 2030 and zero-emissions trucks by 2035. As part of this strategy, the ports committed to developing feasibility assessments every three years for terminal equipment and drayage trucks to determine a path toward meeting those goals. A draft cargo-handling equipment feasibility assessment is expected to be released this spring.

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