California continues its push to clean up trucking emissions with the award Friday of a $9.1 million zero-emissions truck grant in one of the state’s most polluted air basins.
The funds, awarded to San Bernardino County’s regional government association, will finance a demonstration project that will place 27 battery-electric trucks in service in three communities heavily impacted by truck emissions.
“This project will help put the very cleanest trucks to work where they are heavily utilized, moving cargo within freight yards,” said Mary D. Nichols, chair of the California Air Resources Board. “Cleaner trucks mean cleaner air for all Californians, but especially for those who live in neighborhoods next to these freight transfer facilities.”
The trucks will be designed and manufactured in neighboring Los Angeles County by the U.S. arm of China’s giant electric vehicle and battery manufacturer, BYD Motors.
BYD, which stands for “Build Your Dreams,” opened a factory in the high desert community of Lancaster in 2014 and has been winning contracts throughout the region for its electric buses.
“BYD’s Class 8 heavy-duty yard truck and class 5 medium-duty service truck technology will prove that vehicle electrification is a solution that can be applied today to a variety of needs — not just passenger vehicles,” said Stella Li, president of BYD Motors.
Electric trucks are a new line introduced by BYD at the recent Advanced Clean Transportation Expo.
The vehicles for the San Bernardino program will operate at BNSF Railway freight yards in the Southern California cities of San Bernardino and Commerce and at a truck freight transfer facility operated by Daylight Transport in the city of Fontana.
“At BNSF, we believe it is good business and good citizenship to minimize our impact on the environment and to contribute to the long-term sustainability of our business,” said Mark Kirschinger, BNSF general manager operations California Division.
The electric trucks will replace diesel service trucks and yard tractors. BYD will retain ownership of the trucks, which will be specially developed for the project.
“This is valuable effort to deploy and validate battery electric versions of both off-road terminal tractors and on-road medium-duty trucks,” said Bill Van Amburg, head of truck programs for the nonprofit clean transportation programs consortium Calstart.
“The fact that it is being deployed with the fleets servicing a Class 1 railroad makes it a potentially very high impact case study” for use of zero emission vehicles in the freight movement system, he said.
BYD recently won a big chunk of a separate $23.6 million grant to build heavy-duty Class 8 electric drayage trucks for a demonstration project in several California ports.
The San Bernardino grant was awarded by the California Air Resources Board through its California Climate Investments Program. Funds come from proceeds of the state’s cap-and-trade system for auctioning greenhouse gas emissions credits.
The electric truck deployment program is part of a statewide effort to reduce greenhouse gas and toxic tailpipe emissions from the freight movement system. Freight transport accounts for about half of all toxic diesel particulate matter and 6 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions in the state, according to the air board.