An all-electric Class 8 yard truck, the first of 27 electric trucks in a special emissions reduction plan, starts work this week at a freight yard in the smog-impacted community of Fontana.
The trucks, all to be built by the U.S. arm of Chinese electric vehicle giant BYD Motors, are being paid for jointly by the state’s Air Resources Board, which kicked in $9.1 million, and from $10.1 million in cash and in-kind funds from program participants.
They will be deployed in Southern California under a demonstration program aimed at hastening commercialization of zero-emission heavy trucks in the state.
The award was announced last year and BYD, which has built a large electric bus and truck manufacturing facility in the high-desert community of Lancaster, northeast of Los Angeles, expects to begin delivering a steady stream of the trucks through this summer.
The trucks will be put into service by freight hauler Daylight Transport at its Fontana transfer facility, and by BNSF Railway at rail yards in San Bernardino and the City of Commerce near downtown Los Angeles.
Beyond showcasing the capabilities of electric trucks, the aim of the two-year demonstration project is to collect data on performance and operating costs and to help reduce air pollution in disadvantaged communities – which state health officials have said are disproportionately impacted by diesel truck emissions.
“Electric trucks mean cleaner air for all Californians, especially those who live in neighborhoods close to freight transfer facilities and rail yards,” said Mary Nichols, chairman of the state air board. “It’s exciting to see the first of these ultra-clean trucks” put to work, she said.
BYD, which began in the U.S. as an electric bus maker but is expanding its Lancaster facility and has plans to increase its electric truck business, will deliver 23 battery-electric Class 8 yard trucks and four electric Class 5 service trucks under its contract. Daylight Transport will utilize three yard trucks and one service truck while the railroad company gets the rest of the vehicles.
Daylight said it will cover the costs of charging its trucks with savings from a 600-kiloWatt solar panel array that covers most of the roof of its 60,000-square-foot Fontana warehouse.
CalStart, a Pasadena-based clean transportation programs consortium, will evaluate the program for commercialization potential.