Air pollution from all the trucks that come and go to the Port of Los Angeles is awful. Diesel exhaust is responsible for 70 percent of the cancer risk from air pollution and has been found to cause asthma. Recently, the port tried to limit the types of trucks using the terminal to newer less polluting models. The Supreme Court voted unanimously to strike down part of the port’s Clean Trucks Program. So what can Los Angeles do to save our air?
TransPower’s big rig heavy-duty electric Class 8 truck, with the “ElecTruck” battery-electric drive system could help the residents of Long Beach, San Pedro and all of Los Angeles, breathe easier. The San Pedro Bay Ports complex includes the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach but affects traffic and pollution for the entire Los Angeles basin. 10,000 trucks a year transport cargo from the port.
“We drove here from Poway with no problems, even going up hills,” said Frank Falcone, vehicle integration manager at TransPower. The company claims that it is a first for an electric vehicle of its type, size and weight because it ran for a distance of 88.2 miles without needing a charge.
The TransPower electric truck climbed steep grades with a top speed of 65 mph and used only 1.3 kilowatt-hours of electricity per mile which is about a quarter of the cost of using diesel fuel. To make the return trip the truck was charged from solar power generated at UCR.
Falcone noted that it is hard to compare emission form the TransPower electric truck to diesel trucks because the TransPower truck generates zero emissions and when charged from solar power it is also sustainable.
Major air pollutants from diesel engines at ports that can affect human health include particulate matter (PM), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), nitrogen oxides (NOx), and sulfur oxides (SOx). The ElecTruck emits none of these. It is quieter because you don’t hear the engine noise.
The electric drive system of the TransPower truck is designed to meet the demands of trucks hauling from ports which are called drayage trucks. The trucks take the containers after they are offloaded in in ports from boats from all over the world and bring them to long-haul locations where they are transported all over the U.S.
TransPower is also working on school buses and other kinds of large vehicles such as tractors and buses says Falcones. The tractors take the containers off the boats and deliver them to the trucks.
The TransPower truck has a drive system with a dual-motor propulsion unit designed to provide up to 300 kilowatts (400 horsepower) of peak power, a five-speed automated manual transmission, power conversion and accessory assembly that replaces the truck engine, and a modular 270 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion batteries.
The TransPower truck can charge itself while braking with an onboard fast charger. Another TransPower truck pulled trailers with weights of up to 37.5 tons.
An International ProStar Class 8 truck manufactured by Navistar which was converted to electric by TransPower. It is being tested for drayage service near the L.A./Long Beach ports.
Funding for TransPower’s electric drayage truck development has been provided by the California Energy Commission, U.S. Department of Energy, South Coast Air Quality Management District, and the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.