Context & commentary:
Among hardcore EV enthusiasts, BYD is well known as the world’s leading manufacturer of electric buses, and also as the leading manufacturer of electric cars in China. Even back in 2013, the head of Barcelona’s transit agency told me that BYD’s electric buses (which it had been testing for a few months) were cost-competitive with conventional diesel buses on a lifetime basis. The situation has only gotten better since then, and the last spreadsheet I saw on the matter made electric the obvious choice simply from a financial point of view.
There have been several trials programs with BYD electric buses in Europe, North America, and South America in the past few years (China is gobbling them up like they are french fries), and as far as I know, they’ve all gone well. So, many readers (and I) have been wondering when we’ll start seeing big orders of the buses, but due to the slow nature of turning over bus fleets, we mostly see orders of a handful of buses at a time.
In the meantime, BYD is getting into the truck market with its electric drivetrain, including a deal with UPS that we broke last month. And the good news is that it looks like there’s an appetite for this type of cost-cutting, pollution-cutting vehicle that is sizable right off the bat.
Of course, many of the same benefits talked about in the following video concern electric trucks as well.
- 27 fully electric trucks
- to be used in disadvantaged communities in Southern California
- supporting funding comes from the state as part of its climate initiatives
- the trucks are manufactured in California
The press release from CARB:
State to award $9 million for zero-emission trucks at two rail yards, one freight transfer yard in Southern California
Fully electric trucks to help clean air in low-income, disadvantaged communities in San Bernardino, Commerce and Fontana
SAN BERNADINO — The State of California is awarding $9 million to the San Bernardino Associated Governments (SANBAG) for 27 zero-emission trucks to replace diesel-powered heavy-duty tractors used in rail yards and large-scale freight distribution centers. The funds come from the California Climate Investments (CCI) program and are designed to reduce greenhouse gases (GHG), while also reducing petroleum usage and improving air quality in residential communities.
The project, which kicked off this week, will place these electric-powered trucks in disadvantaged communities within the cities of San Bernardino, Commerce, and Fontana. The goal is to develop zero-emission vehicles that could replace existing diesel trucks, accelerating the commercialization of these and other examples of heavy-duty advanced, zero-emission technologies in California.
“This project will help put the very cleanest trucks to work where they are heavily utilized, moving cargo within freight yards,” California Air Resources Board (CARB) Chair Mary D. Nichols said. “Cleaner trucks mean cleaner air for all Californians, but especially for those who live in neighborhoods next to these freight transfer facilities.”
Over the two-year duration of the demonstration project, the full complement of the zero-emission trucks will result in overall reductions of 3,500 tons of carbon dioxide, 3,250 pounds of nitrogen oxide, and 170 pounds of diesel soot (PM10).
“In a county like ours, it is imperative that we continue to seek the resources needed to fund innovative and effective solutions to the air quality challenges we face,” SANBAG President Ryan McEachron said. “This grant represents just one part of a continued effort by SANBAG to enhance the quality of life for our residents.”
“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. We welcome the opportunity to participate in this demonstration project to test the viability and effectiveness of using zero-emission trucks inside two of our Southern California facilities,” said Mark Kirschinger, BNSF general manager operations California Division.
The two types of trucks funded by this grant are the most common at every major freight location in the U.S., providing a model for truck electrification that could be scaled to any facility. The project will demonstrate 23 battery-electric 80,000-pound (GVWR) Class 8 yard trucks, also known as “yard goats,” which are used to move heavy freight containers short distances within freight yards, warehouses, distribution centers and port terminals. The project also demonstrates four 16,100-pound (GVWR) Class 5 medium-duty service trucks. BNSF Railway will operate the trucks at two of its intermodal rail yards in the cities of San Bernardino and Commerce; Daylight Transport will also operate the trucks at its new truck freight transfer facility in Fontana.
The grant is part of a larger statewide investment in low-carbon transportation projects that are pivotal to meeting California’s ambitious goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve air quality and reduce petroleum dependency by accelerating the development and deployment of advanced vehicle technologies. The project also supports the Governor’s Executive Order (B-32-15) to “upgrade freight vehicles and infrastructure” utilizing “technologies, energy sources, and fuels that enable greater transportation efficiency while reducing community and environmental impacts.” The draft California Sustainable Freight Action Plan, required under the Executive Order, was made public last month.
The fully electric trucks will be designed and manufactured by BYD in Lancaster, California.
“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. “BYD is proud to collaborate on this project and showcase our best-in-market electric battery technology. By deploying these trucks in 24/7 operations, this project will prove that truck electrification can be adopted at any major freight location and scaled for any facility and business need in the U.S.”
CARB and SANBAG are committed to working with industry to improve air quality in the Inland Empire by supporting public-private partnerships and technology innovation.
Image: BYD factory in Lancaster, California, by Kyle Field