All-electric trucks are less exciting than passenger cars, but they could have a great impact on emissions from transportation. While we are still a few years away from battery-powered trucks for long-distance transport, truck for short routes and urban transport are already here.

BYD just announced that it started delivering the first vehicles in a fleet of 27 electric yard and service trucks in San Bernardino and Los Angeles Counties.

The China-based company has an electric truck division based in California and they obtained a contract funded in part by the state’s cap-and-trade program to deploy electric trucks in disadvantaged communities.

They started delivering the first 4 of 27 battery-electric trucks, which includes 23 Class 8 yard trucks and four Class 5 service trucks, to operate at Daylight Transport’s facility in the City of Fontana. The rest of the fleet will go to two NSF Railway yards in San Bernardino and Los Angeles Counties.

At Daylight Transport, they are installing a 600 kW solar array and with the charging stations on-site, they will be powering their new trucks on sunlight.

Stella Li, president of BYD Motors, said about the announcement:

“With this project, California is proving to critics that clean air and job creation are not mutually exclusive. BYD is proud of its role in this project as the provider of 27 zero-emission, all-electric trucks that are coming from our manufacturing facility in the City of Lancaster, Los Angeles County. Our electric trucks are safe and reliable, and every purchase of a BYD electric truck in California helps support local job creation.”

Those Class 8 trucks are equipped with massive 209 kWh battery packs enabling up to 15 hours of operation between charges and a GCWR capacity of up to 102,000 lbs.

They generally replace diesel trucks:

The yard trucks are also known as utility tractor rigs, yard tractors, yard spotters, yard hostlers, yard mules, or yard goats, and are the most commonly-used, heavy duty vehicles for cargo handling in the freight industry.  Conventional yard trucks are powered by diesel engines that operate 24/7/365 at ports, railyards, and warehouses that are located within or adjacent to residential areas.  The service trucks are diesel-powered medium duty trucks that are used to service all of the cargo handling equipment at freight facilities, including yard trucks.  The battery-electric alternatives demonstrated in this project are 100% zero-emission and will provide meaningful emissions reductions that will benefit both public health and climate change.

At a reported price tag of $300,000, they are significantly more expensive than their diesel-powered counterparts, but they can save up to $25,000 per year in fuel and maintenance.

It’s only the first generation of those trucks and they are likely to become more competitive over time with better batteries and more options on the market.

BYD’s Class 8 truck brochure:

 

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