US port haulage firm tests BYD electric truck

California trucking company GSC Logistics uses BYD vehicle for Oakland test

US port haulage firm tests BYD electric truck
The BYD T9 prime mover


GSC Logistics has gone ahead with testing a zero-emission electric truck for port haulage duties, California’s Port of Oakland has reported.

The move is a first there for an electric truck, which will take its place amongst 6,000 diesel propelled vehicles that work at the port during a three year test.

"The $250,000 [A$324,000] big rig represents the latest effort to minimize the environmental impact of containerized trade in Oakland," the port says.

If it proves effective, port officials expect other firms to acquire additional battery-powered trucks for hauling cargo containers.

The port has a policy to explore technology that could make diesel-powered cargo handling obsolete.

"We’ll be following this experiment closely," the port’s director of environmental programs and planning, Richard Sinkoff, says.

"If battery-powered vehicles can do the job efficiently and affordably, they can help change the way we do business."

The port says it has reduced diesel emissions 98 per cent in the past decade through clean truck programs.

It is promising to update its Maritime Air Quality Improvement Plan this northern summer with an emphasis on zero-emissions technology.

But it acknowledges that battery-powered equipment designed for container handling is not readily available.

GSC Logistics said that its demonstration truck would be used on port-depot short-hauls during a three-year trial due to the vehicle’s 100-mile (160km) battery range.

"We’re making four-to-five runs a day within the port’s perimeter and so far, the truck’s performing well," GSC Logistics CEO Scott Taylor, whose conventional fleet numbers 200, says.

"Our next step will be to get it out on the road."

GSC Logistics moves the equivalent of 120,000 20-foot cargo containers annually through Oakland.

Last year, GSC said it had linked with Chinese-owned electric vehicle maker BYD, one of six being loaned to companies in California, where government emission controls are the most stringent in the US.

"Depending on the efficiency, reliability, productivity and economics of battery-powered trucks, GSC would certainly entertain the possibility of integrating them into our fleet in the future," Taylor said back then.

BYD has a range of road and yard vehicles built in the Californian town of Lancaster, with the T9 prime mover flagship the likely, though not nominated, test vehicle.


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