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 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. 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 US," said Stella Li, president of BYD Motors.

The two types of trucks funded by this grant are the most common at every major freight location in the US, 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.

Accorfing to Green car congress, 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. 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.

June 16, 2016 Driving photo: Profimedia

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