Study: Zero-emissions trucks feasible for California

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Updated Aug 2, 2012

A study says that zero-emissions trucks such as hybrid-electric trucks receiving power along major roadways – similar to light-rail trains and buses in some cities – could be in demonstration in the next few years and eventually be part of a zero-emissions corridor along the busy Interstate 710 Freeway leaving Los Angeles ports.

CalStart, an independent California-based organization that evaluates and works to commecialize clean transportation technology, says the study’s findings support assumptions that have been presented at community meetings for the I-710 Corridor Project.

Long a problem area for traffic congestion and poor air quality, the busy I-710 Corridor is the principal path for goods movement between the ports and the Burlington Northern Santa Fe/Union Pacific railyards in the cities of Commerce and Vernon. Among key community concerns is how proposed transportation projects address and/or improve diesel particulate emissions from diesel trucks.

A Draft Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement (Draft EIR/EIS) for the I-710 Corridor, which was released at the end of June, presents transportation alternatives that target improvements along the roadwa. This effort is conducted by Metro and six partner agencies and is focused on 18 miles of the 710 between the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles and the Pomona Freeway (State Route 60).

The I-710 Draft EIR/EIS contains alternatives that address air quality, safety and mobility; two alternatives include a freight corridor to be used by trucks with zero tailpipe emissions (zero-emission trucks). In an effort to better inform the public on zero-emissions trucks, CalStart was tasked to evaluate if zero-emissions trucks technically are feasible and, if they are, how soon they could be commercially available. Funding for the report was provided by Metro and the South Coast Air Quality Management District.

The CalStart report found that the technology needed to produce zero-emissions trucks already exists and that there are a few zero- and near zero-emissions truck demonstration projects throughout the country currently being evaluated. Furthermore, if an alternative requiring zero-emissions trucks is selected, commercial production of zero-emissions trucks can occur between the years of 2018 and 2034.

The study, “Technologies, Challenges & Opportunities I-710 Zero-Emission Freight Corridor Vehicle Systems,” is available via Metro’s Countywide Zero-Emission Truck Collaborative webpage at www.metro.net/projects/countywide-zero-emission-trucks-collaborative.