Pilot Program is the First Approved Technical Advancement Project
Under the Clean Air Action Plan and Will Study the Use of Ultra-Clean, Electrically-Powered Tractors for Short Haul Container Drayage

SAN PEDRO, Calif. — January 12, 2007 — The Port of Los Angeles and South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) have partnered on a demonstration project to use electrically-powered tractors to tow cargo containers from the Port to local warehouses and rail yards.  The $527,000 initiative funded by the Port and AQMD, will explore the feasibility of replacing diesel-powered tractors with ultra-clean, electrically-powered units. 
Under the Clean Air Action Plan (CAAP) approved by the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach in November 2006, $15 million has been set aside for a Technology Advancement Program.  The electric tow tractor demonstration project is the first project to be approved under this CAAP program component. 
AQMD has committed $48 million to help replace older diesel trucks in addition to technology advancement projects such as the electric tractor.  As part of the CAAP commitment, the Port has committed at least $85 million over the next five years for truck replacement and retrofits.
“We believe that transporting cargo containers from the docks to nearby warehouses and rail yards can be done cleanly with heavy-duty electric vehicles,” said Geraldine Knatz, Ph.D., Executive Director for the Port of Los Angeles.  “We are excited about this project and look forward to testing this technology in realistic conditions.”          

The project is slated for three main components, and expected to be completed in about 7 months.  The three components of the project are:

  1. Develop a barebones chassis to test
  2. Complete chassis for initial road tests
  3. Demonstration phase

The basic parameters of the project will be to develop an all-electric tow tractor that will have:

  1. Fast-charging capabilities
  2. A top speed of 25 miles per hour
  3. A range of 40 miles per charge
  4. Sufficient torque and power to tow up-to a 60,000 pound container

Balqon Corp. has been selected as the technology provider on this project.  Balqon has more than 15 years experience in producing electric vehicles and will work with Spartan Truck Company on the truck trailers and related equipment. 
“AQMD is excited about demonstrating the feasibility of this technology with the Port of Los Angeles,” said Barry Wallerstein, D.Env., executive officer of the South Coast Air Quality Management District.  “Clean technologies such as this will help the ports achieve their goal of reducing emissions and improving air quality around the ports and throughout the region.”
In November 2006, the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach approved an unprecedented joint action to improve air quality in the South Coast Air Basin called the Clean Air Action Plan. The sweeping five-year plan is a blueprint for the ports to significantly reduce the health risks posed by air pollution from port-related ships, trains, trucks, terminal equipment and harbor craft.  Considered a “living document,” the plan allows for updating as new technologies and processes become available.
AQMD recently released its draft 2007 Air Quality Management Plan which contains aggressive measures needed to achieve federal clean air standards in the Southland.  The plan shows that emissions of smog-forming nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds will have to be cut beyond the requirements in existing programs by an additional 50 percent by 2020 to meet these standards.  Since most air pollution is generated by mobile sources -- including trucks, trains and ships – the measures outlined in the CAAP are vital to AQMD’s efforts to meet air pollution standards and reduce residents’ health risks from air pollution.
Rendering of the electric tow tractor available by clicking here.

Celebrating its Centennial in 2007, the Port of Los Angeles is America's premier port.  As the leading seaport in the nation in terms of shipping container volume and cargo value, the Port generates 259,000 regional jobs and $8.4 billion in annual wages and tax revenues.  A proprietary department of the City of Los Angeles, the Port is self-supporting and does not receive taxpayer dollars.  At the Port of Los Angeles, high priority is placed on responsible growth initiatives, combined with high security, environmental stewardship and community outreach.  For its industry leading environmental initiatives, the Port received two Environmental Protection Agency awards in 2006.  The Port of Los Angeles - A cleaner port.  A brighter future.

AQMD is the air pollution control agency for Orange County and major portions of Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Riverside counties.