California Leading in Clean Freight Projects

September 20, 2018

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California is known for pushing the envelope when it comes to clean air initiatives, whether its technology companies developing innovative vehicle platforms, or state regulators introducing new emission standards and funding programs to accelerate clean technology deployments. It’s the reason ACT Expo – North America’s leading conference and expo showcasing the real-world application of the latest transportation technologies, drivetrains, and clean fuels – calls California home.

While the entire country is racing toward a more sustainable future, California is leading the pack as evidenced by recent announcements about major zero and near-zero emission freight projects that, upon completion, will become a model for other cities, states and countries to adopt.

In an effort to reduce pollution and combat climate change, zero and near-zero emission truck technology is making significant progress. However, new technology comes with higher costs. Thankfully, agencies throughout the state are making bold investments to accelerate technology development and deployment. In fact, several exciting projects are now underway that will get us one step closer to a more sustainable future.

Agencies throughout the state are making bold investments to accelerate clean technology development and deployment with several exciting projects now underway .

Transformative Zero and Near-Zero Emission Freight Projects Are Underway

In early July, Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) and California’s South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) announced a $31.3 million heavy-duty electric truck project. Set to begin later this year, 20 trucks will be in operation by April 2019, including Class-6 straight trucks and Class-8 tractors that will operate throughout Southern California. This project will provide DTNA the data and testing platform it needs to finetune its electric trucks and develop technology that is ready for commercialization.

Later this month, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) is expected to release the awards for its Zero and Near Zero-Emission Freight Facilities (ZANZEFF) solicitation, which will fund projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, strengthens the economy and improves public health and the environment — particularly in disadvantaged communities.

The Port of Long Beach recently announced that they have been preliminarily awarded ZANZEFF funds for their Sustainable Terminals Accelerating Regional Transformation (START) project in partnership with the ports of Oakland and Stockton. With $50 million in ZANZEFF funds, the project will demonstrate nearly 100 pieces of zero-emissions terminal equipment and trucks, develop a near-zero emissions tugboat, deploy two of the cleanest ships to ever call on the West Coast, and advance workforce development programs to support sustainable goods movement.

Beyond battery-electric projects, ZANZEFF funds will also be supporting the development of hydrogen fuel cell technology.

Beyond battery-electric projects, ZANZEFF funds will also be supporting the development of hydrogen fuel cell technology. The Port of Los Angeles, in partnership with Toyota, Kenworth, and Shell, announced that their Zero-Emission Freight “Shore to Store” project has been preliminarily awarded $41 million to launch a hydrogen fuel-cell-electric technology framework for freight facilities to structure operations for goods movement. As part of the plan, the partners will collaborate to develop and deploy 10 hydrogen fuel cell Class 8 trucks, develop two hydrogen fueling stations, and increase zero-emission technology use in off-road applications.

Additional Clean Freight Projects (Likely) on the Horizon 

While we are still waiting to hear what other projects will be awarded ZANZEFF funds, a few other exciting applicants include a partnership between SCAQMD and Volvo for a Low Impact Green Heavy Transportation Solutions (LIGHTS) project. As part of this project, Volvo plans to deploy dozens of battery-electric Class 8 trucks and equipment in disadvantaged and highly polluted communities throughout Southern California, along with charging infrastructure at the facilities of several partnering fleets and at a public-use location, while integrating solar energy production.

States across the nation are releasing their VW Settlement funding plans, which will inevitably lead to continued innovation, investments and deployments in the years to come.

San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District and Frito-Lay also partnered for a ZANZEFF project, called the Transformative Zero and Near Zero Emission Freight Facility project. The project would replace all of Frito-Lay’s diesel equipment at its largest food production facility with zero emission technology everywhere feasible and near-zero emission (NZE) technology with renewable fuels everywhere else. This will include 24 electric trucks, 12 electric forklifts, and 38 NZE trucks, along with renewable energy production and storage systems.

At the 2019 ACT Expo: More Funding, More Clean Technology

Beyond ZANZEFF — and beyond California — funding activity is not slowing down any time soon. States across the nation are releasing their Volkswagen (VW) Settlement funding plans for their share of the $2.925 billion earmarked for clean transportation projects, which will inevitably lead to continued innovation, investments and deployments in the years to come.

All of this— from emerging zero and near-zero emission vehicle technologies to the various local, state and federal funding opportunities across the country — will be front and center at the 2019 ACT Expo, taking place in Long Beach, California on April 23-26, 2019. With 4,000 stakeholders from across the transportation industry expected to convene in Southern California, the 2019 ACT Expo will provide an expansive showcase of the technologies, fuels, policies, and organizations driving innovation and sustainability on our roadways.