American Shipper

New battery-powered drayage truck to be tested at Oakland port

The trial, which begins in September with a heavy-duty, all-electric truck, is part of a statewide effort to determine the feasibility of zero-emission freight hauling.

   Port of Oakland-based trucking operator GSC Logistics plans to begin a three-year trial in September during which it will test battery-powered big rig technology at the Northern California seaport.
   The trial, which will begin with a heavy-duty, all-electric truck, is part of a statewide effort to determine the feasibility of zero-emission freight hauling, according to a joint statement from the port and GSC Logistics.
   Under the test program, GSC Logistics’ electric truck will shuttle import containers from Oakland marine terminals to a nearby yard. The rig has a 100-mile battery range, and the company said it will have a charging station installed so that the vehicle can plug in at the port.
   GSC, the Port of Oakland’s largest motor carrier, now becomes the first drayage company based in Northern California to test battery-powered trucks. CEO Scott Taylor said the demo’s purpose is to prove that battery-operated trucks can work in real world applications and port operations, adding that his firm would consider purchasing additional rigs if the trial is successful.
   “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,” said Taylor.
   The California Air Resources Board (CARB) initiated the zero-emission truck trial last year, and is sponsoring a test with five battery-powered rigs in Southern California concurrent with the Oakland study.
   The trucks are being manufactured by Shenzhen, China-based BYD Co.
   “We’re out to prove that zero-emission, battery-powered trucks can be used in heavy-duty applications,” said Andy Swanton of subsidiary BYD California.
   GSC hauls the equivalent of 100,000 TEUs of cargo annually in Northern California and Nevada. It manages a fleet of 200 trucks.
   The Port of Oakland said the state-sponsored trial fits well with its emission-reduction efforts.
   “We’ve done everything from subsidizing clean-truck purchases to shrinking the queues at our gates,” Port of Oakland Environmental Programs and Planning Director Richard Sinkoff said. “Battery-powered trucks are a logical next-step for exploration.”