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Port of Los Angeles Developing Electric Tow Tractor

The Port of Los Angeles and South Coast Air Quality Management District 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 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 andretrofits.

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

  • Develop a barebones chassis to test
  • Complete chassis for initial road tests
  • Demonstration phase

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

  • Fast-charging capabilities
  • A top speed of 25 miles per hour
  • A range of 40 miles per charge
  • 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 and will work with Spartan Truck Company on the truck trailers and related equipment.

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