Trucks hauling freight from ports emit a lot of greenhouse gases—in fact, freight is the number one source of smog-related emissions in the Los Angeles area—and projected US growth rates mean that by mid-century, those emissions could double unless something is done to control them.
Daimler, Cummins, Tesla, and others have promised various models of electric freight-hauling trucks, but none of those models are quite yet ready for prime time (with the exception of Daimler’s trucks, which are only meant for smaller, shorter hauls).
But the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) office in Los Angeles, not keen on waiting for a private company to perfect an electric vehicle solution, has reached out to Siemens to help it build a test “eHighway” in Carson, California, near the Port of Long Beach, the second-busiest seaport in the United States.
The eHighway uses electrified catenary lines along a stretch of road that trucks can connect to for electric power—exactly like trolley or light rail lines that offer electric public transportation in a multitude of cities today.
The difference, however, is that the trucks don’t run on a rail, and they can disconnect from the catenary and run on independent engines when they get to the end of the line.
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