California dreaming of no diesel
CHINESE all-electric bus and truck builder BYD will receive $9 million from a group of local governments who are investing in 27 electric trucks to replace diesel-powered heavy-duty tractors used in rail yards and largescale freight distribution centres.
The grant is part of a larger statewide investment in low-carbon transportation projects that are pivotal to meeting California’s ambitious goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve air quality and reduce petroleum dependency by accelerating the development and deployment of advanced vehicle technologies.
As the self-proclaimed “Official Sponsor of Mother Nature”, with a proven track record of thousands of vehicles already operating around the world, BYD is the ideal partner to help North America’s cities deliver on the aim to replace existing diesel trucks.
BYD will test its truck for a two-year period, using 23 battery-electric “yard goats”, trucks that are used to move heavy freight containers short distances within freight yards, warehouses, distribution centres and port terminals; and four medium-duty trucks at two of its intermodal rail yards in the cities of San Bernardino and Commerce.
Both truck types will be designed and manufactured by BYD in Lancaster, California.
Apart from shunting yards, BYD is also developing trucks for a range of vocational markets, including refuse trucks, drayage trucks, concrete mixers and yard trucks, which will significantly reduce emissions and improve public health.
“BYD’s class eight heavy-duty yard truck and class five mediumduty service truck technology will prove that vehicle electrification is a solution that can be applied today to a variety of needs — not just passenger vehicles,” said Stella Li, president of BYD Motors.
“BYD is proud to collaborate on this project and showcase our best-in-market electric battery technology. By deploying these trucks in 24/7 operations, this project will prove that truck electrification can be adopted at any major freight location and scaled for any facility and business need in the U.S.”
While most car makers use lithium, nickel, manganese, cobalt, oxide (NMC) type batteries for their high-energy density despite its instability, BYD uses lithium, iron, phosphate batteries in its vehicles.
The range is roughly half, but these batteries are very stable. Knowing the large bank of batteries under the bus floor will not get hot and start fires is more important than range.
BYD said its lithium, iron, phosphate battery offers three advantages on competing technologies: • it lasts longer, keeping 70% charge after 10 000 cycles, compared to other lithium ion batteries that rapidly degrade after 2 000 cycles or five or six years of regular use; • they are extremely safe as the chemical reaction is not exothermic (no heat is released) and no oxygen is released; and • they are environmentally friendly as the primary components are iron, which is the most common element on Earth by mass, and phosphate, which is naturally occurring.
The BYD T9 all-electric medium hauler truck will soon go on test in California, where local governments want clear skies with no diesel fumes.