The Port of Los Angeles is a testing ground for alternative powertrains, mostly LNG trucks and, well, LNG trucks. But battery-powered heavy duty vehicles are not being left out of picture, with the Port and the South Coast Air Quality Management District testing a very, very big electric truck. This behemoth can pull 60,000 pounds of cargo, go 40mph, and has a 60 mile range. It can also recharge in "a few hours," according to a video produced by the Port. The prototype truck was built for around $527,000 starting in 2007, and in April 2008 the Los Angeles Harbor Commission approved the production of 20 electric yard trucks. Funds for five trucks that would drive a bit farther, over-the-road electric trucks, were also approved. If the entire Port fleet were converted to electric-drive, then at least 2m short range trips a year could be powered by electrons instead of diesel.

Using battery-powered trucks at the port is almost the perfect application of EV technology. Current batteries are heavy, but who cares when the truck is this big? EVs have that whole range limit issue, but in the confines of the port, it's no big whoop. And, considering that the trucks these EVs could replace are diesels (which I'll assume are often idling and getting 0mpg as they are loaded and unloaded), the zero-emission feature is very welcome.

See the video of the truck in action after the break.




[Source: Seattle Post Intelligencer reader blog, h/t to Paul S.]