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Spectrum News 1: Nikola delivers first battery electric big rigs to Port of LA


PUBLISHED 8:30 AM PT DEC. 18, 2021

LOS ANGELES — The first two battery-electric semis to roll off the production line from Nikola Corp. were delivered to the Port of Los Angeles Friday. Southern California trucking company Total Transportation Services Inc. will operate the trucks at the port as part of a pilot program to provide feedback on their operation in the real world. 

“We’re constantly hearing about things occurring that are a direct result of climate change because of increased greenhouse gases, so it’s very important that we do our part,” said Chris Cannon, chief sustainability officer for the Port of LA. “We’ve got to get zero-emissions trucks out there and get them operating.”

As part of the Clean Air Action Plan the port announced in 2017, 100% of the 12,000 freight trucks operating at the port must be zero-emissions by 2035. About 100 vehicles at the port currently meet that criteria.

There are currently 16 zero-emissions projects operating the Port of LA, according to the port’s environmental specialist, Jacob Goldberg. Those include a partnership with Toyota, UPS and Shell, which is building hydrogen fueling stations at the port and in Ontario, near the warehouses those trucks service.

“The transition to zero-emissions is underway and the technology is available today, but it’s not happening quickly enough,” said Congresswoman Nanette Diaz Barragan, who represents California’s 44th District in the U.S. House of Representatives.

To urge it along, Barragan authored the Climate Smart Ports bill that is part of Build Back Better legislation the U.S. Senate is currently considering. Her bill includes $3.5 billion in zero-emissions technology investments to reduce air pollution at the ports from diesel-fueled equipment and trucks.

Trucks traveling in and out of the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach emit nearly 2,600 tons of nitrous oxides every year, along with high levels of carbon dioxide, diesel particulate and other harmful pollutants, she said.

“This is a major reason why people living in port communities such as Wilmington and San Pedro and along our major freight corridors are burdened with higher rates of asthma and have lower life expectancy than residents of other communities,” Barragan added.

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