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Converted Plug-In Hybrid Electric Terminal Tractor to be Tested at Port of Long Beach

A plug-in parallel hybrid electric terminal tractor used to move shipping containers and cargo within the port will be tested at a Port of Long Beach shipping terminal. The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) is coordinating the project among several ports and will also compile and analyze project data related to the tractor’s performance, including emissions, charging, diesel fuel reduction and other aspects.

US Hybrid Corporation performed the conversion which uses a 33 kWh Li-ion battery pack from GAIA. The truck is equipped with a 6.6 kW charger. EPRI expects the plug-in to have about 4 hours of electric operation, depending upon the duty cycle, said Andra Rogers, senior project manager of Electric Transportation at EPRI.

The equipment will be tested at SSA Container Terminal on Pier A at the Port of Long Beach for 3 months.

As a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) the tractor will be able to move containers weighing up to 95,000 pounds as its diesel counterparts can, but unlike diesels will not idle its engine when inactive. Over a year of full-time operation it is expected that the PHEV tractor would use 3,000 gallons of fuel per year less than a similar diesel and significantly reduce emissions.

Terminal tractors are the most prevalent piece of equipment at container ports and they typically idle 50 percent to 80 percent of the time they’re in use. It’s feasible that by converting their tractor fleets ports could reduce emissions from this source by 80 percent for nitrogen oxides, 50 percent for carbon dioxide and significant amounts of other criteria pollutants. These vehicles can make a big impact on lowering a port’s overall emissions.

—Andra Rogers

The three-month Port of Long Beach demonstration project is part of a one-year demonstration, during which the tractor will also be tested and evaluated at ports in Savannah, Ga., Mobile, Ala., Houston, and New York City.

EPRI will document the tractor’s performance and operation including electric grid system impact, vehicle system efficiency, emissions, costs and vehicle performance. EPRI also will evaluate performance and benefits relative to conventional diesel vehicles. EPRI also hopes to learn more about the duty cycles of tractors at different ports.

The research is part of a broader program EPRI conducts on non-road electric applications for transportation, which includes forklifts, airport vehicles and power supply options for ships at dock, airliners at the gate and trucks at truck stops.

Given that terminal tractors can be in service for 20 years, EPRI thought that “retrofit was a good angle” for this type of vehicle, Rogers said.


Henry Gibson

It is not clear that this device can move without its diesel engine running. This would have been a good device to test hydraulic hybrid technology. The INNAS free piston engine with the multicup motors could have been an interesting demonstration as long as diesel must be used.

Flywheel technology could have also been used as in Parry People Movers.

This is a perfect place for the demonstration of electric operation where contacts in the ground are most every where and can be turned on to charge a vehicle above them when it is stopped or even perhaps moving.

ZEBRA batteries are well suited to this type of operation and will be made by General Electric. They can operate at all temperature extremes with very simple cooling and heating.

NGK sodium sulphur batteries can be used to give a high power quick charge without extortionary demand charges and high power prices. ..HG..

gotto besaid

Lets just hope the equipment is long shoreman proof unless thay have changed since I docked frequently at Long Beach.
99% of them were drugged up to the eyeballs and between the crashes and the waised time with the enginees just running any improvement could be just waisted.
The amount of energy used in manafacturing replacement spare parts alone was huge, every time we left Long beach, Bitter after 20 years you bet.

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