CALSTART study concludes zero-emission I-710 freight corridor achievable; hybrid truck with catenary or in-road power most feasible option
|I-710 Corridor Study Area. Click to enlarge.|
A study by CALSTART, an independent California-based organization that evaluates and works to commercialize clean transportation technology, has concluded that the development of a heavy-duty vehicle or vehicle system (truck and infrastructure power source) that can move freight through California’s busy I-710 Corridor with zero emissions (ZE) with a 2035 horizon year has no major technological barriers. In fact, the report suggests, there are several technical approaches that can achieve the desired outcome.
Of the possibilities, CALSTART determined that a “dual mode” or “range extender” hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) with some EV-only capability was seen as the most feasible solution for achieving the ZE corridor, particularly if combined with an infrastructure power source such as catenary or in-road, which would allow for smaller battery packs aboard the vehicles. The most significant barriers would be a sustainable overall economic and business case and corridor market mechanisms.
Background. I-710 is a major north-south interstate freeway connecting the city of Long Beach to central Los Angeles. Within the I-710 Corridor Project study area, I-710 serves as the principal transportation connection for goods movement between the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach (POLA and POLB), located at the southern terminus of I-710, and the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF)/Union Pacific Railroad (UPRR) railyards in the cities of Commerce and Vernon.
The I-710 Corridor has high levels of health risks related to high levels of diesel particulate emissions, traffic congestion, high truck volumes, high accident rates, and many design features in need of modernization.
A Major Corridor Study (MCS) completed in March 2005 identified a community-based Locally Preferred Strategy (LPS) consisting of ten general-purpose (GP) lanes plus a separate four-lane freight corridor (e.g. truck-only lanes).
In addition to proposing a separated freight corridor, two of the project alternatives being studied qualifying the freight corridor as a zero tail-pipe emission freight corridor (zero-emission corridor). Via this corridor, trucks would travel from the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to the Vernon/Commerce rail yards via a separate facility from the general purpose lanes, generating no local emissions.
The I-710 funding partners, including the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro), California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), the Gateway Cities Council of Governments (GCCOG), the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG), the Ports, and the Interstate 5 Joint Powers Authority (I-5 JPA) tasked CALSTART with investigating the potential technologies that could achieve the goal of a zero emission corridor, their feasibility, and the challenges to their commercialization within the project’s horizon year of 2035.
Specifically, CALSTART was to examine whether a Class 8 truck could be developed to move freight in the I-710 corridor (roughly 17 miles) with zero emissions.
CALSTART used modified “single-round Delphi Interview” technique, targeting a representative collection of leading manufacturers, suppliers, and technology developers. Confidential interviews, in combination with CALSTART’s industry knowledge and expertise, provided the basis for the report findings. The data was analyzed to determine feasibility, challenges, and timeframe for potential solutions.
Findings and conclusions. CALSTART found that solutions meeting the requirements could be developed based on existing designs and technical knowledge, and require no fundamental research or technology breakthroughs.
Technologies considered were:
- Dual Mode Hybrid Diesel-Electric Vehicle (HEV)
- Range Extender Electric Vehicle (REEV) or Plug-In HEV (PHEV)
- Full electric vehicle (EV)
- Fuel Cell (EV/REEV)
- Natural Gas (NG) Hybrid
- Advanced combustion NG engine with next gen after-treatment
- Hydrogen Internal Combustion Engine (ICE)
- Exotic Fuel advanced engines
Infrastructure approaches identified were:
- Catenary Power Source
- In-Road Power Source
- Fast Chargers (electric) at corridor ends
- Hydrogen Fuel
- ITS – Intelligent Transportation Systems - mode control, platooning, driverless operation (not an emissions technology, but can be combined with those technologies to increase efficiency)
Small-scale demonstrations could begin immediately and commercialization of proven designs could certainly be achieved by 2035, and could occur within the next decade, given appropriate emphasis and support, according to the report.
Recommendations. CALSTART also made a number of recommendations:
Recognize the project as a “commercialization process” that must go through a series of critical stages. It is not advisable to jump directly to the desired outcome because competing technologies must be evaluated, tested, proven, and commercialized.
The commercialization process for a complex product like a Class 8 truck includes significant engineering and development work, including demonstration and validation of early prototypes, building a small number of pre-production vehicles, and constructing a business case for moving to full production over the course of several years.Similarly, the other stakeholders in the Corridor must work through the steps of transitioning from their current business processes and approaches into a new structure that incorporates zero-emissions as a critical component—a new set of market mechanisms must be developed and adopted or the goal of a ZE Corridor may not be achieved.
Recognize and develop plans for funding that covers not only advancing and demonstrating technologies, but also shaping and creating the frameworks, market mechanisms and marketplace for an I-710 zero-emissions freight corridor and ZE trucks. In concert with this, investigate and develop the market mechanisms for an overall economic case, including regulatory requirements and financial support required to make the corridor function.
Launch a Vehicle Development (industry) Working Group to address issues raised in this study on vehicle performance needs, market size, alternative vehicle markets and uses.
Launch a User Needs Working Group to identify end user needs and vehicle design parameters. The performance needs identified will drive design criteria, and ideally would be communicated within 12 months to the Vehicle Development (industry) group.
Initiate a Corridor Market Mechanisms Study and Process to assess the best models for financially supporting and enabling ZE trucks. Such a study needs to assess and outline alternative ownership and business models (such as amortizing truck costs with corridor construction costs), and possible regulatory structures to enforce the model.