Southern California is notorious for its heavy smog and traffic congestion; having 35,000 trucks a day spewing out diesel exhaust while shuttling back and forth on Interstate 710 between the Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach only makes the problem worse.
Together, the two ports have created the Zero Emissions I-710 Project designed to drastically reduce exhaust emissions, cut fossil fuel use significantly and lower operating costs. With the Project now approved by the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD), construction will start early in 2015 and should take about a year to complete.
The heart of the program is a grid of overhead electric wires located above selected lanes along the I-710 corridor. Siemens will be in charge of installing the grid, and it is also working with the Mack Truck division of Volvo to build electric trucks that will be powered by the grid.
The whole project is made possible by intelligent current collectors mounted on the top of each truck that can dock and undock from the grid automatically at speeds up to 90 KPH, or about 55 MPH. When no overhead grid is available, an internal combustion engine or a battery can be used to supply electricity for the truck motors to get it where it needs to go.
The goal is to bring some relief to an environment that is heavily stressed by vehicle emissions. The e-highway project will create an emissions free zone between the two ports and the inland trans-shipment facilities located about 20 miles apart. Savings from lower fuel costs and increased productivity are expected to more than pay for the cost of the Zero Emissions I-710 Project.