In a partnership with the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, Vision Motors is helping fund a $1 million demonstration project involving a fuel cell semi-truck and yard tractor.
The truck and yard tractor, both built by Vision Motors, will be delivered by mid-spring, when they will begin an 18-month trial run to test the viability of these vehicles. The two ports are each throwing down $425,000, with another $575,000coming from Vision Motors for a total of $1 million.
Vision motors will be providing a 500 horsepower Tyrano fuel-cell semi that can make up to 3,200 ft-lbs of torque from its electric engines, and has enough hydrogen for about 200 miles of driving before requiring a fill-up. The big drawback with hydrogen cars is the lack of infrastructure, so I do understand why the ports are cautious about these vehicles longer-range vehicles.
But the ZETT yard tractor (pictured above), which can operate for two eight-hour shifts on a single tank of hydrogen, never leaves the port, so the addition of a refueling station solves those problems. Ford is leasing eight electric yard tractors at one of their plants in Michigan, so why just one for the nation’s busiest ports (which combined brought in almost 12 million shipping containers last year, and over 600,000 containers last month alone) testing out just a single semi and yard tractor? Weak sauce.
With the nation’s worst air quality, Los Angeles and Long Beach really need to clean up their air lest they continue to deal with pervasive health problems and environmental issues. How much impact a single truck and tractor will have is negligible, and the ports have no plans to buy any more fuel-cell vehicles right now. It’s a shame, because once businesses start going green, they end up saving green (in the form of cash). I’m sure their lungs will thank them one day.
Source: Green Car Advisor
Chris DeMorro is a writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to Hemis. You can follow his slow descent into madness at Sublime Burnout.