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Electric truck tests in Oakland

GSC Logistics plans to purchase two all electric trucks for on-road container drayage.

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GSC Logistics is testing an electric truck from BYD
GSC Logistics is testing an electric truck from BYD

GSC Logistics, a major freight haulier at Oakland, has been operating an electric truck from China’s BYD since 2018 and is “ready to take the next step” with two new battery-powered machines, the Port of Oakland said.


The BYD machine currently in use is its 8TT model, a Class 8 tandem axle design. It is not known whether the new trucks will be from BYD or another manufacturer. The first of the two new units is scheduled to arrive this month and the second in the autumn.


“Our first tractor is fine moving containers around the Port…it does the job,” said GSC Director of Transportation Brandon Taylor. “Now we want to test these new trucks on the road – the manufacturer says they can haul fully loaded containers 55 miles per hour up a steep grade.”


"GSC said it’s acquiring two 13-ton electric trucks with assistance from state grants. The rigs would both have twin 241-horse power battery-driven motors. Each truck would be able to travel 125 miles on a battery charge, GSC said. The new electric trucks would be heavier than GSC’s first model due to battery weight," Oakland announced.


The port expects electric trucks will play a major role in reducing emissions in the future. GSC and three other companies, Impact Transportation, Oakland Maritime Support Services and ConGlobal currently operate electric tractors near the Port, which expects that there could be as many as 20 battery-powered trucks hauling containers by year-end.


“We’re grateful to these firms for taking a chance on battery power,” said Port of Oakland Environmental Programs and Planning Director Richard Sinkoff. “We can’t get to zero emissions without pioneers to lead the charge.”


Oakland does not have a date on a zero emissions target like the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, but hopes that electric trucks will replace the 6,000 diesel trucks currently serving the port someday. “That won’t happen, industry experts say, until costs come down and trucks can go further on a single charge. There’s one other challenge: battery-charging infrastructure,” the port added.


“The technology and capability of electric tractors is moving fast,” said Mr. Taylor. “But the ability of a truck owner-operator to buy an electric truck and have the electrical infrastructure to support it may be years away.”

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