LA could adopt electric freight vehicles

May 24, 2012 at 6:59 PM
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LOS ANGELES, May 24 (UPI) -- Los Angeles may be one of the first cities to adopt a new electric freight trucking system dubbed eHighway, its German developer says.

Engineering giant Siemens Corp. recently unveiled the system that uses overhead electrical wires to transmit energy to freight trucks in select vehicle lanes, similar to modern-day streetcars.

"Most people think about cars when they think of vehicle emissions, but the reality is it's freight trucks," Daryl Dulaney, chief executive of North American infrastructure and cities sector for Siemens, told the Los Angeles Times.

Siemens is working on a pilot project along Interstate 710, in which electric trucks would move freight from the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles to inland destinations.

More than 40 percent of freight that arrives in the United States in shipping containers comes through the two ports and then has to be trucked to rail stations and other points of distribution, officials said.

"The ports have made tremendous improvements, but goods-movement-related air pollution remains our largest source of air pollution in Southern California," Barry Wallerstein of the South Coast Air Quality Management District said.

"We're hopeful that we will get [the eHighway] off the ground in the next 12 months," said Wallerstein, who hopes to secure grants from the U.S. Department of Energy to build it.

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