Electric Big Rig Tests Begin at Port of Oakland


A battery-powered truck has entered the Port of Oakland fleet for the first time, testing the feasibility of zero-emission freight hauling.

Earlier in February 2018 a major California trucking operator, GSC Logistics, introduced the 10-ton rig (pictured below).

The machine, which cost US$ 250,000, is the only electric truck alongside more than 6,000 diesel-powered vehicles registered at the port.

It represents the latest effort to minimize the environmental impact of containerized trade in Oakland.

If it proves effective, port officials expect motor carriers to acquire additional battery-powered trucks for hauling cargo containers.

The port has indicated its intention to explore technology that could make diesel-powered cargo handling obsolete.

Richard Sinkoff, Port of Oakland’s Director of Environmental Programs and Planning, said: “We’ll be following this experiment closely.

“If battery-powered vehicles can do the job efficiently and affordably, they can help change the way we do business.”

The port said it has reduced diesel emissions 98% in the past decade through clean truck programs.

This is part of the port’s promise to update its Maritime Air Quality Improvement Plan this summer with an emphasis on zero-emissions technology.


The BYD 8TT utilizes the first battery specifically designed for vehicle electrification


Read a technical paper by Jill Borner-Brown, Mohamad Ibrahim, Tim Leong, Delphine Prevost, Marilyn Sandifur, Richard Sinkoff and Anne Whittington of Port of Oakland, on Port of Oakland's shore power project

However, the lack of availability of battery-powered equipment designed for container handling is causing problems for development.

It has meant that the testing of electric big rigs is attracting attention.

GSC Logistics said that its demonstration truck is starting short-hauls during a three-year trial.

The GSC rig will shuttle cargo containers between its depot and Oakland marine terminals, but one problem facing its development is the vehicle’s 100-mile battery range, which is unsuitable for long-haul drayage. 

GSC Logistics moves the equivalent of 120,000 20-foot cargo containers annually through Oakland.

The company said it would consider purchasing up to three additional electric trucks if its test proves successful.

Scott Taylor, GSC Logistics CEO, said: “We’re making four-to-five runs a day within the Port’s perimeter and so far, the truck’s performing well.

“Our next step will be to get it out on the road.”

Read more: The Port of Oakland reported that 2017 was the busiest year in its 90-year history

Daily Email Newsletter

Sign up to our daily email newsletter to receive the latest news from Port Technology International.

Supplier Directory

Find out how to get listed

Webinar Series

Find out how to attend

Latest Stories

Cookie Policy. This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website.