Gas and diesel yard tractors are out, and battery-electric models at California’s Port of Long Beach container terminal are in.
The Port of Long Beach is a major gateway for US-Asia trade. It’s the second-busiest container port in the US, behind the Port of Los Angeles, and the world’s 18th-busiest container cargo port. And now Long Beach has deployed 33 new human-operated, battery-electric yard tractors at Pier C – increasing its zero-emissions equipment percentage to around 20%.
The fleet of electric yard tractors, which were made by Mexico’s DINA with drive systems from TransPower, is funded by a $50 million grant from the California Air Resources Board and a US Environmental Protection Agency Targeted Airshed Grant award.
Terminal operator SSA Terminals led the deployment, the largest of its kind on the US West Coast. It also has plans to launch electric top handlers at Pier C. (The Port of Los Angeles launched the world’s first electric top handlers in 2020.) Both Long Beach and Los Angeles ports have set a goal to achieve 100% zero emission terminal operations by 2030.
DC fast charger maker Tritium installed and launched 33 EV chargers to power up those yard tractors. What’s noteworthy about these 175 kW chargers is that they autonomously connect to each yard tractor’s charge port with Switzerland-based Stäubli’s Quick Charging Connector (QCC) systems:
All tractors can be charged simultaneously and don’t need to be plugged in by a person. Operators pull into a charging station, and the QCC deploys to plug into the tractors. The QCC system is rated for up to 100,000 mating/plug-in cycles, and Stäubli claims it requires little to no maintenance for an expected 20- to 30-year service life.
This is North America’s first large-scale port EV charging program using mechanized charging connectors.
Photos: Port of Long Beach/Tritium
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Author: Michelle Lewis