Port facilities today have a flurry of trucks involved with unloading containers from ships and driving them a short distance for delivery. Diesel exhaust in and around marine ports is an important public health issue and air quality concern. The U.S. EPA has designated diesel exhaust as a likely human carcinogen. Particulate matter from diesel exhaust is associated with many different types of respiratory and cardiovascular effects including premature death. Ozone is also associated with respiratory effects, lung damage and reduced outdoor worker productivity. These chemicals also contribute to the green house gas portion of climate change.
Balqon’s new product, the Mule M150, is designed as a zero emissions solution for short haul on-highway routes in inner cities, port facilities and airports for the distribution of goods and cargo. The Mule M150 is able to travel at a speed of up to 55 miles per hour and has a range of 150 miles on a single charge under unloaded conditions. Obviously a loaded Mule M150 will have a shorter range (90 miles) but at this speed it is highway capable and with that range can plausibly perform deliveries within urban areas.
Balqon’s product lineup includes:
- Nautilis E20, max speed 25 miles/hr, fully loaded range of 30 miles, 30 ton cargo towing capacity. Obviously not highway capable but would work well in a loading or unloading area.
- Nautilis E30, max speed 40 miles/hr, fully loaded range of 90 miles, 30 ton cargo towing capacity. Again obviously not highway capable but with the higher speed could be taken into city streets
- Mule M150, max speed 55 miles/hr, fully loaded range of 90 miles, 7 ton cargo capacity. This is a highway capable speed and with enough range for urban use.
These vehicles won’t be replacing big rig cross country trucks any time soon, obviously. However they don’t have to take on that challenge immediately. There are many short haul usage scenarios where long range isn’t a requirement where an electric truck would work well, and for which there is a pressing need to clean up health and environmental issues.
Balqon’s original mission was to develop, for the Port of Los Angeles, clean drayage trucks. Drayage trucks carry cargo containers away from central yards to train or truck depot’s. The this usage scenario has a short range requirement but an intensive number of trucks with demonstrated bad health side effects from diesel exhaust.
In fleet usage such as these trucks tend to be refueled (or recharged) in a central depot. Hence this usage scenario does not require installing a network of charging stations, instead those can be in the depot along with existing refueling stations. This should make adoption of electric trucks easier than the issues needing to be resolved for widespread recharging of electric passenger cars. (see Planning for the coming wave of electric vehicles)
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