Ballard And Kenworth Meet Challenges Of California’s Emissions Regulations

by Michelle Nati - Published: 5/17/2017

This week, Ballard Power Systems announced the development of a FCveloCity®-HD 85-kilowatt fuel cell engine, which will power a hybrid Class 8 drayage truck built by the market-leading manufucturer of heavy and medium duty trucks, the Kenworth Truck Company.

Drayage trucks play a much-needed role in both long and short haul transportation by carrying goods for short distances - the vehicles can travel from ocean ports to rail ramps, warehouses, or other destinations. 

Ballard and Kenworth report that its drayage truck equipped with a fuel cell hybrid engine will be hauling shipping containers from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to local warehouses and intermodal facilities during the experimental two-year program.

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Rob Campbell, Ballard's Chief Commercial Officer, believes the time is right for a short haul, environmentally-friendly truck: “We are now seeing growing demand in key global trucking markets for zero-emission and efficient propulsion systems that provide the trucking industry with the traditional range and refueling times provided by legacy diesel solutions."

Kenworth's chief engineer, Patrick Dean, agrees. He cites California’s strict emission standards as the new rule of thumb for the rest of the country: "Within the next decade, hybrid-electric powertrains are expected to be required to satisfy emissions regulations in several major U.S. metropolitan areas. For example, California is considering regulations that will require zero-emission levels for port drayage trucks operating in specifically designated areas. We look forward to playing a leadership role to meet the opportunities and challenges ahead.”

The fuel cell engine of the Kenworth drayage truck will recharge its onboard lithium-ion batteries, which, in turn, will power a dual-rotor electric motor to drive the rear tandem axle through a 4-speed automated transmission. The truck can run on an electric charge for about 30 miles, and hydrogen fuel onboard will provide enough power to the vehicle for a full day of operation in regional haul applications.

The U.S. Department of Energy, the California Energy Commission, the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, and the South Coast Air Quality Management District are the entities behind the San Pedro Ports Fuel Cell and Hybrid Electric Vehicle Demonstration Project. The Center for Transportation and the Environment (CTE) spearheaded the development effort and is acting as project coordinator.

Ballard Power Systems is a leader in clean energy product creation. The company’s goal is to guide customers in challenging technical and business issues in their fuel cell programs while reducing potential costs and risks they might face.