Hallelujah, the future is here! The Los Angeles Times covered the much anticipated event of the all-electric truck rolling off a Los Angeles assembly line yesterday. Asthma inhalers throughout the region probably trembled as 25 brand new trucks that release no tailpipe emissions were presented for the public to see.
This is a major turning point in the fight to remove fossil-fuel burning trucks from rumbling down our streets, making our air filthy, and affecting public health for decades to come. The fossil-fuel burning engine has met its match in the form of the The Nautilus E30 by Balqon. I would have probably preferred to name it the "Diesel Crusher 2009" or some similarly aggressive name, but I suppose Balqon wanted the truck to sound more like a real product and not a demolition car.
This partnership between the South Coast Air Quality Management District and the Port of Los Angeles that pushed this truck from concept to reality could not have come at a better time because the harbor continues to have some of the filthiest air in the nation.
This move to electric trucks, along with electrified rail and a movement to other more efficient methods to moving freight, is critical to protecting vulnerable populations near our seaports, railyards, and adjacent to our freight corridors. Also, the industries that move our nation's freight need to be put on notice that their constant statements doubting the viability of electric truck technologies need to stop. The technology is here, so let's figure out a way to use it.
This effort also marks a glimpse into the future of how green business can be good business. It is no secret that the City of Los Angeles through the leadership of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Janice Hahn see the all-electric truck as a way to clean up the harbor area, but also to boost the local economy by producing this equipment here. Convincing the company to move to Harbor City and negotiating for a $1,000 royalty for each truck sold to parties beyond the Port of Los Angeles is a good move.
All in all, Tuesday, February 24, 2009 will be an important day for clean air in Los Angeles. But let's not rest on our laurels--there are still several issues that need to be addressed such as ensuring these trucks are powered by renewable energy and making the market for these trucks larger.
So, I now will raise a higher challenge to the air district and the port. I challenge these agencies to get 2,500 of these trucks on the road by this time next year. From what I know about Mayor Villaraigosa, David Freeman and the South Coast AQMD Board, this is a challenge that they are willing to accept.
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