Chinese automaker BYD delivers first battery-electric truck to Port of Oakland

Chinese automaker BYD (Build Your Dreams), the world’s largest electric vehicle maker, has delivered the first battery-electric 8TT truck to the Port of Oakland in the U.S. state of California. The Class 8 truck was grant-funded by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and will be part of a three-year feasibility study to determine whether zero-emission trucks could replace diesel trucks.

The truck will be tested for short-haul operations by major California trucking operator, GSC Logistics, and used to shuttle cargo containers between their depot and Oakland marine terminals. As the largest motor carrier at the port, GSC hauls 120,000 containers of cargo across Northern California and Nevada annually. GSC manages 200 owner-operated trucks each day and currently operates five short-haul company trucks.

“BYD is proud to celebrate the deployment of our 8TT truck in partnership with CARB and GSC Logistics to prove that clean battery-electric transportation is reliable, sustainable and readily available for the drayage industry,” said BYD Motors President Stella Li.

By utilizing battery-electric trucks, companies like GSC can lower operating costs while significantly improving air quality through the elimination of pollution caused by diesel trucks, BYD said. In addition to the cost savings and environmental and health benefits that come from converting to clean battery-electric technology, there are a number of other benefits such as reduced noise levels along busy trucking routes.

“We are eager to put this truck to the test and be part of an initiative that will not only help us save money, but positively impact the environment and change the future of transportation for years to come,” said Brandon Taylor, director of Transportation at GSC Logistics.

The Port of Oakland has already significantly reduced diesel pollution through clean truck programs. As they update their Maritime Air Quality Improvement Plan, zero-emissions technology will be emphasized.

“New energy vehicles,” which include electric trucks and buses, drove much of BYD’s revenues, with more than USD 6 billion generated last year, up 12.8% from a year ago. BYD was the number one electric vehicle maker in the world last year in terms of the number of vehicles sold, with 108,956 electric vehicles, more than China’s BAIC, U.S.A.’s Tesla and Germany’s BMW, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

The vast majority of those EV sales have been in China, which has some of the most aggressive federal and city government policies globally. Last month alone 73,000 electric vehicles were sold in China, compared to 19,500 in the U.S.A.

Six years ago, BYD opened a factory in Lancaster, Calif., U.S.A., starting out with just five employees. Today those facilities have expanded to 450,000 square feet and 800 workers.

So far, BYD has sold about 722 electric buses in the U.S.A. BYD plans to build 1,000 buses in Lancaster by the end of the year, boosting that to 1,500 next year, according to Macy Neshati, BYD’s senior VP of heavy industries.

China is working on a timetable to end the production and sales of internal-combustion vehicles. Bloomberg reported that China wants electric, plug-in hybrid and fuel-cell vehicles to account for 20% of annual new-vehicle sales by 2025, five years earlier than earlier announced.

Shenzhen, BYD’s home base, is one of six Chinese cities that account for 40% of China’s electric-car sales of 579,000 last year and 21% of the world’s EV sales.