Balqon Receives Contract from the Port of Los Angeles to Retrofit Electric Yard Tractors with Lithium-ion Batteries.
Balqon Corporation, a developer of electric vehicles, drive systems and lithium battery storage devices, has received a $630,000 contract from the Port of Los Angeles (“POLA”) to retrofit six electric powered yard tractors, converting battery packs from lead acid batteries to higher energy density lithium batteries to increase the daily range of the vehicles. For the past eight months, Balqon and POLA have been jointly testing two yard tractors fitted with Balqon’s next generation lithium battery system at a local intermodal facility.
“This contract to upgrade six extended range yard tractors to POLA’s demonstration fleet will allow us to showcase our current technologies to local marine terminals, warehouses and rail yards,” said Mr. Balwinder Samra, CEO of Balqon Corporation. “The past eight months of testing demonstrated that the vehicles retrofitted with lithium battery systems have an increased range of 12-14 hours on a single charge, and these results now need to be validated at other application settings such as marine terminals and rail yards.” “Being the only manufacturer of zero emissions yard tractors in the world, providing additional units to POLA provides us with the ability to introduce our technologies to a larger customer base in the San Pedro Basin region,” he added.
In 2009, Balqon delivered 14 Nautilus XE20 electric yard tractors equipped with lead acid batteries to POLA under an agreement between Balqon and the City of Los Angeles. The limited range of the vehicles equipped with lower energy density lead acid batteries led to the development of an extended range lithium battery powered electric yard tractor, Model XR E20.
The Nautilus XR E20 is a longer-range version of the XE20 and features the latest in lithium battery technology, allowing customers to perform two shift operations before having to recharge. The Nautilus XR E20 also features an increased charge rate, allowing customers to charge during breaks and shift changes. The vehicle fully recharges in less than two and a half hours.
Since 2011, Balqon has shipped Nautilus XR E20s to its customers in automotive, defense and steel industries. In addition, last year Balqon released the European version of the Nautilus XR E20 that was developed in collaboration with Balqon’s European manufacturing partner, MOL Industries.
Over 2,000 yard tractors are in service at the San Pedro Bay and are the single largest cargo handling source of particulate matter, contributing 150 tons or 61% of particulate matter, and NOx emissions at the ports. In addition to zero emissions, the XR E20 also provides up to 74% lower operating costs than conventional diesel vehicles, making it an economic zero emissions solution for heavy-duty off-highway applications. (5/15/12)
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May 16, 2012 – Vol. 17 No.9