Eliminating 17.7 tons of NOx and .2 tons of PM2.5 per day, a Hybrid Truck Catenary System has the potential for use on a Zero Emissions Corridor.

Hybrid Truck Catenary System in Los Angeles

March 8, 2013
Carson,California,United States

Summary Information

Despite major advances in air pollutant emissions performance, heavy duty diesel trucks operating in dense urban areas continue to face pressure to achieve lower emission operation. In areas with historically poor air quality like the South Coast Air Basin, zero-emission requirements are being considered and may become standard. The South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD), California Air Resources Board (CARB) and Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) — the agencies responsible for preparing the State Implementation Plan required under the federal Clean Air Act — have stated that to attain federal air quality standards the region will need to transition to broad use of zero and near zero emission energy sources in cars, trucks and other equipment. Zero emission standards and technologies are also being proposed in the 2012 Regional Transportation Plan. The draft plan would affect the development of major freeways in Southern California including the I-710 and CA-60 by adding zero-emission truck lanes to these key transportation corridors.

Rising diesel fuel prices and increasing fuel economy standards will also place additional pressures on heavy duty truck manufacturers and their customers to consider alternatives to traditional diesel technologies. Truck manufacturers are actively pursuing drive train hybridization as a key technology pathway to simultaneously reduce fuel consumption and emissions. Based on developments in hybridization for a variety of heavy duty markets, this report explores the potential market for a Zero Emission Truck & Electric Catenary Highway (ZETECH) technology approach – a robust hybrid-electric truck platform with the ability to access overhead catenary power sources.

Catenary-powered hybrid trucks with internal combustion engines can simultaneously address emissions and fuel economy issues while providing operational flexibility at a similar or lower cost of ownership as other zero-emission technologies. Further, the path to catenary hybrid vehicles (CHV) is based on existing and well understood technologies that can be integrated today without the need for dramatic improvements in performance, cost, reliability, or durability.


The goal for this project is to create a zero emissions corridor. The hybrid trucks would have a limited battery capacity that would allow them to travel around the port and on the main road to the catenary system. The catenary system that is being proposed would allow the hybrid trucks to travel through the entire corridor away from the port, while only using the electric power from the over head catenary lines. This would allow the main trucking corridor that experience high pollution to have a 100% reduction in emissions if all trucks were hybrids compatible with the catenary system. After reaching the end of the corridor and catenary system the electric drive could be used for a short distance, then the diesel engine would be used if a longer distance is needed. By the time the high pollution diesel engine is needed the truck would be well away from the zero-emissions corridor.


For this report, it was assumed that all trucks would be converted to work with the catenary system. This is the only way for the corridor to become a zero emissions corridor. The initial corridor is a 1 mile stretch of roadway for trucks leaving the Port of Los Angeles going North to warehouses or Interstate 405.
  • This corridor sees 12,120 drayage trucks that are producing 17.7 tons of Nitrous Oxides and .2 tons of Particulate Matter 2.5 per day. The catenary system has the potential to eliminate all of these emissions from the corridor.


    It should be noted that additional emissions may be created elsewhere to supply the system with electricity. The electricity may also be coming from a zero emission source such as wind or solar.

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Zero Emissions Catenary Hybrid Truck Market Study

Author: Gladstein, Neandross, & Associates (GNA)

Source Date: March 8, 2013



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Typical Deployment Locations

Metropolitan Areas, Statewide


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Benefit ID: 2013-00887