April 5, 2013

Route 66: California’s Roadmap to Cleaner Transportation

On March 26, over 100 people met in Sacramento to help design a draft ‘roadmap’ for California to meet its 2020 and 2050 climate protection, air pollution and energy security goals.

The forum, California’s Route 66 to Clean and Efficient Trucks, was organized by CalHEAT: the California Hybrid, Efficient and Advanced Truck Research Centre. CalHEAT is a project of CALSTART – a California, member-based organization of over 140 firms, agencies and fleets worldwide that supports a growing high-tech, clean transportation industry.

“During the day-long dialogue among the industry, funding providers and regulators, ideas and actions were presented as to how best go forward to meet the state’s environmental goals as they relate to medium and heavy duty vehicles,” said Fred Silver, CALSTART Vice President and CalHEAT Program Director. “The Forum and the CalHEAT Roadmap are just the beginning of the process with much more yet to accomplish.”

Westport’s Mark Dunn, Senior Director of Technology, attended the forum and said the roadmap shows how crucial it is for the heavy duty truck segment to effectively reduce carbon and nitrogen oxides.

In California, for instance, there are 175,000 on road tractors that comprise 12 per cent of the truck population and emit 38 per cent of the state’s carbon emissions.

“It was a broad-based look with many contributing participants,” Dunn said of the roadmap. “It highlights how important natural gas is to reducing emissions in the trucking sector.”

The roadmap suggests various technology strategies to reduce emissions, including optimized engines for alternative fuel, improved truck aerodynamics, more efficient drivelines and the use of longer, heavier single trucks to cut down the overall number of trucks on the road.

The draft roadmap states:

Natural gas is an enabling fuel for meeting lower nitrogen oxide emissions, and will become increasingly important as the Southern California and the Central California valleys endeavor to meet strict ozone standards driving us towards zero and near zero emission solutions. 

“It’s really interesting,” Dunn said, “ten years ago, you didn’t hear these types of discussions happening.”

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