Hybrid 'trolley trucks' debut in Port of LA, Long Beach

As he sat in the driver's seat of the big electric cab known as an E-CAT, Kay Rausch proudly spoke of the fully electric vehicle.

Rausch is the port manager for the German company Siemens which has undertaken a project to experiment with Trolley-like big rigs. He says it's important "for us it's important to give Southern California better air."

Siemens is one of a number of agencies working toward finding ways to clean our air from the truckloads of emissions filling - it as trucks move back and forth from the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles.

The company, in conjunction with local agencies, has set up an "e-highway" at Alameda and Sepulveda. It's about a mile long and has streetcar-like cables that reach upward.

The experiment has a price tag of 14-million dollars or so. Kome Ajise with the Southern California Association of Governments says, "I think its an innovative transformative project potentially."

Is it practical? Could it be widely used across Southern California? Says Ajisa, "Oh that's part of what we're trying to find out."

Southern California Air Quality Management District is a stakeholder in this project. Patrick Chandler says these "e-rigs" are being used in Europe and so it's doable. How bad is our air? Says Chandler, "We're still getting a lot of nitrous oxide from this area so we still have a long way to go."

Rick Cameron with the Port of Long Beach says "this project is huge." Cameron says, just last week the two boards of the ports adopted the cleaner action plan and this is a perfect example of getting to a cleaner air by 2035.

Electrifying trucks from above. Powering trucks without recharging. Some say an E-highway is simply more efficient and better for us all.

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