SAN PEDRO, CA – Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa recently joined officials from the Port of Los Angeles and South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) for the introduction of a new, powerful electric truck. Soon, the local manufacturer of this emissions-free truck will open an assembly plant in the Harbor City area of Los Angeles, with 47 employees and the potential to bring more jobs and millions in business and tax revenue to the City of Los Angeles.


After two months of intense testing, port officials rolled out the Nautilus E30, a new electric short-haul truck developed by Santa Ana-based Balqon Corp. Port officials hope to eventually expand their “green fleet” of electric vehicles as a way to reduce harmful pollutants generated by port operations.

Built as a demonstration project co-funded by the Port and SCAQMD, and designed specifically for short-haul or “drayage” operations, this electric tractor was the result of nearly a year of development and testing. The heavy-duty electric short-haul drayage truck — the first of its kind at any port worldwide — can pull a 60,000-pound cargo container at a top speed of 40 mph, and has a range between 30 to 60 miles per battery charge. The battery charger can charge up to four electric trucks simultaneously in four hours and can also provide up to 60 percent of the charge in one hour to meet peak demands during daily operations. To see video of the truck, go to

The prototype truck was developed over the past year by Balqon as part of a $527,000 grant program funded by the port and the South Coast Air Quality Management District. The port’s new truck runs on a rechargeable lead-acid battery, which takes up to four hours to load and is considered to be cheaper and easier to change than other batteries that were developed for electric vehicles.

Initial tests show that the truck can haul up to 77,000 pounds and is expected to have a 15-year life span.

The Board of Harbor Commissioners agreed last month to purchase five of the electric trucks at a cost of $208,500 each, along with $542,250 worth of chargers and battery packs from Balqon Corp. Port officials also agreed to purchase 20 of the Nautilus E20 electric yard tractors from Balqon at a cost of $189,950 apiece.

As part of the agreement, Balqon agreed to move its operations next month from Santa Ana to Harbor City, where the electric trucks will be manufactured about three miles from the port’s maintenance building, according to the report. The port also will receive $1,000 for every truck sold to other companies and government agencies, and the money will be placed in a technology fund that the port will use to invest in future projects aimed at cleaning up operations.