Pilot program uses BYD electric trucks to complete first- and last-mile deliveries to and from Embark transfer points in the Los Angeles area, eliminating greenhouse gas emissions and harmful pollutants.
SAN FRANCISCO – Embark Trucks Inc., a leading developer of self-driving software for the trucking industry, today announced a joint initiative with HP Inc. to combine electric and autonomous truck technology and create a more sustainable distribution network. The two companies launched an electric truck drayage pilot in the Los Angeles area, where local loads are hauled to and from Embark’s highway-adjacent transfer points using BYD 8TT electric trucks operated by human drivers, while the longer middle segment of the haul is completed autonomously by trucks equipped with the Embark Driver software.
This EV drayage pilot gives HP the ability to leverage electric trucks – which currently have a driving range best suited for drayage operations – in a meaningful way within its supply chain, seamlessly complementing the efficiencies provided by Embark-equipped autonomous trucks, which are 10% more fuel-efficient than human-operated trucks. Adopting both long-haul autonomous trucks and EV drayage enables HP to remove up to 50,000 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other pollutants from its distribution network over the next ten years, according to preliminary research by Embark.
The stakes are high. The greater Los Angeles area is a leading emitter of greenhouse gases and is especially affected by harmful diesel emissions. San Bernardino, home to much of Southern California’s trucking and warehouse infrastructure, had 130 bad air days for ozone pollution in 2020. In the South Coast Air Basin, heavy-duty vehicles like trucks contribute 32% of mobile source nitrogen oxide emissions that react in the atmosphere to form ozone and particulate matter. These pollutants are linked to respiratory and cardiovascular problems and other adverse health impacts that lead to serious medical conditions and premature deaths.
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Since May 2021, warehouses in the Inland Empire are subject to new air quality regulations meant to address these health concerns. Leveraging sustainable freight technologies like EVs and AVs is a key way to reduce emissions and ensure compliance with these rules.
“We’re excited to see innovative companies like HP, Embark, and BYD step up to help the State of California meet its ambitious emission reduction goals,” said Assembly Majority Leader Eloise Gomez Reyes. “With zero-emissions short-haul and autonomous long-haul trucks working in tandem, we’re improving air quality in California’s disadvantaged communities and addressing the climate crisis head-on.“
By working with innovative regional drayage providers like 4 Gen Logistics – which operates the BYD EV trucks used in the pilot – HP and Embark are aligning with the goals of local communities and local policymakers, working collaboratively to make Southern California cleaner, safer, and healthier.
“We’re combining the best of both worlds with this partnership, pairing the middle-mile strengths of autonomous trucks with the sustainability benefits of electric trucks in urban road settings,” said Alex Rodrigues, CEO of Embark. “Autonomous and electric trucks represent a powerful tool for companies like HP to help the trucking industry reduce harmful diesel emissions while continuing to deliver goods to the businesses and consumers who need them.”
HP joined Embark’s Partner Development Program in May 2021, with the intent of piloting a program for autonomous trucks as an element in achieving its broader carbon footprint and sustainability goals. Embark-equipped trucks offer better fuel economy, less idling, and the creation of EV drayage opportunities with Embark’s highway-adjacent transfer points. Since announcing the partnership, Embark and HP have delivered regular weekly hauls of hardware between HP’s Los Angeles and Phoenix distribution facilities.
“HP’s goal is to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions across our value chain by 2040,” said Jessica Kipp, Global Head of WW Logistics, HP. “We’re driving innovative solutions with the support of partners like Embark and BYD to reduce the environmental impact of traditional trucks within our supply chain while increasing speed and efficiency for customers.”
Embark’s transfer point model, with its short first-mile and last-mile legs in urban environments, offers the perfect opportunity for shippers like HP to utilize BYD’s electric trucks, eliminating smog, diesel-emitted NO2, and CO2 emissions in cities.
“BYD is excited to be part of this creative solution to decrease emissions from freight movement that pollute the air and harm vulnerable communities,” said Vincent Pellecchia, Strategic Account Manager of BYD Motors. “As the global leader in the deployment of medium and heavy-duty electric vehicles, BYD is committed to reducing air pollution and fighting climate change. By working with Embark, we’re giving storied companies like HP the tools they need to create sustainable supply chains end-to-end.”
This EV drayage pilot marks another key milestone for Embark as the company works toward its timeline of commercializing autonomous trucks by 2024. In June 2021, Embark unveiled its go-to-market strategy and entered into a definitive business combination agreement with Northern Genesis Acquisition Corp. II (NYSE: NGAB) (“Northern Genesis 2”). Upon closing of the proposed business combination in the second half of 2021, subject to a vote by the shareholders of Northern Genesis Acquisition Corp. II, Embark will become a publicly-traded company and will list on the NASDAQ under the ticker symbol “EMBK.”