Cross-border record breaker: First electric truck crosses into Mexico

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Updated Apr 16, 2024
Peterbilt electric truck
San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) and Bali Express Thursday crossed a Class 8 heavy-duty electric freight truck from the U.S. into Mexico.

Nearly 35,000 trucks cross the Mexico-U.S. border every day, according to the Department of Transportation, but exactly one of them was electric. San Diego-based Bali Express last week became the first carrier to take a Class 8 heavy-duty electric freight truck – a Peterbilt Model 579EVs – from the U.S. into Mexico, passing through the Otay Mesa Port of Entry, connecting Southern California to Tijuana.

San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) recently built and installed charging infrastructure to provide reliable and accessible charging options for medium- and heavy-duty electric freight trucks crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. The chargers were partially funded by a $200,000 grant through the California Energy Commission's Clean Transportation Program, which has provided more than $1 billion to alternative fuel and vehicle technology projects that are designed to deliver health, environmental and economic benefits to communities.

"We are thrilled to be working with SDG&E in this historic endeavor," said Juan Baez, owner of Bali Express. "By adding electric freight trucks, we are not only reducing our carbon footprint but also leading the way towards a more sustainable future for freight transportation on both sides of the border. We're proud to be a leader in this transition and excited about the first ever crossing."

San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria said the historic crossing of the electric truck symbolizes San Diego's commitment to innovation, cross-border cooperation and its binational community. "We're not just reducing emissions; we're building a cleaner future for the people who live near our border and leading the way on international trade and environmental responsibility," he said. 

San Diego County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Nora Vargas – California Governor Gavin Newsom's appointee to the California Air Resources Board – emphasized the importance of reducing emissions in border communities while also growing the economy. 

"As a fronteriza, I am thrilled that we're moving forward with the use of bold and innovative energy technology that helps reduce air pollution, offers sustainable cross-border freight transportation, and strengthens our binational and interdependent economy," said Vargas. "I know the binational region firsthand, and this is a great example of the kind of public-private partnerships can improve air quality and promote economic prosperity for the binational region. As the Supervisor for border communities, I am proud and excited that we are moving toward a cleaner, greener and more prosperous future."

Hydrogen Fuel Cell & BEV Survey
The following survey was sent as a link in an email cover message in February 2023 to the newsletter lists for Overdrive and CCJ. After approximately two weeks, a total of 176 owner-operators under their own authority, 113 owner-operators leased or assigned to a carrier and 82 fleet executives and 36 fleet employees from fleets with 10 or more power units had completed and submitted the questionnaire for a total of 407 qualified responses. Cross-tabulations based on respondent type are provided for each question when applicable.
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