The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has officially opened its $20-million Hybrid Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Program (HVIP) this week to help spur deployment of hybrid commercial vehicles on California’s roads.
The program – managed by the Pasadena, CA-based Clean Transportation Technologies and Solutions (CalStart) organization, which is comprised of more than 140 firms, fleets and agencies – offers funding incentives ranging from $10,000 to $45,000 per vehicle.
CARB said each vehicle purchaser, regardless of the size of their fleet, is limited to a maximum of 100 vouchers and is expected to put up to 800 vehicles on the road on a first-come, first-served basis.
“This is part of an aggressive approach to getting lower-polluting vehicles on the road more quickly,” noted Mary Nichols, CARB Chairman. “This will accelerate our progress in cleaning up the air we breathe and reaching our climate change reduction goals.”
Nichols said that hybrid vehicle technology can reduce truck and bus emissions by 20% to 50%, including gases that contribute to global warming and smog-forming emissions, while saving vehicle owners money in reduced fuel costs. She added that, on average, the program cuts about half the cost of purchasing road-ready hybrid trucks and buses.
CalStart is administering CARB’s HVIP via the website CaliforniaHVIP.org, which has been set up to support fleet, dealer and manufacturer involvement in the program. John Boesel, CalStart president & CEO, said all voucher applications will be submitted online by truck dealers working with truck buyers.
“HVIP will help put advanced, low-carbon and clean hybrid trucks and buses on the roads of California faster, assist state fleets to make an earlier transition to high-efficiency vehicles, and support the growth of the future green technology jobs our state needs,” Boesel stated.
Bill Van Amburg, CalStart senior vp, told FleetOwner that demand is very high for the $20 million in HVIP funds– noting that $5 million in funds went out the first day the program went active this week.
“This tells us that there is pent-up demand for hybrid trucks and buses out there,” Van Amburg said. “It also tells us that fleets see a business case for hybrids. If there wasn’t, fleets wouldn’t be requesting these funds – they’d be buying only one or two hybrid models, if that, because there is still incremental extra cost to handle even after the help lowering the initial purchase price.”
Helping reduce the front-end cost of hybrid trucks and buses, said Amburg, is what fleets said would be the most effective way to get these vehicles into their operations. “Give CARB credit here: they listened to the fleet advice on this and then went out and helped set the HVIP plan up,” he noted.
CARB stressed that eligibility for HVIP grants is based on the purchase of selected hybrid vehicles and that fleet owners must agree to register and operate the vehicle in California for at least three years.