Money available to fund greener and more efficient trucks and buses

Medium- to heavy-duty vehicle owners in New York, Chicago and California may not know it, but they have access to significant funding for cleaner and alternative fuel vehicles. CALSTART, a national non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the commercialization of clean vehicle technologies, is currently managing three state incentive programs that offer attractive incentives to help buy down the incremental cost of an alternative fuel vehicle.

Alycia Gilde, who oversees CALSTART’s east coast initiatives including the management of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority’s (NYSERDA) $19 million incentive program, says, “voucher incentive programs are designed to accelerate the process in which fleets can apply for funding and get cleaner, smarter and more efficient vehicles on the road. By using a point-of-sale voucher approach, vehicle owners can receive an incentive without having to go through a lengthy rebate or application process.” 

The three state and city incentive programs, New York Truck – Voucher Incentive Program (NYT-VIP), Drive Clean Chicago (DCC) and the California Hybrid and Zero Emission Truck and Bus Incentive Program (HVIP) all have similar objectives: promote the adoption of alternative fuel vehicles, reduce dependence on petroleum, and help improve air quality. Although each program is designed similarly by using a point-of-purchase voucher, funding amounts, vehicle class size, technologies and eligibility do differ slightly.

Drive Clean Chicago is the most recently launched $11,295,000 fund, covering Metro Chicago’s Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will counties. The City of Chicago program offers fleet owners of Class 2 to Class 8 vehicles up to 80 percent of the incremental cost of all-electric and hybrid trucks and buses including drive train retrofits. Now six months after the first voucher was requested, DCC has allocated 10 percent of the total program funding for the program’s Drive Clean Truck – Voucher Fund. Additional incentives will be available through DCC’s taxi and infrastructure voucher funds.

In New York, the $19 million NYT-VIP is offering three unique program funds for Class 3 to Class 8 vehicle owners including a $9 million for electric vehicles, $6 million for alternative fuel vehicles such as natural gas, and $4 million to deploy diesel emission reduction technologies. Eligible applicants include public, private and non-profit fleets that operate 70 percent of the time in the state’s 30 non-attainment counties.

Leading the way in providing the most funding for clean medium- and heavy-duty vehicles in the U.S. is the California HVIP. Since HVIP started in 2010, the California Air Resources Board (ARB) has funded $59 million in vouchers for over 2,000 Class 2 to Class 8 all-electric and hybrid trucks and buses. ARB recently allocated an additional $9 million for this year’s project to bring available remaining voucher funding to $10 million.

To streamline the process for fleets, each program requires a program-approved vendor (dealer) submit a voucher request on behalf of an end-user. “CALSTART trains each dealer on the requirements of the program, the necessary paper work, and the timeline to ensure a quick turnaround on funds. The dealers become the local sales force for the program because in the end, they’re the ones getting reimbursed the incentive,” said Gilde. Once CALSTART confirms the vehicle is in the hands of the new owner and all the appropriate documentation has been submitted to the Voucher Processing Center, the payment is then sent to the vendor within five business days. Gilde says, “The incentive programs are designed to be a win-win for everyone.”

CALSTART and the Environmental Defense Fund encourage you to check out these incentive programs.

New York Truck – Voucher Incentive Program (NYT-VIP) -

Drive Clean

California Hybrid and Zero Emission Truck and Bus Incentive Program (HVIP) -

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