California Plans $415 Million To Fund Clean Trucks, Freight Handling

September 28, 2018 by John O'Dell

California air quality regulators have approved $150 million in grants for projects that will put at least 187 zero-emission medium- and heavy-duty trucks into service over the next several years.

An additional $55 million in grant funding for the projects will be considered at the California Air Resources Board’s October meeting.

Matching funds from participants in the 11 approved projects will boost the total investment to $415 million.

The projects will fund 156 battery electric trucks and 31 hydrogen fuel cell trucks, as well as several electric locomotives and a wide range of zero-emission freight handling equipment.

“These types of grants could be critical for U.S. electric vehicle manufacturers in what they see as leveling the playing field,” Michael Held, a director in AlixPartners’ automotive practice, told Trucks.com. Such grants are “tried-and-true” technology boosters in many countries, he said.

With the new projects, California “is showing what can be done when government and the private sector combine forces to drive technology and innovation,” said Mary Nichols, the air board’s chairwoman.

The grants are funded largely from proceeds of CO2 emission permits auctioned under the state’s Cap-and-Trade program.

Many of the new projects will be centered at or around the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, but also include programs in San Francisco and the San Joaquin Valley as well.

Participating truck builders include Kenworth, Peterbilt, Tesla, Toyota and Volvo. Truck makers for many of the projects have not yet been identified.

The Big Three

The largest of the 11 projects is a $102.9-million Sustainable Terminals plan centered at the Port of Long Beach. CARB approved $50 million, with project participants kicking in an additional $52.9 million.

The funding is for the first phase, to deploy 15 zero-emission Class 8 trucks, 38 battery-electric yard tractors, a hybrid tugboat and numerous other pieces of low- and zero-emissions port-related equipment. The ports of Oakland and Stockton will receive some of the equipment.

In the second-largest project, valued at $90.7 million, Volvo will deploy 23 battery-electric Class 8 trucks at freight facilities in several Southern California cities that serve as warehousing centers for the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports.

The Volvo Low-Impact Green Heavy Transport Solutions project received a $44.8-million grant and $45.9 million from project participants. It also will deploy 24 zero-emission forklifts and 58 battery charging stations at the various facilities.

Toyota and Kenworth are partnering in an $82.5-million Shore-to-Shore project at the Port of Los Angeles. It will see deployment of 10 Class 8 fuel cell trucks using Kenworth chassis and hydrogen fuel cell powertrains developed by Toyota. The grant is for $41 million. 

In order of total funding, the other projects are:

Flexible Solutions for Freight Facilities: $45.6 million for the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District project to deploy and demonstrate a battery-electric locomotive, a zero-emission drayage truck, several electric cranes and other freight handling equipment at several rail yards. $22.6 million is from the air board grant.

Transformative Zero- and Near-Zero Emission Freight Facility: The $30.8-million project will help snack foods maker Frito-Lay add 38 low-NOx, or nitrogen oxides emission, natural gas trucks and 15 Tesla and six Peterbilt battery-electric trucks at its Modesto facility. The grant covered half the cost.

Zero Emissions for California Ports: The Gas Technology Institute intends to deploy two fuel cell yard tractors at the Port of Los Angeles in this $14.3-million project. The CARB grant will cover $8 million.

Zero-Emission Beverage Handling and Distribution at Scale: This is an $11.3-million expansion of a UPS project to slash emissions at its facility in Ontario, Calif. It will add 15 new zero-emissions trucks to the UPS fleet. The CARB grant is for $4.3 million.

Next-Generation Fuel Cell Delivery Van Deployment: $11.2 million for four fuel cell delivery vans for UPS at its Chino, Calif., facility. $5.4 million is from the air board grant.

Fuel Cell Hybrid Electric Delivery Van Deployment: This $9.5-million project also is in partnership with UPS, for 15 fuel cell vans for the Chino distribution facility.

Zero Emission from Farm to Table: A $9.2-million project, half from the air board, to demonstrate 30 medium- and heavy-duty zero-emission trucks on routes between the San Joaquin Valley and the San Francisco Bay Area.

The project will include installation of an unspecified number of electric vehicle fast-charging stations in Sacramento and San Francisco.

Net-Zero Farming and Freight Facility: The $6.6-million project, half from the air board, will deploy five battery-electric Class 7 refrigerated trucks to haul fresh fruit from the San Joaquin Valley.

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