CARB Celebrates 10 Years of Clean Vehicle Voucher Program

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The California Air Resources Board (CARB) is celebrating the 10-year anniversary of its Hybrid and Zero Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project, or HVIP.

CARB, along with CALSTART, Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia and SunLine Transit Agency, gathered on Friday at SunLine’s headquarters in Thousand Palms to honor the company as a hydrogen electric fuel cell trailblazer. The partners also celebrated the 10-year anniversary of the program, which has put almost 4,000 clean buses and trucks onto California streets and highways.

The voucher program offers discounts on clean vehicles for small-business owners, transit agencies, and large-fleet owners and managers.

“This is an exciting milestone as we strive to achieve California’s groundbreaking climate and public health goals,” said Garcia, ex officio member of CARB.

SunLine was the first fleet to request and redeem an HVIP discount for a hydrogen electric fuel cell vehicle; it has purchased and deployed five ElDorado fuel cell transit buses. The agency subsequently received voucher support for four BYD battery electric buses. Starting in 2018, the buses were put into service throughout the Coachella Valley. Combined with five New Flyer hydrogen fuel cell buses purchased in 2017 under a different CARB program, SunLine’s clean buses are expected to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by more than 4,000 metric tons annually, says CARB.

“We are honored to be recognized by CARB and CALSTART for being a pioneer in the development of hydrogen fuel cell bus technology,” said Lauren Skiver, CEO and general manager of SunLine. “The progress this agency has made in zero-emission technologies in the past 25 years has been made possible through integral grants and special programs such as those we’ve received from CARB and CALSTART, and it’s partnerships such as these that are making clean air milestones happen.”

“HVIP has played a crucial role in accelerating heavy-duty battery-electric technology and the development of engines with almost undetectable levels of smog-forming pollution,” said Richard Corey, CARB executive officer. “The program has also served to accelerate ultra-clean truck and bus technologies, supporting their commercialization and early market success. That puts thousands of the cleanest trucks and buses onto our streets and highways much sooner, especially in the communities that need them most.”

From the inception of HVIP in 2009, more than $447 million has been allocated to the program. Through May 2019, HVIP has committed to supporting the purchase of 2,500 zero-emission trucks and buses; over 2,600 hybrid trucks; over 1,800 low NOx engines; and 195 trucks outfitted with electric power take-off systems with vouchers requested by California fleets.

HVIP is administered by clean transportation nonprofit CALSTART and is part of California Climate Investments, a statewide initiative that puts cap-and-trade dollars to work reducing in greenhouse-gas emissions, strengthening the economy and improving public health and the environment – particularly in disadvantaged communities.

“HVIP is driving early market success in California for clean vehicle technologies that are highly transferable to other applications,” noted Tom Brotherton, director of market acceleration for CALSTART. “This early market success translates into accelerating commercialization of clean vehicle technologies, as well as lowered costs. California transit agencies, small businesses, and fleet owners and managers are benefiting from an economic perspective, and our citizens are benefiting from an air quality and climate perspective.”

Overall, according to CARB, the HVIP program has driven growth in the ultra-clean trucks market in California, helping to reduce air pollution and cut climate-changing gases, especially in communities suffering from high-volume traffic. More than 50% of vehicles purchased through the program are operating in communities disproportionately burdened by harmful air pollutants, says CARB.

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