The Baker-Polito Administration is awarding $1 million in funding to support fleet managers as they plan for and procure medium- and heavy-duty (MHD) electric vehicle fleets.
The funding, made available through the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center’s (MassCEC) Vehicle Electrification Advisory Services for Fleets Pilot Program, was awarded to CALSTART Inc. to serve as the lead technical consultant providing advisory services to private and commercial fleet managers interested in electrification. The program will address a major barrier to fleet electrification by providing fleet managers with necessary technical services and promoting the use of Massachusetts Offers Rebates for Electric Vehicles (MOR-EV) Truck Program incentive funds.
“In order to meet the Commonwealth’s net-zero emissions goal by 2050, we need large scale adoption of clean transportation that is accessible to all residents and business owners across the state,” states Gov. Charlie Baker. “Providing technical support to electrify our fleets directly benefits vehicle owners and operators, as well as populations who disproportionately bear the burden of air pollution from diesel vehicles.”
“Businesses across the Commonwealth are a key part of the effort to decarbonize transportation,” says Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito. “This program will play a crucial role in providing support for small and locally owned businesses to ensure they have the resources needed to plan for and pursue clean transportation options.”
CALSTART Inc., alongside its partners PowerOptions, Microgrid Labs, Center for Sustainable Energy, Industrial Economics and Eversource, will assist fleet managers through multiple stages of electrification planning from data collection through to procurement. The program aims to not only lower the overall vehicle costs of ownership and assist participating fleet managers through the conversion process, but it will also promote wide-scale market interest in fleet electrification.
“The transportation sector provides significant potential for large-scale rapid electrification of both passenger and medium- and heavy-duty vehicles,” comments Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides. “Demonstrating the type of electrification assistance needed will provide a model for full-scale support of commercial fleet electrification.”
Fleet electrification is an essential step in reaching Massachusetts’ climate, transportation, and equity goals. Emissions from diesel fleet vehicles result in poor air quality and adverse public health outcomes, including asthma and other respiratory diseases, which are felt most acutely in Environmental Justice (EJ) communities and communities of color. The Commonwealth’s Interim Clean Energy and Climate Plan for 2030 (CECP) identifies pilot MHD electrification programs as a key strategy in reaching transportation emission goals within the next ten years. MassCEC’s Program aims to provide best practices for a successful MHD vehicle electrification program model that can be replicated and scaled across the Commonwealth.
“Offering vehicle electrification planning services to Massachusetts fleets will facilitate the collaboration between the public and private sector that is necessary for achieving our climate goals,” adds MassCEC CEO Jennifer Daloisio. “By focusing on fleets in environmental justice communities and those owned or operated by underrepresented businesses, we have the opportunity to reduce air pollution and related health impacts while supporting Massachusetts businesses as they transition to clean transportation.”
The CECP commits the Commonwealth to pursuing decarbonization strategies that also assist in closing the health and economic disparities experienced in environmental justice (EJ) communities and communities of color. In line with these goals, recruitment of fleets for the program will emphasize both fleets that are located or operating in EJ communities and fleets that are owned or operated by historically underrepresented and under-served businesses, such as minority-, women-, and veteran-owned businesses or rural businesses.
“MassCEC’s Program provides an avenue for fleet managers to plan for and explore vehicle electrification inventory options, financing models, and procurement planning at no cost,” says Department of Energy Resources (DOER) Commissioner Patrick Woodcock. “Equipping fleet managers with the tools necessary for converting fleets to electric will empower them to take advantage of additional state resources, such as the MOR-EV Truck incentive funding.”
“CALSTART is excited to bring zero-emission transportation within reach for Massachusetts fleet operators by offering advisory services in partnership with MassCEC,” states Benjamin Mandel, CALSTART’s Northeast regional director. “Working with a team of specialized partners including PowerOptions, Center for Sustainable Energy, Industrial Economics, Microgrid Labs and Eversource, our team will be able to structure and demystify the fleet electrification process and accelerate progress toward the Commonwealth’s objectives.”
Recruitment of fleets into the Program will begin in February 2022. Depending on fleet needs and electrification readiness, CALSTART Inc. will provide a standardized needs analysis and next steps report, a feasibility design report including financial modeling and procurement plans, and ongoing support and reporting for fleets that continue on to vehicle procurement.
Interested fleets must be private, or commercially owned and operated; have a minimum of three vehicles per fleet with at least one vehicle being MHD; have a vehicle depot located in Massachusetts with vehicles actively operating in the state; and eligible to receive MOR-EV Truck incentive funding for at least one vehicle.