When it comes funding low and zero-emissions truck fleets, California is the gold standard. The state offers one out of every three of the approximately 300 incentive programs in the U.S. and Canada that cover vehicles, infrastructure, renewable fuels, and power generation.
“We kind of treat California as its own kind of nation-state in terms of incentives,” said Joe Annotti, vice president at clean energy consulting firm Gladstein, Neandross & Associates. “Generally, we look at north of $1 billion in incentives for clean transportation projects on an annual basis.”
Annotti detailed the ways fleets and carriers can overcome the speed bumps and quickly take advantage of this funding in a recent Advanced Clean Tech (ACT) News webinar called “How to Create a Competitive Funding Application.”
The primary reason to go after the piles of public and private cash is to start meeting California’s strict emissions goals laid out by Assembly Bill 32 (2006) and Senate Bill 32 (2016). The legislation calls for incremental decreases in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. If successful, by 2050 the state’s GHG levels will be 80% of those in 1990. SB 32 called for a 40% drop by 2030.
Those lofty targets might seem too high with potential economic setbacks created by the COVID-19 pandemic, but they were instituted to inspire change.
“If California stopped all of our emissions tomorrow, it really wouldn’t change the global warming picture in a physical sense,” said Jeffery Greenblatt, staff scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, to The Sacramento Bee in 2016, after SB 32 was signed into law. “But we set a huge political example.”
There’s evidence this may have worked. A recent Samsara survey indicated 90% of respondents believed “EVs [electric vehicles] are the inevitable future for commercial fleets,” while 82% expect one in four of their vehicles will be an EV by 2030 at the latest.
The intersection of politics and business is a convoluted one, with funding streams coming from every which way, each with different criteria and a mess of applications to fill out. Annotti pointed out there are grants, rebates, vouchers, tax incentives, and cooperative agreements. And they might fund anything from the construction of electric vehicle charging stations or solar power generators, to battery-electric trucks, to compressed natural gas vehicles.
Instead of focusing on all the promising projects available and going after the highest dollar amount, Annotti explained the best strategy is to focus on specific fleet goals and go from there. He warned against trying to develop the product concept to fit a funding opportunity.
“You want to have what’s best for you and what’s best for your project in mind first, and then shop that,” he advised.
Individual fleet needs vary wildly, but each project should put the company in the best position to meet the needs of the customer, while also fulfilling state and federal regulations and providing an economic benefit. Once that is figured out, the next step is to decide what type of funding is the best fit.
Federal dollars are usually for research and development and pilot projects, while state funds focus on vehicles and infrastructure. The local level may have more funding opportunities, but with less money to offer.
Whatever a fleet decides, there are truckloads of “free” money out there, each with specific strings attached. A funding agency may seed a project with grant dollars or reimburse based on personal skin in the game. This could mean a $250,000 return on a $1 million project invoice, or the money could be dependent on engineering hours spent.
Grants are usually large-scale and done on a reimbursement basis, and rebates are done on a per-vehicle basis. If the goal is to put vehicles on the road, grants, rebate vouchers and tax incentives will be suitable, Annotti said.
In California, the Carl Moyer Program from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District has $50 million available, with a maximum of $200,000 per EV. California’s pot of the Volkswagen Settlement Program, which is part of the larger national settlement reached for the diesel-emissions scandal, is $423 million, with $90 million allocated for zero-emissions trucks. The first $30 million is set to open Q2 2020.
This is the Volkswagen Settlement Program’s funding allocation for California. Infographic: PG&E
Keep in mind, reporting will be a big part of the funding. Proof of mileage reports and fuel or kilowatt consumption will need to be meticulously tracked.
Once the level of funding is decided, applicants must read the fine print in terms of eligibility to prevent them from wasting valuable time on the wrong funding opportunity.
“If you’re trying to shoehorn a vehicle deployment project into an infrastructure funding opportunity, you’ve sort of misunderstood the eligibility,” Annotti said.
He said to scrutinize the type of eligible fleets and regions as well. Some might only be for public fleets or school districts, or for vehicles that run a certain amount of time within an air quality district or the state itself.
Timing also matters. If a fleet plans on using a fuel cell electric truck not due out until 2023, but the vehicle deployment must begin in 2022, obviously that wouldn’t work. As far as timing for the application review, this can take two to three months for the state agency or air district, plus another two to three months to examine and give the reward.
The final consideration is scoring. This is a competition among dozens of other qualified suitors. But trucking is all about finding a competitive edge.
“RFPs will often come with very specific scoring criteria,” Annotti said. “You get 20 points for NOx cost-effectiveness, so you get 10 points for a geographic requirement. So, writing to and appealing to those specific scoring criteria is the best approach to making sure that it’s the right opportunity for you.”
It’s also prudent to do some research on previous award recipients.
“Go out and look at their winner’s circle from past rounds, and you’ll get a really good sense of their style of funding,” Annotti said.
The overall message is also vitally important: Know your audience.
“If you’re applying for an economic development grants, you don’t necessarily want to be touting the environmental benefits of your project,” Annotti said. “You instead want to talk about cost-effectiveness, and how you’ll leverage, financial third-party investment. On the flip side of that, if you’re applying to an environmental agency, air quality, environment, and water quality should be front and center.”
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Otherwise attempt to interfere with the proper working of the VW Portal website.
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Information We Collect
GNA collects information to provide better services to our clients, vendors, attendees, and e-newsletter subscribers.
We collect information in two ways:
Information you give us. For example, when you register for one of our events or sign up for one of our e-newsletters, we ask you for your contact information.
Information we get from your use of our services. When you view content provided by GNA, we may automatically collect and store certain information in server logs. This may include:
Details of how you used our website, such as your search queries.
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How We Use Information We Collect
We use the information we collect from all of our services to maintain and improve them, to develop new ones, and to protect GNA and our website users.
If you decide to opt-in to our mailing list, you may receive emails about our services and events, company announcements, and related product or service information, etc. If at any time you would like to unsubscribe from receiving future emails, we include an unsubscribe function at the bottom of every GNA-produced email.
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People have different privacy concerns. Our goal is to be clear about what information we collect, so that you can make meaningful choices about how it is used. You may also set your browser to block all cookies, including cookies associated with our services, or to indicate when a cookie is being set by us.
We work hard to protect GNA and our users from unauthorized access to or unauthorized alteration, disclosure or destruction of information we hold. In particular:
We encrypt many of our websites and services using SSL.
We review our information collection, storage and processing practices, including physical security measures, to guard against unauthorized access to systems.
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If you turn cookies off, some of the features that make your site experience more efficient may not function properly. It won’t affect the user’s experience that make your site experience more efficient and may not function properly.
We do not sell, trade, or otherwise transfer to outside parties your Personally Identifiable Information unless we provide users with advance notice. This does not include website hosting partners and other parties who assist us in operating our website, conducting our business, or serving our users, so long as those parties agree to keep this information confidential. We may also release information when it’s release is appropriate to comply with the law, enforce our site policies, or protect ours or others’ rights, property or safety.
However, non-personally identifiable visitor information may be provided to other parties for marketing, advertising, or other uses.
We do not include or offer third-party products or services on our website.
We have not enabled Google AdSense on our site but we may do so in the future.
General Data Protection Regulation
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is designed to protect the privacy of persons in the European Union and give them control over how their personal data is process, collected, stored, and used.
To be in accordance with GDPR, we agree to the following:
To only collect personal data in order to better services to our clients, vendors, attendees, and e-newsletter subscribers
To never sell, trade, or otherwise transfer to outside parties your Personally Identifiable Information unless we provide advance notice
To provide individuals the right to request information being held about them
To erase all personal data stored about an individual if the user makes a request to do so
California Online Privacy Protection Act
According to CalOPPA, we agree to the following:
Can change your personal information:
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How does our site handle Do Not Track signals?
We honor Do Not Track signals and Do Not Track, plant cookies, or use advertising when a Do Not Track (DNT) browser mechanism is in place.
Does our site allow third-party behavioral tracking?
It’s also important to note that we do not allow third-party behavioral tracking
COPPA (Children Online Privacy Protection Act)
When it comes to the collection of personal information from children under the age of 13 years old, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) puts parents in control. The Federal Trade Commission, United States’ consumer protection agency, enforces the COPPA Rule, which spells out what operators of websites and online services must do to protect children’s privacy and safety online.
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Fair Information Practices
The Fair Information Practices Principles form the backbone of privacy law in the United States and the concepts they include have played a significant role in the development of data protection laws around the globe. Understanding the Fair Information Practice Principles and how they should be implemented is critical to comply with the various privacy laws that protect personal information.
In order to be in line with Fair Information Practices we will take the following responsive action, should a data breach occur:
We will notify you via email
Within 7 business days
We will notify the users via in-site notification
Within 7 business days
We also agree to the Individual Redress Principle which requires that individuals have the right to legally pursue enforceable rights against data collectors and processors who fail to adhere to the law. This principle requires not only that individuals have enforceable rights against data users, but also that individuals have recourse to courts or government agencies to investigate and/or prosecute non-compliance by data processors.
CAN SPAM Act
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We collect your email address in order to:
Send information, respond to inquiries, and/or other requests or questions
Process orders and to send information and updates pertaining to orders.
Send you additional information related to your product and/or service
Market to our mailing list or continue to send emails to our clients after the original transaction has occurred.
To be in accordance with CANSPAM, we agree to the following:
Not use false or misleading subjects or email addresses.
Identify the message as an advertisement in some reasonable way.
Include the physical address of our business or site headquarters.
Monitor third-party email marketing services for compliance, if one is used.
Honor opt-out/unsubscribe requests quickly.
Allow users to unsubscribe by using the link at the bottom of each email.
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