Cal Energy Commission approves >$10M in grants for medium- and heavy-duty battery-electric and fuel cell vehicle projects
The California Energy Commission approved more than $10 million in grants for four projects demonstrating advanced medium- and heavy-duty vehicle technologies utilizing battery-electric or fuel-cell electric powertrains that will enhance market acceptance and lead to vehicle production and commercialization. Scoring preferences were provided to projects located in disadvantaged communities.
The Energy Commission also awarded $3.6 million to the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory to provide technical support for the state’s Zero-Emission Vehicle Action Plan, to assess the benefits of the Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program (ARFVTP) and to review proposals for hydrogen fueling stations.
The ARFVTP projects include:
$2.9 million to CALSTART, Inc. to build and test four 33-foot BYD battery-electric buses in Los Angeles. The buses will be built at the permitted BYD facility and the demonstration will occur in disadvantaged communities of Los Angeles as part of the Los Angeles Department of Transportation fleet.
$2.8 million to Motiv Power Systems, Inc., to build and test 5 Class C battery-electric school buses in Reedley, Colton and Los Angeles. The buses will be electric versions of the Starcraft Quest XL (“eQuest”) bus platform.
$2.6 million to Hydrogenics USA Inc., for an advanced fuel-cell Class 8 drayage truck to transport containers from ports in Los Angeles and Long Beach along a 150-mile loop to a rail network and $2.1 million for an advanced fuel-cell bus (New Flyer bus platform, Siemens drive system) to be tested in the Coachella Valley.
These clean energy, zero-emission projects will be demonstrated in economically distressed areas that may benefit from additional jobs the projects will create.
Also during the business meeting, the Energy Commission provided a $2-million no-interest loan to the Salida Union School District to install energy efficiency measures and photovoltaic panels at four district schools. The project will save the district more than $100,000 annually in energy costs and will be repaid in about 20 years. San Diego County’s North County Fire Protection District received a $227,000 loan at one-percent interest to install photovoltaic panels at a fire station. The project will save the district about $16,400 annually in energy costs and will be repaid in about 14 years.
The Energy Commission also approved two provisional contracts to administer the Water Energy Technology (WET) program and a statewide water-reducing, energy-saving appliance rebate program. Two contracts totaling $375,000 will provide technical support for the WET program, which will fund innovative technologies that offer significant water and energy savings and greenhouse gas reductions in agricultural, industrial, commercial and residential sectors.
The other contract, for up to $20 million, was provisionally granted to the Electric and Gas Industries Association to administer the water appliance rebate program. These contracts are contingent on funding now pending before the state Legislature. The creation of the WET and rebate programs are in direct response to Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr.’s April executive order proclaiming a state emergency because of the drought.