California ARB posts discussion document on $500M FY 2016-17 spend for low carbon transportation and fuels;$230M to fund CVRP

28 March 2016

The California Air Resources Board (ARB) staff has posted a discussion document prior to a 4 April 2016 public workshop on the development of the FY 2016-17 Funding Plan for Low Carbon Transportation and Fuels Investments and AQIP.

The Governor’s proposed 2016-17 budget would appropriate to ARB $500 million in Cap-and-Trade auction proceeds for Low Carbon Transportation and Fuels investments—including$40 million for very low carbon fuel production incentives—and $28.6 million for Air Quality Improvement Program (AQIP) projects. At least 50% of these Low Carbon Transportation funds would be invested to benefit disadvantaged communities and at least 10% would be invested directly in disadvantaged communities. The Fiscal Year (FY) 2016-17 Funding Plan for Low-Carbon Transportation and Fuels Investments and AQIP (FY 2016-17 Funding Plan) under development describes how these funds would be spent. The Cap-and-Trade auction proceeds provide funding for ARB’s advanced technology, clean transportation incentive programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, expanding the types of projects ARB has funded in the past through AQIP. ARB intends these investments to accelerate the transition to low carbon freight and passenger transportation, with an emphasis on low carbon freight and passenger transportation investments that benefit disadvantaged communities. AQIP is a mobile source incentive program that focuses on reducing criteria pollutant and diesel particulate emissions with concurrent reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. The discussion document summarizes ARB staff’s work to-date and the draft recommendations for the FY 2016-17 Funding Plan. It is organized into two parts: • Draft Funding Plan Recommendations—staff recommendations on the project categories and funding allocations for the FY 2016-17 cycle. • Long-Term Plan for the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP) and Light- Duty Incentives—work to-date on the long-term plan required by Senate Bill (SB) 1275 (De León, Chapter 530, Statutes of 2014). Of the proposed uses of the$500-million investment, almost half ($230 million) is targeted for the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP). Of the$230 million, $55 million is slated to satisfy remaining FY 2015-16 demand (through Sept 2016), and$175 million for the period from Oct 2016-Sept 2017.

CVRP offers vehicle rebates on a first-come, first-served basis for light-duty ZEVs, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), zero-emission motorcycles, and neighborhood electric vehicles.

Rebate amounts are $2,500 for battery electric vehicles (BEVs);$1,500 for PHEVs; $5,000 for fuel cell electric vehicles; and$900 for zero-emission motorcycles and neighborhood electric vehicles.

At the end of March 2016, rebate amounts will increase for lower-income consumers (with household incomes of less than or equal to 300% of the federal poverty level) to $4,000 for BEVs;$3,000 for PHEVs; and $6,500 for fuel cell electric vehicles. An income cap will be instituted to exclude higher income consumers at the same time. The cap will exclude from CVRP individuals with gross annual incomes greater than$250,000, head-of-household filers with gross incomes greater than $340,000, and joint filers with gross incomes greater than$500,000.

Fuel cell vehicles are temporarily exempt from the income cap because these vehicles are in a much earlier stage of commercialization than BEVs or PHEVs. Staff has committed to re-evaluate these provisions annually. As of February 2016, CVRP has only issued rebates for about 150 fuel cell vehicles. Accordingly, staff believes the higher rebate level and temporary delay of the income cap for these vehicles should remain in place and recommends no changes to these provisions for FY 2016-17.

As of 1 February 2016, CVRP has provided rebates for about 137,000 vehicles at a cost of more than \$291 million since the project’s launch in 2010.

We should stop using the tax payers’ money on anything that involves a combustion engine as these engines are part of the problem not part of the solution. Spend the money promoting the development and deployment of self-driving cars and better battery technology. That may speed up the transition to self-driving battery electric vehicles of all sorts.

The most important issue is the development and the deployment of self-driving vehicles. If we could make that happen then today’s battery tech and prices for batteries will already be good enough for BEVs to take over from combustion vehicles. BEVs have high manufacturing costs because of the batteries but they can easily be made to drive a million miles without major repair because some batteries can do 10s of thousands of cycles and electric motors are almost unbreakable when made to last. Combustion engines needs replacement after 200,000 to 300,000 miles.

The high capital cost of battery electric vehicles is overcome by driving them over 100,000 miles per year. This can only be done when they are self-driving and can drive 7/24 all year around. For comparison a human operated taxi typically only do 40,000 to 50,000 miles per year and cost far more to operate because of the human driver and because such taxies need to be a large 5 seaters even though most transports are for one passenger only. Self-driving taxis can be two seaters with space for either two people with handbags or one person with a lot of luggage to fit on second passenger sear that automatically fold down when the taxi is ordered for one with luggage.

One more thing. The most common self-driving taxi will IMO be a 2 seater using a tandem design to get the lowest air drag and the highest mileage per kwh. It will also use an automatic falcon door but only in one side and covering both passenger seats to save money when manufacturing these self-driving taxis. For emergency exits the car should be able to blow open the other side of the car if ever needed.

Good ideas Henrik.

However, autonomous drive e-minibuses with UBER+ responding to multiple (up to 10+) demands could collect & transport more people from point A to point B with a lot less congestion, cost and acceptable delays.

Third class, standing only e-minibuses could easily take up to 20+ lower class-cost passengers.

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