California policymakers want feedback on how to make it easier to finance electric trucks, buses

Update: The California Air Resources Board is hosting a public work group meeting on May 4 at 1:00pm PST to discuss the new Proposed Zero Emission Loan Pilot within the Truck Loan Assistance Program. Stakeholder input is needed to determine how loans should work under SB372. There will be future meetings on other elements of SB372 to come. Please click here for more information.

Last year the California State Legislature passed Senate Bill 372, an important new bill that will help finance the next generation of zero-emission trucks. The law directs the California Air Resources Board and the California Pollution Control Financing Authority in the State Treasurer’s Office to offer financial and non-financial tools to help owners of medium- and heavy-duty trucks and buses pay for the costs of replacing their diesel-fueled fleets with cleaner, ZEV alternatives.

This bill is meant to bring key stakeholders to the table — environmental justice groups, truck manufacturers, fleets, financiers, nonprofit organizations and others — to find the solutions that will work for fleets to transition to zero-emission MHD vehicles.

Based on conversations EDF had with fleets, financiers and others, about what they need to invest in ZEV trucks, we discovered that it is critical to bring stakeholders to the table in order to find out what works, recognizing that multiple options are needed, because when it comes to fleets, one size does not fit all.

Here are some of the ways environmental justice groups, fleets, financiers and manufacturers can get engaged in SB 372 and reasons why joining the stakeholder process is key to maximizing their success:

  • Environmental Justice Groups: Communities with high truck traffic in close proximity to warehouses and distribution centers are often low-wealth communities and communities of color that suffer from health conditions that can be worsened by pollution from polluting trucks. Therefore, replacing these vehicles with cleaner, zero-emitting versions will immediately improve air pollution for populations living nearby. SB 372 ensures that 75% of the state’s financial products offered as part of this legislation go to underserved communities. Please come give critical input on what this program should look like.
  • Fleets: Most zero-emission vehicles end up costing less than their diesel counterparts because of fuel savings cost and because they require less maintenance. However, the higher up-front purchase price has historically been a hindrance to widespread adoption. SB 372 envisions fleets helping to design the financing programs that work to transition, for example performance, battery, and resale guarantees. Come help California decide how to create incentives that work for your fleet.
  • Financiers: This bill could make it easier to invest in zero-emission trucks by offering performance guarantees, battery guarantees and secondary markets. Recent EDF analysis shows how the business climate for ZEV truck development in California has already begun to ripen. SB 372 can make it much easier to invest. Come give your input on the investment opportunities as you envision them.
  • Manufacturers: Under the Advanced Clean Trucks rule, California will soon require that manufacturers build and sell ZEV trucks to customers. Come share your voice to make this program supporting your customers’ ability to buy these trucks as successful as possible.

Feedback from you and other stakeholders will help ensure all Californians benefit from SB 372 while accelerating the state’s transition to a zero-emission future. California leads the nation with at least 128 companies in 181 locations involved in the MHD ZEV supply chain; 86 of these companies are headquartered in the state, with over 44,000 total employees, as shown by a recent EDF report.

Not only does SB 372 have the potential to improve local air quality, it can increase the amount of private capital invested in the California ZEV economy. However, the program needs your input to ensure success.

If you are interested in helping to shape the program, CARB is hosting a public workshop about the FY2022-23 funding plan for Clean Transportation Initiatives on March 15, 2022, which will include SB 372. CARB will also be accepting written comments during this process. In addition, if you would like regular updates on the process from EDF, please email me here.

We look forward to the process, involving all of the stakeholders, to get SB 372 launched in California.

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