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CARB opens $40M voucher program for zero-emissions freight equipment

California has been ground zero in the fight to reduce vehicle emissions, often posting even stricter standards than the federal government. The state has also continually put funds behind its regulatory push, and it is doing so again. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) announced the “Clean Off-Road Equipment Voucher Incentive Project” (CORE) program on August 5, 2019.

CORE is a $40 million voucher program to accelerate the purchase and use of zero-emission off-road freight technologies. Users will be able to tap into the program to help offset the higher costs associated with zero-emission equipment. Terminal tractors, transport refrigeration units, forklifts, container handling equipment, airport cargo loaders, wide-body aircraft tugs, railcar movers and rubber-tired gantry cranes are eligible equipment.

To be eligible, a fleet must be in compliance with all state regulations, including Truck and Bus, TRU, Off-Road, Large Spark Ignition, and Cargo-Handling regulations. CARB stressed that the CORE program can’t be used to bring a fleet into compliance.

“Forward-thinking, savvy business owners will want to take advantage of CORE because it will enable them to replace their dirty older equipment and get the cleanest, most advanced models available for about the same price as the diesel- or gas-powered version. The result is equipment that saves businesses on fuel costs and has zero tailpipe emissions – a winner for the pocketbook and the community,” said CARB Executive Officer Richard W. Corey.

CARB used its Hybrid and Zero-Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project (HVIP) as the basis to develop CORE. Under that program, first launched in 2009, more than $477 million has been provided to over 1,100 California fleets to comply with state clean air regulations.

CORE will make up to $180,000 available to cover the difference between a zero-emission tractor and one powered by diesel, CARB said in a statement. Fleets looking to deploy cleaner technology in disadvantaged communities could receive an additional 10 percent. Awards are capped at $500,000 per piece of equipment.

CALSTART, a national nonprofit consortium that works with innovators to advance modernization and adoption of clean vehicles, will administer CORE. It also administers HVIP. Both programs are funded by California Climate Investments, the statewide initiative utilizing cap-and-trade funds to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

CORE-approved dealers will work with business owners to access the vouchers and eligible equipment. Buyers will receive the discount at the point of sale, CARB said. The dealer then submits a CORE voucher request form on behalf of the buyer and is reimbursed once all required paperwork is provided and the new zero-emission equipment is delivered.

Funds for the new program are available on a first-come, first-served basis and are expected to be available before the end of the year.

Brian Straight

Brian Straight leads FreightWaves' Modern Shipper brand as Managing Editor. A journalism graduate of the University of Rhode Island, he has covered everything from a presidential election, to professional sports and Little League baseball, and for more than 10 years has covered trucking and logistics. Before joining FreightWaves, he was previously responsible for the editorial quality and production of Fleet Owner magazine and Brian lives in Connecticut with his wife and two kids and spends his time coaching his son’s baseball team, golfing with his daughter, and pursuing his never-ending quest to become a professional bowler. You can reach him at