Watch Now

CARB sets up unit to help fleets navigate California’s Clean Fleets rule

Cal Fleet Advisor mostly geared to smaller fleets; no fee for the service

CARB has set up a new advisory program to help fleets deal with the Advanced Clean Fleets rule. (Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

With the first requirements of the California Advanced Clean Fleets (ACF) rule looming at the start of 2024, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) is rolling out a program to push the adoption of zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) in the state.

The program, Cal Fleet Advisor, doesn’t have any funding for companies seeking to acquire ZEVs for their networks. CARB already offers several other programs designed to incentivize the purchase of zero-emission trucks.  

The emphasis in the new program is the third word in its name: advisor.

Olivia Lane, an air pollution specialist with CARB’s Compliance Assistance & Outreach Branch, said companies that sign up for Cal Fleet Advisor “are paired with your own personal advisor that will help you overcome any barriers preventing your fleet from incorporating zero-emission vehicles into operations.”

“Your fleet advisor will answer your questions and work with you to better understand various aspects of transitioning to zero-emission trucks,” Lane said in an email to FreightWaves. “Participants will receive assistance with navigating the best vehicle models to match the fleet’s needs, accessing funding and rebate opportunities, finding utility resources, understanding charging options and connecting a fleet with industry referrals.”

The most pressing requirement under the ACF comes in just a little more than four months, when only ZEVs will be able to be registered into the state’s drayage registry.

And for trucks that fall under the definition of “high-priority fleets,” which are defined by the size of their fleet or their revenue, the “milestones” calendar defining the road to ZEVs kicks off in 2025.

While the ACF rule is supposed to work in tandem with the Advanced Clean Trucks rule, which is a mandate mostly on OEMs and what they can sell into the state, there are areas where the two don’t seem to be in sync. The precise date in the future when ZEVs are supposed to be 100% of a truck fleet is not in exact alignment, for example.

Lane said that Cal Fleet Advisor is “not set up to advise on CARB compliance pathways.” Fleets can get to compliance in several different ways, and Cal Fleet Advisor will not be recommending the best way to get there. But she added that the advisers “will be there to help when it comes to finding you the information available to navigate regulatory requirements and can connect you to the necessary compliance experts at CARB.”

While the Cal Fleet Advisor program is available to all fleets, Lane said “the program was created with the small fleet and the single owner operator in mind.”

“We are particularly interested in helping fleets with 20 or fewer trucks and we know that these folks often don’t have staff dedicated to navigating the barriers that exist for transitioning to zero-emission trucks,” Lane said. “CARB and CALSTART hope to make sure these fleets do not miss out on the benefits of zero-emission trucks by offering the technical assistance they need.” 

Access to the application process can be found here.

In announcing the program, CARB described the work of Cal Fleet Advisors as providing “assistance through an assigned program expert that will serve as a single point of contact for questions and needs, including an individualized action plan that will provide information about approved technology and funding options for fleet owners and single operators.”

There is no fee for the service. Its genealogy as described by Lane is long: Cal Fleet Advisors was launched by CARB in conjunction with CALSTART, a national nonprofit group focused on clean transportation. It operates through the Hybrid Zero Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project, known as HVIP, which provides funding for the acquisition of ZEVs. And that in turn is part of California Climate Investments, the ultimate source of the funding.

As an example of other activities it is involved in, CALSTART is a partner with a consulting and engineering firm called Tetra Tech that is administering a recently announced project called EnergIIZE. Among the funding available through EnergIIZE is $22.75 million for drayage vehicles. Applications for that funding are open through the end of this week.

Lane said CALSTART is starting the Cal Fleet Advisor program with four employees dedicated to it, including one Spanish-speaking adviser. “Plans are underway to expand this team as demand increases,” Lane said.

More articles by John Kingston

Will cleaner diesel trucks matter in a ZEV world?

Diesel trucks taking up EV slack to meet cargo demand in California

19 states target EPA waiver for California’s Advanced Clean Trucks rule

One Comment

Comments are closed.

John Kingston

John has an almost 40-year career covering commodities, most of the time at S&P Global Platts. He created the Dated Brent benchmark, now the world’s most important crude oil marker. He was Director of Oil, Director of News, the editor in chief of Platts Oilgram News and the “talking head” for Platts on numerous media outlets, including CNBC, Fox Business and Canada’s BNN. He covered metals before joining Platts and then spent a year running Platts’ metals business as well. He was awarded the International Association of Energy Economics Award for Excellence in Written Journalism in 2015. In 2010, he won two Corporate Achievement Awards from McGraw-Hill, an extremely rare accomplishment, one for steering coverage of the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster and the other for the launch of a public affairs television show, Platts Energy Week.