Agency OKs $27M to Boost Zero-Emission Vehicles in California

Bosch Nikola
Bosch Nikola truck by John Sommers II for Transport Topics

[Stay on top of transportation news: Get TTNews in your inbox.]

California’s South Coast Air Quality Management District has approved the first installment of $27 million in a program that ultimately will provide up to $90 million to replace higher-polluting Class 8 trucks and port drayage trucks with zero-emission vehicles.

Funding will come from the Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust program’s $2.8 billion fine for the automaker’s illegal emission-testing defeat devices in its diesel vehicles.

The funding also will be available for waste haulers, dump trucks and concrete mixers. Eligible vehicles must be engine model years 1992 to 2012, in compliance with all applicable regulations and scrapped in exchange for a zero-emission replacement vehicle, the trust’s Aug. 7 announcement said.

vw-pa2021-1-ze1 by Transport Topics on Scribd

In addition, applicants must show proof of ownership of their current vehicle for at least the past year, operate their old and new vehicles at least 75% of the time in California, and ensure that their ZEV replacement vehicle be certified or approved by the California Air Resources Board.

Maximum funding will not exceed $200,000 per eligible replacement vehicle, and eligible participants will be awarded funding on a first-come, first-served basis.

The South Coast AQMD will administer the funding statewide with CARB providing program and fiscal oversight. Applications for the program’s first installment will be accepted online only, beginning Aug. 18, at 1 p.m. PT. Applications will be available on

South Coast is the air pollution control agency for Orange County and major portions of Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Riverside counties, including the Coachella Valley. The region is home to more than 17 million people, about 44% of California’s population.

Despite significant improvements to air quality over the years, the regulatory district, which has some of the nation’s dirtiest air, faces challenges to protect public health through innovative and practical strategies.

The South Coast plan will help support a measure approved in June by CARB that within a few years will require truck manufacturers to transition a percentage of their sales in the state from diesel trucks to electric zero-emission vehicles.

In a unanimous vote, CARB board members on June 25 approved the state’s Advanced Clean Trucks Regulation, mandating, among other things, that 5% of all Classes 7-8 trucks sold be electric beginning in 2024. Under the plan, the percentage of medium and heavy electric trucks sold would increase each year, topping out at 40% annually starting in 2032.

The regulation also includes a one-time requirement for fleet owners with 50 or more trucks to report about their existing fleet operations.

In approving the electric truck mandate, the CARB board indicted it also was determined to continue reducing truck emissions and create a parallel requirement for large fleets to purchase given percentages of electric trucks to provide certainty to manufacturers in meeting their in-state sales percentages.

Want more news? Listen to today's daily briefing: