California is once again leading the way in the field of clean energy. The state has announced a record investment into clean-energy vehicles and infrastructure, with a big chunk allocated to underserved communities.
The Golden State will invest $3.6 billion to transition to zero-emission transportation – the highest amount ever.
This includes major funding of clean vehicles such as buses, cars, and trucks, enhanced mobility platforms for bike and car sharing, consumer rebates, as well as the electrification of the transportation network. Seventy percent of the funding will go directly to low-income and disadvantaged communities.
In total, the state has allocated $10 billion for a zero-emission vehicle package, which is part of its overall $54 billion climate commitment to achieve carbon neutrality by 2045 or sooner. It will also phase out new gas-powered cars by 2035, said Governor Gavin Newsom.
“California is backing up our commitment to clean the air in overburdened communities with the largest state investment yet in zero-emission vehicles and sustainable transportation,” said Liane Randolph, chair of California Air Resources Board (CARB). “These incentives continue to support our equitable transition to zero-emission cars, as well as accelerate the commercialization of zero-emission technologies for trucks and buses and provide support for small owner-operator truck fleets.”
The package is split into a $2.6 billion investment into clean vehicles and $1 billion to fund zero-emission vehicle charging infrastructure. Additional incentives are available for hard-to-reach communities.
Within the $2.6 billion plan, $2.2 billion is allocated to clean trucks and buses, as well as off-road equipment. It covers school and transit buses, drayage trucks, small truck fleet transitioning, and pilot projects. Another $381 million will go toward vehicle purchase incentives and clean mobility investments.
The plan specifically focuses on boosting incentives for lower-income buyers. For example, there are up to $15,000 in incentives for new EVs without the need to scrap an older vehicle.
Those who will send their older car for scrap can receive up to $19,500. The program also simplifies income eligibility. Those with income at or below 300% of the federal poverty level will fall within the eligibility tier. They can also receive $2,000 in prepaid EV charge cards.
On the truck side, new tiered voucher amounts are introduced to help small fleets with the early adoption of zero-emission technologies and trucks in disadvantaged areas. There’s also additional funding for commercial harbor craft.
The $1 billion plan is provided by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to create a unified policy-driven funding structure to electrify statewide utility transportation through 2030. It includes charging infrastructure in low-income areas, as well as tribal and underserved utility customers. Seventy percent of the project will go toward medium and heavy-duty vehicles, which are the main air polluters.
“Electric vehicles are one of California’s top exports and the state is home to 43 ZEV-related manufacturers. ZEVs comprise 18% of all new vehicles sold in California,” notes the Governor’s office. “Earlier this year, California enacted a world-leading regulation to achieve 100% zero-emission vehicle sales by 2035, a critical component of the state’s Scoping Plan – California’s roadmap to reducing dangerous carbon emissions and moving away from fossil fuels.”