Why Clean Vehicles?

BACKGROUND

The Hybrid and Zero-Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project (HVIP) and Low NOx Engine Incentives was formed by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) as a result of the Air Quality Improvement Program (AQIP) following the passing of the California Alternative and Renewable Fuel, Vehicle Technology, Clean Air, and Carbon Reduction Act of 2007 (AB 118, Statutes of 2007, Chapter 750). AQIP offers funding for projects and initiatives focused on supporting the development and deployment of the advanced technologies needed to meet California’s longer-term, post-2020 air quality goals. The fuel efficiency and zero- to low-emission benefits of zero-emission, hybrid, and natural gas vehicle technologies provide a strong public health benefit by reducing harmful greenhouse gas (GHG) and criteria emissions.

Growing California’s Market for Clean Vehicle Technologies

HVIP responds to a key market challenge by making clean trucks and buses more affordable for fleets.  By offering point-of-sale incentives for clean trucks and buses, HVIP provides a streamlined approach for providing helpful incentives to fleets without waiting to submit proposals or complicated paperwork. Fleets receive the voucher discount at the point of sale while HVIP-approved vendors and dealers process the required documentation.

This innovative approach provides a meaningful “kick-start” to the low-carbon clean truck and bus industry. HVIP helps fleet and vehicle owners move into clean trucks and buses faster, while reducing emissions, fuel consumption and supporting California’s goals to promote a clean climate future.

HVIP is Making a Difference

To date, HVIP has deployed more than 2,700 medium- to heavy-duty vehicles, accelerating the growth of the nation’s early market of zero-emission and hybrid trucks and buses by 30 percent. HVIP has successfully increased the demand of these technologies which is proving to advance the industry, create jobs and economic benefits while accelerating the commercialization of these trucks and buses for all. With more than 1,000 fleets participating across California, HVIP is helping the state meet its clean air goals.

HVIP is administered and implemented through a partnership between California Air Resources Board (CARB) and CALSTART (selected by CARB via a competitive grant solicitation).

HVIP Program Overview

Click here for a brief slideshow overview of the program.

Frequently Asked Questions

On Program Basics

What is the Hybrid and Zero-Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project (HVIP) and Low NOx Engine Incentives?

The Hybrid and Zero-Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project (HVIP) and Low NOx Engine Incentives is a program created by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to help speed the early market introduction of clean, low-carbon hybrid and zero-emission trucks and buses. HVIP helps build the market by reducing the cost of these vehicles for truck and bus fleets that purchase and operate the vehicles in the State of California. HVIP vouchers are intended to reduce about half the incremental costs of purchasing hybrid and zero-emission medium-duty and heavy-duty trucks and buses. HVIP will help fleets purchase vehicles immediately and will meaningfully increase the production of these vehicles.

Why did CARB create this program?

CARB created HVIP to speed the market introduction of low-emitting hybrid and zero-emission trucks and buses. Hybrid and zero-emission trucks and buses are fairly new technology and are therefore more expensive than traditional vehicles, especially in the early market years when production volumes are low. CARB recognizes that these vehicles have the proven ability to reduce criteria and greenhouse gas (GHG) pollutants in California and aims to accelerate the penetration of these cleaner vehicles to meet state clean air regulations and climate change goals.

Why did CARB design the program around a voucher?

CARB worked with industry, fleets, and other organizations to learn what approach would best speed the introduction of low-emitting medium-duty and heavy-duty hybrids and zero-emission vehicles. One of the major barriers was the current high cost of these advanced vehicles at low production, and the fact that commercial fleet purchasers need the cost reduction to come at the time of purchase to change their purchase decision. In the case of hybrids, the amount of reduction needed in the early market was determined to be roughly half the incremental (extra) cost of a hybrid compared to a conventional vehicle. Finally, CARB determined that a simplified program, not requiring a long proposal process, was best for spurring these purchases. The voucher provides this solution via a streamlined, first-come, first-served incentive, which allows fleets to guarantee a reduced price on an eligible vehicle at the time of order. Dealers then get a rapid payment for the voucher at the time of vehicle delivery and registration.

Who do I call if I have any problems?

If you have any problems or questions, please call the HVIP toll-free hotline at 888-457-HVIP.

I would like to be notified of upcoming HVIP events and news items. How can I do this?

If you are not already receiving HVIP emails and wish to do so, please contact Chase LeCroy (clecroy@calstart.org) at CALSTART to get on the list. You can ask to be removed at any time.

About the Voucher Application Process

I represent a fleet. How do I apply for a voucher?

The dealers are the ones who create and submit the vouchers. They’ll do all the work. The purchasers just need to choose an HVIP-approved dealer and work with them.

I represent a large fleet that buys trucks directly from a manufacturer and not a dealer. How would HVIP work for me?

Some large fleets purchase vehicles directly from a manufacturer. The manufacturer in this instance would be treated as a dealer for the purposes of HVIP, and the fleet would work directly with the manufacturer to apply for vouchers. The manufacturer simply has to make sure that its representative has gone through the dealer training already.

I represent a dealership. How do I apply for a voucher?

Dealers must be registered with HVIP to be able to submit voucher requests for their customers’ orders. As a dealer, your first step is to successfully complete HVIP Training. Once the terms and conditions of the program are signed and the training is completed, you will be eligible to apply online for vouchers. Please note that a dealer always applies with a fleet for each voucher; and each application must represent a real hybrid or zero-emission truck order.

How much are the vouchers worth?

In the new Year 4 program, the base voucher amount ranges from $20,000 to $110,000 for eligible vehicles, depending upon whether the vehicle is hybrid or zero-emission, its Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR), and whether or not it is located in a disadvantaged community. Please see the HVIP Year 6 Implementation Manual for all voucher funding levels.

Can I apply for more than one voucher?

Yes. However, only one voucher is assigned per vehicle and the limit per fleet is 200 vouchers.

Does fleet size matter?

No. The size of the fleet does not matter. Fleets can order as many as 200 vouchers, or as few as one.

If you were a registered dealer in previous years, do you have to do anything this year to become eligible again?

Only if you weren't active in the past year.  In that case, you will have to pass the dealer quiz again.  If you have any questions, please call the HVIP toll-free line at 888-457-HVIP.

Why are there different voucher funding amounts between vehicles?

Vouchers are defined by the weight range. The heavier the vehicle’s gross vehicle weight rating, the greater the voucher funding. For a list of the vouchers, per weight range, please see Section D.3 of the HVIP Year 6 Implementation Manual.

On Eligible Vehicles

Are buses part of the program, and if so, what sort of bus vehicles will there be?

A variety of buses are available for HVIP vouchers, including school buses, transit buses, commercial buses, and shuttle buses.  The list includes both hybrid and zero-emission buses.  Buses that are purchased by public school districts are eligible for an additional $10,000 in HVIP funding. Please see the eligible vehicles list for the full list of eligible buses.

Are light-duty vehicles being considered for the program?

HVIP only includes medium- and heavy-duty vehicles. However, CARB has added a new category of Class 2A plug-in hybrids only. Zero emission light-duty vehicles are eligible for rebates under the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project.

Have any hydraulic hybrids been made eligible for HVIP yet?

Yes.  The Autocar Xpeditor E3 Refuse Vehicle with Parker RunWise Advance Series Hybrid Drive is available via HVIP.   Please see the HVIP eligible vehicle list for a full summary of all of the current products in the program.

I represent an Original Equipment Manufacturer or a Supplier. How do I get my products on the eligible list for vouchers?

If your company makes hybrid or zero-emission trucks or buses, you can apply with CARB to place your vehicles on the HVIP-eligible vehicles list. There are specific steps you must follow. Vouchers can only be requested for vehicles approved by CARB. Please see CARB's web site for details.

Is there funding available for retrofitting?

Dealers and fleets cannot request a voucher for anything that has already been registered or titled. The vehicles need to be new. 

What are the benefits of medium- and heavy-duty hybrids?

Hybrid trucks and buses have been shown in testing to reduce both fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by 20 to 50 percent, depending on the vehicle and its application. Some hybrids are showing even greater reductions, especially when combined with reductions from turning off the engine at work sites and at stops, with reductions from incorporating advanced designs, and with reductions from the use of low-carbon fuels. Hybrids also further reduce criteria (smog-causing) emissions beyond the level of the certified engine in the vehicle (on a gram/mile basis). Finally, hybrid technology is also an important strategic advantage for the United States: U.S. and North American manufacturers are currently the world’s leaders in developing and producing these vehicles, which retain jobs today and create new green tech jobs in the years ahead.

About Program Funding

Can HVIP vehicle funds be combined with other grant funds?

Yes. In fact, CARB encourages it. However, they won’t allow fleets to go above the full incremental cost of the vehicle with the additional grants. Please see the Year 6 Implementation Manual for more details.

How do we know how much money is left?

There is a ticker on the HVIP website, so you will always know how much money remains. This reflects the real-time value of the fund, based on the vouchers requested to-date.

Community Testimonials

“This [program] helps put us on the track to making sure our children can breathe clean air.”

“Switching to a cleaner, more efficient vehicle helps our business by reducing the cost of fuel and in doing our part in helping the environment.”

“I have worked with many different types of fleets, from construction to produce delivery. People like the trucks; they are green and there’s fuel savings.”

“This [program] is a win-win situation for the small business that makes the investment, for the company that sold it, and for the company that made the technology for us.”

“This program…helps clean our air and address climate change, which is so critical especially for our region.”
“For every truck that we put on that reduces that pollution, you’re helping save someone’s life.”

“Choosing clean vehicles is optional for most fleets. The HVIP process employs several best practices with the fewest steps and purchase restrictions to motivate fleets sitting on the sidelines to accelerate adoption.”

California Climate Investments

HVIP is part of California Climate Investments, a statewide program that puts billions of cap-and-trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy and improving public health and the environment—particularly in disadvantaged communities. The cap-and-trade program also creates a financial incentive for industries to invest in clean technologies and develop innovative ways to reduce pollution. California Climate Investment projects include affordable housing, renewable energy, public transportation, zero-emission vehicles, environmental restoration, more sustainable agriculture, recycling and much more. At least 35 percent of these investments are made in disadvantaged and low-income communities. For more information, visit California Climate Investments.

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