New Clean Transportation News

Welcome to the May-July 2017 San Joaquin Valley Clean Transportation Center Newsletter. With funding from the California Energy Commission, CALSTART opened the Center with the goal to accelerate the use of clean vehicles and fuels and help the region more quickly meet air quality targets.

Up to $100,000 Per Truck Available Through SJV Prop 1B; Apply by July 28 

The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District is accepting Prop 1B applications through July 28, 2017. Funding of up to $100,000 per truck is available to replace 2009 or older diesel trucks with new compressed natural gas (CNG) trucks. Funding amounts are listed below:
Vehicle Class
CNG 0.02 NOx Engine
CNG 0.2 NOx Engine

With these incentives, the cost of a new CNG truck can be less than a new diesel truck. In addition, CNG fuel costs historically are less than diesel. Unlike diesel trucks, CNG engines enjoy maintenance-free aftertreatment, requiring no Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) or Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR), and no diesel emission fluid. From an environmental standpoint, the 0.02 NOx CNG engine’s emissions are electric equivalent.

The application includes two parts:
1) Owner Information:
2) Truck(s) Information:

SoCalGas is offering help to qualified customers to complete their application. For assistance, contact them at (213) 244-5681 or

Top: GreenPower CEO/Director Phillip Oldridge, ARB and SJVAPCD Board Member Alexander Sherriffs, M.D., GreenPower Executive Chairman/Director Fraser Atkinson, SJVAPCD APCO Seyed Sadredin and GreenPower President Brendan Riley (left to right) break ground in Porterville for GreenPower's new electric bus manufacturing plant. Bottom: The EV550, a 100-passenger double-decker bus, is one of the all-electric buses to be built at the plant. 

GreenPower Breaks Ground in Porterville for New Electric Bus Manufacturing Plant 

The site may have been covered with brown dirt, but there was no doubt among more than 200 people attending GreenPower Motor Company’s ground-breaking ceremony June 2 that Porterville is going “green” in a big way. Canadian-based GreenPower considered numerous locations nationwide before choosing Porterville, and perhaps it was more than chance that this site on Hope Drive near the municipal airport will be the company's first U.S. manufacturing plant for its all-electric buses.

In addition to a 145,000-square-foot manufacturing plant, the company will construct a two-story, 6,000-square-foot office building. The company expects to employ 100 to 200 employees in its first year and produce about 150 buses, said GreenPower President Brendan Riley. One of GreenPower's first customers will be the City of Porterville. When the 10 EV350 40-foot electric buses are put in service, Porterville Transit expects to become the first all-electric city transit system in the nation. The buses are being purchased with a $9.5 million grant from the Air Resources Board (ARB).

"Porterville is the best choice for GreenPower," said Riley. "We want to build these buses in an area where they are needed."

Alexander Sherriffs, M.D., a board member for both the ARB and San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (SJVAPCD), said that practicing family medicine in Fowler since 1983 has shown him how important air quality is to health. "By placing zero-emission electric buses in Porterville, we all benefit," he said.

Seyed Sadredin, Air Pollution Control Officer for the SJVAPCD, which also worked to help bring GreenPower to the Valley, emphasized the importance of the new facility. "This will serve as an example of what we can do in the San Joaquin become a green manufacturing center for the state and the rest of the nation," said Sadredin.

To learn more, read these articles from the Porterville Recorder and EV Galaxy website. For video of GreenPower's buses, watch this interview with company President Brendan Riley on Fresno's KMPH Fox 26.

In addition to transit and shuttle buses, GreenPower's Synapse 72 all-electric school bus is eligible for funding through the Hybrid and Zero-Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project (HVIP). Read about a demonstration tour and how a number of school districts and charter schools in the state will be purchasing electric buses. To learn more about HVIP, see the article below.

California HVIP Program Offers Incentives for Low-NOx Natural Gas Engines

The Hybrid and Zero-Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Program (HVIP) provides attractive incentives for the purchase of approved low-NOx natural gas engines. HVIP is funded by the Air Resources Board (ARB) and administered by CALSTART. Incentives for low-NOx natural gas engines are available for new and repowered vehicles on a first-come, first-served basis.

Currently, the Cummins Westport 8.9-liter natural gas engine is the only ARB-approved low-NOx natural gas engine available under the program and is certified to 0.02 g/bhp-hr NOx standard, which is 90 percent below the current NOx standard. The Cummins Westport 8.9-liter low-NOx engine is well-suited for regional goods movement trucks, refuse trucks and transit buses (see a list of eligible vehicles). Incentives range from $8,500-15,000 per engine. A larger version of the engine (11.9-liter) suitable for freight trucks is expected to be available in early 2018.

Incentives for low-NOx natural gas engines are designed to cover the incremental cost of a conventional natural gas engine to that of the low-NOx version. Incentives for low-NOx engines may be used in conjunction with other vehicle incentives (such as the California Energy Commission’s Vehicle Incentive Project or select programs managed by the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District), which cover the incremental cost of a diesel engine to that of a conventional natural gas engine, as long as funding for the incremental low-NOx portion is not duplicated.

Fleets that receive HVIP incentives for low-NOx natural gas engines must use 100 percent Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) for a minimum of three years. Securing RNG contracts can be straightforward and should be easy to put in place, and they may cost no more (or even less) than existing conventional natural gas fuel. For a list of RNG providers with contact information and other details, please see the
Guide to the Low-NOx RNG Requirement.

For more information, please contact Ryan Schuchard at (626) 744-5606 or

Representatives from the University of California, Riverside, Center for Environmental Research & Technology and SoCalGas conducted a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the recently established Center for Renewable Natural Gas (RNG). 

Renewable Natural Gas Key to the Future

A new Center for Renewable Natural Gas (CRNG) was dedicated May 17 at the University of California, Riverside. The first academic establishment in the United States dedicated to the study and applied research of renewable gas technologies, the CRNG is funded in part by SoCalGas, with a matching donation from the South Coast Air Quality Management District and the National Center for Sustainable Transportation. It is part of UC Riverside’s Center for Environmental Research & Technology.

About 200 people attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new CRNG, which was the featured event at an inaugural Renewable Natural Gas Symposium at the university's Bourns Technology Center. Arun Raju serves as director for the CRNG, where they will conduct research, advance technologies and remove barriers to increase the use of RNG in California. RNG is pipeline-quality gas that is fully interchangeable and can be blended with fossil natural gas, but it is produced from renewable sources such as waste from dairies,  landfills, wastewater treatment plants and other sources.

In making the keynote presentation at the RNG Symposium, George Minter, SoCalGas Regional Vice President, External Affairs and Environmental Strategy, concluded that RNG is the key to the future that will help solve air quality and climate change problems. He noted this is a critical issue for SoCalGas since most of the company's service territory lies in the South Coast and San Joaquin Valley air districts – regions with the worst air quality in the nation.

"Today, 80 to 90 percent of emissions are in the transportation sector," he said, adding that heavy-duty diesel vehicles generate the most smog-forming pollutants. Minter said the key for the immediate future is to have near-zero natural gas engines running on RNG, calling that combination of technology "a game-changer that is equal to or lower than electric vehicles in emissions and 20 years sooner."

For an agenda with links to many of the the RNG Symposium presentations (links are in blue), click here.

Top: Shell station owners Heng and Jennifer Chao cut the ribbon for Bakersfield's first E85 station joined by (left to right) Tanner Dryness, Office of Assemblymember Vince Fong; Pam Rose, Office of Senator Jean Fuller; Joseph Lopez, Office of Assemblymember Rudy Salas; Sarah Vind, Pearson Fuels; Ariana Joven, Office of U.S. Congressman David Valadao; and George Hay, Jim Burke Ford. Bottom: Cody Neal of Bakersfield was among the first to fill up with E85 at the grand opening event June 23. He usually uses premium gas in his pickup and wants to see how E85 compares.   

Bakersfield's First E85 Station Now Open  

About 400 drivers with Flex Fuel vehicles (FFVs) filled up for just 85 cents a gallon at the grand opening of Bakersfield's first E85 station on June 23. E85 is a blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline. After opening its first E85 station in Fresno last year, Pearson Fuels, California's largest E85 Flex Fuel distributor, has partnered with Heng Chao, owner of the Shell station at 4050 White Lane, to now offer E85 in Bakersfield.

Drivers lined up to take advantage of the special price in effect from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Shell station currently offers E85 for a $2.39 a gallon, compared to $2.99 a gallon for the regular gasoline it also sells. The lower price may be somewhat offset by slightly lower fuel economy. However, station owner Heng Chao noted that the E85 being sold has an octane of 103, which is much higher than gas.

More than 1.2 million FFVs – which include later-model Chevrolet Silverado, Ford F-150 and other popular vehicles – are on the road in California today. Jim Burke Ford in Bakersfield brought two Flex Fuel pickups to display at the event. All FFVs can run on either E85 or gasoline. These vehicles can be identified by a “Flex Fuel” nameplate, typically located on the rear of the vehicle, and many also have yellow gas caps for easy identification.

A domestically produced product, E85 helps to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and produces less greenhouse gas emissions. The San Joaquin Valley is home to several ethanol plants, providing jobs and helping our region's economy. About 100 E85 stations now operate in California.

Jesus Sosa (left) of SoCalGas drove one of the company's CNG-powered service pickups on the first leg of a rally from California to Arizona, then handed off the baton to Chad Lindholm (right), NGV America Board Member Representative and Vice President of National Sales at Clean Energy. "It was a great help spread the word that natural gas is an affordable, reliable and efficient fuel for a variety of vehicles," said Sosa.

SoCalGas Joins NGV America in 'From Sea to Shining Sea' Road Rally 

A procession of natural gas vehicles, including heavy-duty and light-duty trucks, transit and refuse vehicles, recently made their way on a 4,825-mile trek across the U.S. The “From Sea to Shining Sea NGV Road Rally” began in California on June 5 and ended in Washington, D.C., on June 16. The trek included  stops at 18 rally points, where advocates for natural gas vehicles gave educational demonstrations highlighting the importance of natural gas as a clean transportation fuel.

The kickoff event in the San Pedro Bay Ports was organized by the collective efforts of SoCalGas, the California Natural Gas Vehicle Coalition (CNGVC), Clean Energy Fuels and others, supporting the NGV America nationwide road rally. The event brought attention to the versatility of natural gas as a transportation fuel, highlighting the benefits of low-NOx engines in heavy-duty trucks, especially when powered with renewable natural gas (RNG).

“Air pollution affects all of us and remains one of our region’s biggest public health issues, particularly for those in disadvantaged neighborhoods near busy transportation corridors," said Lisa Alexander, SoCalGas' Vice President of Customer Solutions and Communications and an NGV America board member. "Vehicles fueled by natural gas offer a viable, affordable solution that can be implemented today,” she added.

Along with the Los Angeles-Long Beach metropolitan area, the San Joaquin Valley ranks among the most polluted in the nation for high levels of ozone and for levels of year-round particle pollution, according to the most recent “State of the Air” report from the American Lung Association.

“The latest generation of near-zero-emission natural gas engines exceed the required air quality standard by 90 percent, and they are available today,” said CNGVC President Thomas Lawson. “Despite what you hear on Twitter, we are a long way from being able to purchase electric and hydrogen trucks. Trucks fueled by natural gas are the only immediate solution.”
Director's Message
By Joseph Oldham

This issue of the CALSTART San Joaquin Valley Clean Transportation Center Newsletter again is full of great articles highlighting cleaner transportation technologies available to Valley residents.

If you are a trucking fleet owner or operator and have a 2009 or older truck in your fleet, pay close attention to the article on Prop 1B incentive money available to help pay the difference between purchasing a new diesel truck and a new natural gas powered truck. The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District has funding available immediately, and SoCal Gas is willing to help you put your application for funding together.

If there ever was a time for Valley truck fleets to consider converting to natural gas fuel, it is now. Don’t wait because the Air District has been receiving many applications and funding is limited! Also, check out the article about the HVIP incentive program for ultra-low NOx natural gas engines and watch for the first edition of a newsletter from CALSTART that will be coming out monthly on the HVIP program!

There also is an interesting article about a natural gas vehicle road rally that shows natural gas vehicles are not limited to traveling in California. A diverse group of vehicles from light-duty trucks to transit buses traveled more than 4,800 miles from one coast to another showcasing the viability of natural gas as a transportation fuel.

Speaking of viability, the dedication ceremony for the new Center for Renewable Natural Gas at the University of California, Riverside, highlighted in this edition of the SJVCTC Newsletter points to rapid development of renewable natural gas a key component in the strategy to reduce harmful vehicle emissions in both the Los Angeles and San Joaquin Valley air basins. Renewable natural gas use is a requirement to get the HVIP incentives from the state for the ultra-low NOx engines available from Cummins Westport. Those incentives can be as much as $15,000 per engine and the ultra-low NOx engines are 90 percent cleaner than current diesel engines.

Some very good news for jobs and cleaner technology is highlighted in the article about the new manufacturing plant for GreenPower Bus in Porterville!! I attended the event and the turnout was great for the ground-breaking ceremony of the new 145,000-square-foot manufacturing facility next to the Porterville Airport. The all-electric GreenPower transit buses built at this plant will be sold all over the country, and the up to 200 new jobs added to the Porterville economy will show the world that the Valley is more than a great site for agriculture; it also is a great site for clean transportation manufacturing!

Rounding out the articles about fuels, there is the article about the new E85 station opening in Bakersfield. Many people don’t realize there are millions of cars on the road today from all the major OEMs that can use E85. These Flexible Fuel Vehicles (FFVs) can use either regular unleaded gasoline or E85 or any percentage mix of E85 and gasoline. E85 is a great “homegrown” fuel alternative and competitively priced with gasoline.

Finally, stay tuned for an upcoming listening session focused on natural gas engines for trucks and buses in mid-July, a new webinar focused on natural gas incentive programs, and an incentive workshop this fall on electric vehicles. These events are just some of the ways the CALSTART San Joaquin Valley Clean Transportation Center works to keep you informed about new opportunities to improve your business while at the same time helping to improve our Valley air quality. Together, we can make our Valley air quality better and ensure a healthy future for our children!!

“The CALSTART San Joaquin Valley Clean Transportation Center is a joint project between CALSTART and the California Energy Commission (CEC). It is funded through a grant from the CEC with the mission to assist residents and businesses in the San Joaquin Valley deploy cleaner transportation options to help improve air quality and promote economic prosperity. For more information about CALSTART, visit”

Fresno Added to VW's List of Cities for EV Charging 

Volkswagen has proposed to add Fresno to its list of California cities that will receive funding for electric vehicle charging through its Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Investment PlanThe Air Resources Board (ARB) on June 29 released a "Supplement to the California ZEV Investment Plan" (Plan) received from VW's subsidiary Electrify America in which several new investments were outlined, including funding for community charging in the Fresno area.

"This supplement will also add new investments to the Cycle 1 ZEV Investment Plan," Electrify America wrote in the Supplement document. "We have added the Fresno metro area as a focus for community charging investments, developed an education and outreach proposal targeted at the unique barriers to ZEV use in low-income and disadvantaged communities, and presented a new strategy to explore the use of more affordable pre-owned ZEVs."

The initial Plan submitted to ARB in March outlined how Electrify America plans to invest the first of four $200 million, 30-month phases. VW's commitment to support ZEV use in California is part of a court settlement for its diesel engine violations. Electrify America submitted the Supplement in response to comments received regarding its initial Plan. Electrify America is proposing that the $45 million it had allocated for community charging be expanded from five to six metropolitan areas, adding Fresno to the initial list that included Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco and San Jose.

Electrify America credited the addition of Fresno to data presented by the San Joaquin Valley Electric Vehicle Partnership (SJVEVP), which in a letter to ARB showed growth in ZEV deployment within the Central Valley. "[T]he Fresno area may be a more rapidly emerging ZEV market than previous analysis has shown," Electrify America concluded. SJVCTC Director Joseph Oldham is a member of the SJVEVP, a business-led regional collaborative under the San Joaquin Valley Clean Cities Coalition and Project Clean Air.

ARB will conduct a public hearing later this summer to consider the approval or disapproval, in whole or in part, of the Plan, which includes the Supplement. The public agenda, with the exact date, time and place of the hearing, will be made available on the ARB website at least 10 days before the hearing.

Check Out These New Mobile Sites 

Android users now can access the U.S. Department of Energy Alternative Fuel Data Center's Station Locator app through the Google Play store. As with the original iPhone app version, users can access the Station Locator from their mobile device and find the 20 closest stations within a 30-mile radius. Results display either on a map or in a list with station addresses, phone numbers and hours of operation. The app also is available for iPhone from the iTunes store. recently launched a mobile web page version of its popular Trip Calculator tool. This page allows users to easily calculate fuel economy for a trip while on the go. 

If you’d rather not use an app, the Station Locator mobile page provides an easy way to view alternative fueling station information on your smartphone screen, regardless of the type of mobile device used. Users can access the Station Locator by navigating to this link in an internet browser.

Look for more new apps in the next issue. 

Looking for Grant Information?

The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District offers a variety of grants and incentive programs for public agencies, residents, businesses and technology. Interested parties should apply early since incentives typically are available on a first-come, first-served basis. A complete list of current incentive programs is available on the Air District website.

The California Air Resources Board (ARB) administers grant programs funded through various sources, including the Cap-and-Trade program. A complete list of the various funding programs is available on the
ARB website.

The California Energy Commission (CEC) also administers grant programs for transportation technology. Go to the 
CEC website for information.

Various Federal agencies offer grants and incentives for transportation technology each year. All Federal agencies use the website for submitting and receiving grant applications.