New Year’s Greeting from CALSTART President and CEO John Boesel

Happy New Year from CALSTART! We are excited about the coming months but also wanted to make sure we didn’t let 2021 pass too far out of sight without noting the year’s accomplishments.

Together with our growing membership, CALSTART has undoubtedly moved ahead in our mission to create jobs, cut air pollution and oil imports, and curb climate change through advancing the clean transportation industry. Below are some of the highlights from 2021 and a sampling of the achievements of the talented and committed staff here at CALSTART. We are thankful that our members have partnered with us on some of the most advanced and important work happening in the clean transportation industry.

Policy Advances

CALSTART’s increased engagement and advocacy through CALSTART-member Policy Action Group leaders paid off with the inclusion of our federal objectives into the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). In partnership with others, our team was successful in securing huge funding increases for the federal Low or No Emission bus program, including more than $1 billion per year for the program, a sevenfold increase over current levels. Our Fuel and Infrastructure PAG also successfully supported and helped secure $7.5 billion in infrastructure funding, $5 billion of which is dedicated to EVs and $2.5 billion which will be open to other fuels as well as electricity. Our impressive coalition of truck OEMs, fleets, and suppliers was successful in securing solid congressional support for a federal zero-emission truck incentive. This effort resulted in the inclusion of positive language in the latest version of the Build Back Better Act and we hope to work with our partners to get the incentive established next year. Also in 2021, we launched the Electric Vehicle Battery Initiative, a new industry-funded coalition focused on building the EV battery industry and supply chain in the United States. While we were pleased that the IIJA included $6 billion in manufacturing grants to support battery and supply chain development, more will need to be done in 2022.

At the state level, we worked with coalitions to pass the Washington State Clean Fuels Program (a low carbon fuel standard) and our efforts on Advanced Clean Truck regulations in Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York were successful. Additionally, the record funding for clean transportation in the California budget was made possible through the rapid mobilization of our members.

Global Reach

CALSTART’s Drive to Zero initiative made huge strides, announcing a landmark commitment at COP26 in Glasgow as 15 countries committed to 100% zero-emission new truck and bus sales by 2040.

Program Management and Stakeholder Engagement

Our reputation as a trusted program manager and our proven abilities in stakeholder engagement have garnered increasing opportunity with state and federal programs.

Some of the new projects that CALSTART has been selected to lead include:

  • A Massachusetts Clean Energy Center $900,000 fleet advisory program for commercial fleet electrification.
  • A U.S. Department of Energy $4 million program to jump-start workplace charging.
  • EnergIIZE – a new major California Energy Commission (CEC) project to accelerate the deployment of infrastructure needed to fuel zero-emission trucks, buses, and equipment. The program was initially funded with $50 million and that amount has grown to $276 million.
  • Research Hub for Electric Technologies in Truck Applications (RHETTA) – led by the Electric Power Research Institute and CALSTART, this $13 million project from the CEC will develop, advance, and deploy innovative medium- and heavy-duty electric vehicle charging infrastructure along California’s transportation corridors.
  • A Federal Transit Administration (FTA) award of $575,000 to administer their Research to Practice (R2P) Initiative, identifying the best ways to promote the FTA’s research so transit agencies can put promising results into practice.
  • A $250 million CEC incentive project to deploy light-duty electric charging infrastructure in communities throughout California to increase equitable access.

CALSTART also continues its stewardship of the largest clean transportation incentive programs that are propelling the transition to zero emissions in California:

  • Hybrid and Zero-Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project (HVIP) – 2,014 validated voucher requests were submitted during the 2021 cycle, for $247 million in available funding.
  • Clean Off-Road Equipment Voucher Incentive Project (CORE) – in October, $30 million in off-road funding was allocated to fund CORE’s Contingency List. $27,901,525 of voucher funding was approved for voucher requests across all categories.
  • Clean Mobility Options (CMO) – awarded $20 million in grants for low-income communities to enact an array of zero-emission mobility programs ranging from demand-responsive microtransit shuttles to e-bike sharing.

Industry Expertise and Market Insights

We started 2021 by publishing our third annual inventory of North America’s zero-emission buses, Zeroing in on ZEBs, a report that has become a staple of analysts, journalists, and market participants. Because on-the-ground knowledge is so important to decision making, our reports on commercial fleet electrification financing, transition progress among California transit agencies, the growth of zero-emission microtransit for curbside logistics management, assessment of electric school bus pilots, and the current state of the commercial vehicle battery market are valued resources to the industry. We also continued to update the catalogues of globally available (ZETI catalogue) and California incentive-approved (HVIP catalogue) commercial technologies that help fleets make purchase decisions.

Technical Analysis, Assistance, and Guidance

CALSTART remains the go-to leader in zero- and low-emission technology assessment and planning assistance. Among our many projects in this area:

  • More than $1.1 million in new awards for technical assistance to Northeast and Midwest transit fleets seeking to transition to zero-emission buses.
  • A major 100 truck drayage pilot project funded by CARB and CEC, working as part of a team with South Coast AQMD.
  • Two major awards with the Los Angeles Department of Transportation and the City of Anaheim to help electrify their depots.
  • Helping transit properties in Santa Barbara and Porterville, CA to develop the charging operations, which include microgrids, needed for their electric bus fleets.
  • Partnering with East Bay Clean Energy for a blueprint for electric truck fleets in the region.
  • Tackling marine transportation with a successful proposal effort to lead a nearly $500,000 study on the design and feasibility of a fuel cell tugboat specifically designed for use at the Port of Los Angeles.
  • Providing consulting services to Michigan-based Consumers Energy to transition truck and bus fleets in their service territory.

CALSTART, with its unique positioning as a membership organization representing the broad base of stakeholders in the pursuit of clean transportation, continues to grow in both number and breadth of members. Sixty-seven new members joined us in our mission in 2021, with exciting new participation from transportation-as-a-service providers, telematic providers, analysis providers, ride-sharing services, EV-born and legacy OEMs, as well as battery manufacturers and suppliers.

Looking forward, we are excited to continue this journey that is transforming the industries, career opportunities, infrastructure, and communities that surround all of us. We invite you to work closely with us to meet the challenges of wisely and effectively deploying the investment coming through federal, state, and philanthropic funding. We hope that you join us on January 26th for a member-only Federal Policy Forum and on February 10th for our annual California Policy Summit, as well as Leadership Circles and member receptions in various locations throughout the U.S. Be on the lookout for market insights from our expanded “Zeroing in on” series that will cover not only zero-emission buses, but also a separate analysis of zero-emission school buses and a new report that focuses on zero-emission trucks. We look forward to record-breaking funding and exciting new deployments of commercial trucks, buses, school buses, refuse trucks, forklifts, gantry cranes, and more.

From me and the staff here at CALSTART – we wish you, your colleagues, and your loved ones a hope-filled new year.

John Boesel
President and CEO, CALSTART