Event focuses on going green, supplemental funding
Apr 3, 2009 8:36 AM, By Wendy Leavitt, director editorial development, FleetOwner.com
ANAHEIM, CA. ---Rush Truck Centers and Peterbilt Motors Co. along with numerous supplier partners, including Eaton Roadranger, Cummins Inc. and Westport Innovations, hosted a special “Go Green” event this week at Angels Stadium here at which the latest green trucks were put through their paces, but the hottest topic was how supplemental federal and state funds can help fleets pay for these vehicles and/or retrofit older trucks with green technology.
Over 160 customers drawn from fleets from around the country that jointly run more than 100,000 vehicles turned out for “Go Green” to learn about diesel-electric hybrids, diesel-hydraulic launch assist vehicles, compressed natural gas- and liquid natural gas-powered trucks and the technologies that are enabling them to deliver substantial fuel economy improvements.
Mega-truck dealer Rush explained its program to help customers learn about the funding sources available to them as well as how to qualify for applicable funding and expedite the paperwork required.
“Green is the hottest topic in the world today,” said Jim Thor, senior vp of retail sales for Rush Truck Centers. “The most difficult part of going green is accessing all the funds currently available, so we have hired a consultant to help us stay on top of it.”
Peterbilt and Eaton have similar grant-writing support programs in place as well. Mark Lloyd, hybrid specialty product sales manager for Eaton Roadranger, provided an overview of state and federal funding programs, including federal tax credits available under the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and the newer Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) under which the U.S. EPA provides grant funding of up to 25% of the total quoted vehicle cost for new hybrid trucks.
Representatives from California’s South Coast Air Quality Management District presented a closer look at the Golden State’s programs to help fund cleaner transportation initiatives, including the Carl Moyer Memorial Air Quality Standards Attainment Program, the new Fleet Modernization Program and the $1 billion Proposition 1B.
There are, of course, qualifying conditions for all such funding programs. In the case of DERA, for example, requirements include that the new truck must be a one-for-one replacement and that the old unit be disabled by drilling a hole in the engine block.
Federal tax credits are allocated depending upon vehicle weight class and the incremental fuel efficiency gains. The good news is that federal tax credits (of $6,000 or $12,000 in the case of qualifying truckt models), DERA funding and state-level grants may all be combined. According to the event hosts, this may be enough to almost entirely offset the incremental costs of a hybrid or alternative-fuel vehicle.
“There are many reasons why going green is the right thing to do today,” noted Rusty Rush, president & CEO of Rush Enterprises, Inc. “We need to reduce vehicle emissions, reduce our dependence on foreign oil and reduce fuel costs. Everybody also cares about company image. We all want to be recognized as good corporate citizens.”
Attendees had the opportunity to drive five of Peterbilt’s green trucks, including the:
- Model 335 hybrid day cab equipped with an Eaton diesel-electric hybrid drive system
- Model 320 CNG-powered unit
- Model 320 hybrid automated side loader—a diesel-powered truck equipped with an Eaton Hydraulic Launch Assist (HLA) system
- Model 386 LNG day cab equipped with a Westport liquefied natural gas engine
- Model 386 hybrid 63-in.Unibilt UltraCab sleeper—a diesel-powered, EPA SmartWay-certified Class 8 tractor equipped with an Eaton diesel-electric hybrid drive system
Other hybrids and natural-gas powered vehicles were also on display, including a diesel-powered utility vehicle equipped with an Eaton diesel-electric drive enabling engine-off PTO operation. All of the trucks, with the exception of the Model 386 tractor --designed for a developmental project with Wal-Mart-- are or will be available for order in 2009.
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