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National Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Day

October 8, 2015 in Alternative Fuel Vehicles, Alternative Fuels, Clean Air, Events, Hydrogen, Uncategorized

Hydrogen Day

Today is National Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Day! In recognition of hydrogen’s atomic weight of 1.008, October 8 is the perfect day to celebrate as hydrogen and fuel cell technologies are being deployed nationwide. California’s investments in alternative fuel vehicles, like hydrogen fuel cell electric cars, are fueling the state’s economy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. These zero-emission vehicles contribute to cleaner air and are hitting the roads now with numbers expecting to increase. National Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Day aims to help raise awareness of this abundant source of fuel that is cleaner and more efficient than petroleum.

Learn more about these vehicles and the commercialization of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles through efforts of the California Fuel Cell Partnership (CaFCP). For additional information on National Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Day, read the details of the California Energy Commission’s News Release.

Visit a list of events and downloadable resources.

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Goods Movement Emission Reduction Program Accepting Applications

September 22, 2015 in Alternative Fuel Vehicles, Alternative Fuels, Clean Air, Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), Diesel/Biodiesel, Electric Vehicles, Fleets, Funding, Hybrid Vehicles, Uncategorized

SDAPCD Funding Available

The San Diego County Air Pollution Control District is now accepting applications for the Proposition 1B Goods Movement Emission Reduction Program (GMERP) through November 20, 2015 at 5:00 PM. GMERP will offer approximately $12 million in funding to owners of eligible heavy-duty diesel trucks and transportation refrigeration units (TRUs) who upgrade to cleaner technologies. Formed by a partnership between the California Air Resources Board and local agencies, GMERP aims to reduce air pollution and health risk from freight movement along California’s trade corridors.

Qualifying applicants include owners of class 6, 7, or 8 heavy-duty diesel trucks and/or diesel TRUs, truck stops, distribution centers, or other heavy-duty diesel truck congregation centers within defined trade corridors.

Visit or call 916-44-GOODS for a complete list of program requirements.

Visit for online forms and instructions.

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Reducing our Carbon Bootprint

September 9, 2015 in Alternative Fuel Vehicles, Alternative Fuels, Calendar of Events, Events, Fleets, Infrastructure, Uncategorized


Reducing our Carbon Bootprint

Next Wednesday, September 16

Register now for the San Diego Regional Clean Cities Coalition’s event showcasing the local military’s leadership in alternative fuels and renewable energy. The discussion will focus on challenges and lessons learned which may be valuable to other regional alternative fuel deployments. Speakers will include Len Hering, RADM, USN (ret), Executive Director of the Center for Sustainable Energy and Gary Funk, Fleet Manager for Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.

The program and provided lunch are FREE.

For more information, contact

Date: Wednesday, September 16, 2015
Time: 10:45 a.m. — Registration
11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. — Discussion & Networking Lunch
Location:  Center for Sustainable Energy
 9325 Sky Park Court, Suite 100
 San Diego, CA 92123
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San Diego Regional ZEV Incentives

September 1, 2015 in Alternative Fuel Vehicles, Clean Air, Electric Vehicles, Funding, Infrastructure

California state and regional incentives have proven effective to help increase alternative fuel vehicle adoption and decrease GHG emissions. Since transportation accounts for about 45% of GHG emissions in both San Diego County and California, and 30% nationwide, transportation policies are central to meeting state and federal emission reduction goals. Present zero emission vehicle (ZEV) incentives in San Diego County and future regionally tailored policies will be especially useful for achieving GHG scenarios outlined in the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG)’s newest regional plan, San Diego Forward: The Regional Plan.

The San Diego County Air Pollution Control District (SDCAPCD) participates in a number of statewide vehicle incentive programs. Although they don’t target ZEVs, these incentives can facilitate their adoption for trucks and heavy duty vehicles. The Carl Moyer Memorial Air Quality Standards Attainment Program, in its 17th year, provides up to $3 million annually for the replacement of heavy-duty diesel engines with lower emitting vehicles. The On-Road Heavy-Duty Voucher Incentive Program helps to replace qualifying trucks with lower-emission vehicles, or to install Verified Diesel Emission Control Strategies. It offers $5,000 to $45,000 for trucks with an engine model year 2006 or older. Both programs are run by the San Diego Air Pollution Control District (SDAPCD). About half of San Diego County’s transportation greenhouse gas emissions are from medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, so the current incentives are successful in targeting substantial GHG emitters. However, as discussed previously, air districts have adopted a range of ZEV incentives to complement state and federal policies to spur light-duty ZEV adoption. At present, the SDAPCD offers few vouchers or tax credits for light-duty ZEVs. It did recently offer incentives to upgrade older airport taxis to hybrid electric and alternative fuel vehicles. However, the San Diego region could greatly benefit from an incentive program for light-duty passenger vehicles.

San Diego County is a national leader in electric vehicle adoption, but its regional plan highlights a need to continue to increase adoption at an ambitious level to meet statewide GHG emission reduction targets. If the state intends to have 1.5 million ZEVs on the road by 2025, San Diego County’s share would be 141,000 vehicles. With 17,000 vehicles presently –including about twice the number of BEVs as PHEVs, 400 car2go car-share ZEVs, and a small number of other alternative fuel vehicles –that is an increase of 124,000 ZEVs. According to estimated statewide ZEV sales, the San Diego region population of PEVs is expected to increase to 50,000 in 2020; 300,000 in 2035; and nearly 400,000 in 2050 (SANDAG). As the San Diego Regional PEV Readiness Plan notes, “mandates and incentives will prove to be essential to encourage PEV growth” and “in order to foster the market’s rapid growth, a robust EVSE [electric vehicle supply equipment] network needs to be built.” The region presently has 908 public charging stations at 330 locations and 60 DC fast chargers at 34 locations (SDG&E, 2015). Between April 2011 and May 2013, 114 business and fleet stations at 39 sites were installed (Appendix U.12: PEV Readiness Plan). This is an appreciable growth, and should hope to be an ongoing trend.


Source: San Diego Association of Governments, 2015.

Fortunately, SANDAG is planning to increase EVSE infrastructure as part of its Transportation System and Demand Management Programs. In 2020, it will implement Transit Infrastructure Electrification and Regional Charger Programs. Through 2050, it has allocated $10 million to infrastructure electrification of bus fleets, installing wireless recharging at transit stations (San Diego Forward: The Regional Plan, Appendix E). It has allocated $30 million to expand the network of Level 1 and 2 charging stations through regional planning and installation incentives. Three-quarters of stations will be Level 1, with an installation incentive of $250, and one-quarter will be Level 2, with an installation incentive of $2,100 (similar to Metropolitan Transportation Commission incentive levels). The program should result in 36,000 charging stations by 2035 and 43,000 by 2050 (Appendix E). Following estimates of the Electric Power Research Institute, SANDAG assumes that one charging station would support five PHEVs, and increase electric miles traveled of PHEVs from 30% to 41% (Appendix E). The additional electric miles of PHEVs should allow for a net reduction of carbon dioxide emissions of 390,000lbs by 2035 and 455,000lbs by 2050 (SANDAG, 2015).

In compliance with SB 375, SANDAG has developed its second Sustainable Communities Strategy. Prepared as part of San Diego Forward: The Regional Plan, it expects an 18% per capita reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from passenger vehicles by 2020 and a 24% reduction by 2035 from a 2005 baseline (Appendix C). This significantly surpasses the California Air Resources Board’s targets for the San Diego region of 7% by 2020 and 13% by 2035.

The Value of Tailored ZEV Incentives for San Diego County

The San Diego region has several unique opportunities and challenges to meet regional ZEV adoption targets and progress toward GHG emission reduction goals for 2050. As mentioned previously, the region could fill gaps of state and federal ZEV incentive programs by placing particular emphasis on higher need locations, such as multi-unit dwellings, busy transit corridors, low-income communities, and workplaces.

One of the first incentives the San Diego region could consider adding to its ZEV portfolio is a purchase program for light-duty vehicles to complement those currently in place for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles. Both the BAAQMD and the SJVAPCD have light-duty vehicle purchase incentives that can be stacked onto state and federal incentives. This would offer additional motivation that may be necessary for a customer’s first ZEV purchase. The region could also consider funding design. The California incentive program has recently been modified to include an income cap and progressive funding based on income to stimulate greater ZEV purchasing among lower income groups. San Diego may wish to mirror this design to spread ZEV adoption across income groups. Lastly, funding should vary based on vehicle type—BEV, PHEV, NEV or motorcycle—as these offer different air quality benefits.

Multi-unit dwellings (MUDs) are a particularly important charging site to spur ZEV adoption. The EV Project found that almost three-quarters of PEV charging occurs at a vehicle owner’s residence, and 19% occurs at public charging stations (Appendix U.12). Due to new California housing laws that call for increasing the mix of housing types and increasing infill development, there will be a significant increase in multifamily housing in both 2020 and 2050 (San Diego Forward: The Regional Plan, Appendix L). In fact, 84% of future residential growth will be multifamily housing through 2050 (Appendix L). In addition, the National Household Travel Survey indicates that Level 1 charging stations can satisfy plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) drivers, but for battery electric vehicle (BEV) drivers, Level 2 charging is “critical.” Level 2 charging stations presently may not be accessible to those living in multi-unit dwellings (MUDs), partly because many MUD owners have little financial interest in installing stations. Greater incentives for MUD owners are especially necessary to increase resident’s charging opportunities and willingness to purchase a PEV.

An initial step to spurring ZEV adoption at MUDs has been the voluntary CALGreen Code of the California Building Standards. The 2012 Supplement called for “at least 3% of the total parking spaces, but not less than 1%, in low-rise multi-family dwellings be prepared to support electric vehicle charging infrastructure (EVSE) in the future” (Appendix U.12). The proposed 2015 update would require that at least 4% of spaces be prepared to support EVSE. These are important steps to encourage the growth of electric vehicle charging at MUDs, but financial incentives would likely have a greater impact.

Increasing incentives for residents living in low-income housing will also be important for the San Diego region. Over a quarter of Traffic Analysis Zones– a geographic unit used throughout the San Diego regional plan that is about the size of a census block– presently count at least 41% of the population below the regional poverty level (Appendix H, Figure H.6). From 2010 to 2020, abiding by state laws such as SB 375 for increasing the housing mix, 40% of new construction is planned to be for low- to very low-income residents (Appendix L). Providing for the charging needs of these residents will be crucial for ZEV adoption to increase across income levels and have a chance of meeting statewide ZEV adoption goals.

Businesses are another charging site highlighted in most ZEV readiness plans as central to encouraging ZEV adoption. According to the San Diego Regional PEV Readiness Plan, “it is vital to place EVSE at locations in which BEV drivers will stay for long periods: workplaces and other public places such as schools, retail centers, gyms and medical locations” (Appendix U.12). Charging at businesses can decrease “range anxiety” for BEV owners who have long commutes, need to perform extra errands or non-commute trips. The Center for Sustainable Energy offers a fact sheet for businesses considering installing charging stations for employees and a fact sheet for public agencies involved in permitting and building codes.

A fourth target location for electric vehicle chargers is along high-traffic transit corridors. The San Diego Regional PEV Readiness Plan acknowledges the need for DC fast chargers “throughout countywide highway corridors [to]… suit the long-range driving needs of PEV owners.” San Diego Forward: The Regional Plan indicates that through 2050, new housing will be “concentrated in urban areas adjacent to transit” in accordance with Sustainable Community Strategies and California’s SB 375 (Appendix L), so charging sites along transit corridors will be especially useful. The Regional Plan states that “the San Diego region will add nearly one million people, 330,000 homes, and 500,000 jobs by 2050” (Appendix H) and that “the number of homes located within one half-mile of high frequency public transit services will increase from 35% in 2012 to 62% in 2050” (Appendix C). DC fast chargers could also be used for long-distance travelers requiring a quick recharge, as well as local residents with regular commutes. In fact, a UC Irvine survey found that “a network of 290 strategically located fast chargers throughout California would enable 98% of drivers to adopt BEVs based on average daily vehicle miles traveled” (Appendix U.12). Currently, the region has 60 DC fast chargers. Planners acknowledge that “organizing future housing and jobs around transit is a critical strategy in preparing for such dramatic change.” Therefore, the Regional Plan projects transportation and housing growth “in an iterative process” to maximum overlap (Appendices H & L).

With additional ZEV and EVSE incentives tailored to the San Diego region’s unique needs, the County has a much higher likelihood of spurring voluntary electric vehicle adoption at a level adequate to meet state and federal GHG targets. Vehicle incentives should be tailored according to present demographics and regional growth expectations. They might be designed similarly to those adopted in other California regions, like the Regional Charger Program based on BAAQMD practices. Vehicle incentives should also complement transportation system and demand management strategies, other alternative fuel strategies, and VMT reduction measures. Meeting the 2050 GHG emission reduction scenarios evaluated in the Regional Plan is an acknowledged challenge. Given the success of incentive programs in other regions, San Diego has a valuable opportunity to reduce long-term emissions through its own light-duty ZEV and EVSE incentives.

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Biomimicry Seminars

August 31, 2015 in Uncategorized

Biomimicry is about applying nature’s design, patterns, and strategies to developing products, policies, and processes. By applying nature’s underlying design principles to innovations, it is possible to solve many problems and design more efficient processes.

Biomimicry San Diego is offering two free educational seminars on biomimicry at the SDG&E Energy Innovation Center on September 8th and September 16th. Both seminars are all-day, offering not only educational background on biomimicry, but hands-on learning activities as well (and, as an added bonus, breakfast and lunch are both provided). Further, both seminars are led by San Diego Regional Clean Cities Coalition board member Jacques Chirazi (, Certified Biomimicry Professional and Founder of Biomimicry San Diego.

Details for each event is below. Visit the EIC website to register.

Introduction to Biomimicry – Tuesday September 8th Integrating Biology into Design – Wednesday September 16th

Register Now – Space is limited!

8:00 am
– Morning Session: Biomimicry Core Values and relevant biomimicry case studies

What you will learn in this session:

  • Introduction to the field of biomimicry
  • Defining the meme
  • Understanding biomimicry and its core values
  • The Seeds of Biomimicry
  • Deeper exploration of case studies and inspiring organisms

12:30 pm – Afternoon Session: Life’s Principles – How products and processes can learn from nature

What you will learn and do in this session:

  • Introduction to Life’s Principle’s
  • Hands-on exploration of the methodology of using Nature as Mentor, Model and Measure
  • Bringing biology into the scoping, discovery, evaluation stage of design
  • Integrating Biology into Design methodology
Register Now – Space is limited!

8:00 am – Morning Session: Biomimicry methodology and procedures, consulting organisms and ecosystems

What you will learn in this session:

  • Leverage Life’s Principles as a gateway to world of biology and ecology
  • Biomimicry Thinking
  • Learn from the local champions adapters
  • Scoping the challenge

12:30 pm
– Afternoon session: Nature’s Strategies -Practicing the steps of integrating biology into design

What you will learn in this session:

  • Case studies
  • Functional Biology
  • Hand-on learning activities
  • Detailed case study of successful strategies
  • Application Integrating Biology into Design methodology

Download informational flyers here and here.

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State and Regional Incentives for Emissions Reductions in Transportation

August 27, 2015 in Alternative Fuel Vehicles, Charging Stations, Clean Air, Electric Vehicles, Infrastructure

The last post examined San Diego’s regional plans for reducing GHGs. Transportation demand and system management strategies, reduced conventional vehicle miles traveled, and a substantial increase in zero emission vehicles (ZEVs), along with state and federal transportation policy changes, are all necessary at an ambitious level to achieve California GHG reduction goals of 80% by 2050. In the following post, I’ll examine how incentive programs achieve GHG reduction goals.

California has a number of vehicle incentive programs to encourage the adoption of low carbon vehicles. These offer an important complement to substantial federal incentives. Present federal incentives include a tax credit of $2,500 to $7,500 for electric vehicles and 10% of the purchase price for zero emission motorcycles and neighborhood electric vehicles. California’s Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP) provides up to $5,000 for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, $2,500 for battery electric vehicles (BEVs), $1,500 for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), and $900 for electric motorcycles and neighborhood electric vehicles (NEVs). In more disadvantaged and polluted areas, the state has a Public Fleet Pilot Project for public agencies instead of CVRP. This increases the rebate to $15,000 for fuel-cell vehicles, $10,000 for BEVs and $5,250 for PHEVs. Another state incentive, focusing on hybrid and electric trucks and buses, is the California Hybrid and Zero-Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project (HVIP). HVIP vouchers range from $8,000 to $45,000 for the purchase of hybrid or electric trucks or buses. California also grants carpool lane access to electric vehicles. Finally, air quality management districts may offer vehicle incentives. Some of these are stackable with state and federal incentives.

Regional PEV purchase incentives vary considerably, even in-state. In California, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) and the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (SJVAPCD) offer good examples. Through its Drive Clean! Rebate Program, the SJVAPCD offers a $2,000 rebate for the purchase or lease of PHEVs and $3,000 for BEVs, as well as $1,000 for residential charging station installation and up to 50% of public charging station equipment and installation costs. The region’s New Alternative Fuel Vehicle Program offers up to $20,000 per vehicle purchased by a public agency and up to $100,000 annually per agency. A third incentive is the HVIP “Plus-Up.” The San Joaquin Valley offers up to $30,000 more beyond the state-issued HVIP. Finally, several cities in the region are eligible for the statewide PACE HERO Financing program offered by Renovate America. Financing supports the purchase and installation of permanent energy efficiency and renewable energy products, including electric vehicle chargers.

The BAAQMD offers a similar array of plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) purchase incentives, but with different qualifications and funding amounts. The Electric Vehicle Project (EVP) for Business Fleets offers $400 for PHEVs and $700 for BEVs, and the EVP for Public Fleets offers $1,000 for PHEVs and $2,000 for BEVs. The vehicle buy back offers residents $1,000 for replacing model year 1994 vehicles and older. In 2015, the BAAQMD also began a regional electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) Charge! program, which offers funding for charging stations along high-traffic transportation corridors. Charge! provides up to $20,000 for direct circuit (DC) fast charger installation, as well as funding for charging stations at workplaces and multi-unit dwellings.

The Association of Bay Area Governments and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission have created a long-range PEV Readiness Plan. With goals of addressing climate change and transportation, it also outlines a number of PEV incentive programs. The Plan includes a $25 million Clean Vehicles Feebate Program; a $120 million Vehicle Buyback and PEV Purchase Incentive; and the $80 million Regional EVSE Charge! Network. The Feebate Program is proposed to begin in 2020 and would charge vehicle purchasers a fee for vehicles that exceed a carbon emissions standard. Revenue collected would be rebated to purchasers of vehicles that have carbon emissions below the standard. The Vehicle Buyback and PEV Purchase Incentive would offer $1,000 for PHEVs and $2,000 for BEVs. Beginning in 2015, the EVSE Charge! program offers incentives of $250 for Level 1 charging stations and $2,100 for Level 2 charging stations. Other comprehensive goals of the Bay Area Plan include improving building code standards for EVSEs; helping to develop statewide PEV readiness guidelines, multi-unit dwelling and workplace guidelines; helping to expedite EVSE permitting; creating a business calculator for EVSE ownership; and creating a monitoring program for adoption of medium- and heavy-duty PEVs in fleets.

Incentive Program Current and Expected Accomplishments

Both the BAAQMD and the SJVAPCD electric vehicle incentive programs align with their regional PEV readiness plans to meet statewide ZEV adoption goals. They have already yielded several achievements and can expect more as their ZEV and other transportation initiatives continue. Program success can be measured in various ways.

Four of the five most ozone polluted cities in the country are in the San Joaquin Valley, so expected economic and health improvements of ZEV adoption in the SJVAPCD are especially important proxies of success. As noted in a report on the environmental benefits of regional PEV adoption, a study at California State University, Fullerton, found that there are 812 particulate matter (PM)-related deaths in the San Joaquin Valley annually. By attaining federal ozone and PM standards, largely through reduced emissions from conventional vehicles, the study estimates that residents could save $5.73 billion in economic costs and $2.5 billion in medical costs and mortality annually. Additionally, as noted in the same report, high ozone levels have been shown to inhibit plant growth, and the San Joaquin Valley’s economy is centrally dependent on agriculture.

In the SJVAPCD, the increase of rebates and charging stations are other useful proxies of success for ZEV incentives. By August 2015, over 2,600 rebates had been processed by Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP); the Drive Clean! program had approved 2,094 rebates worth $5.8 million, with 450 more expected by the end of 2015; The New Alternative Fuel Vehicle Program had disbursed 906 rebates totaling $14.3 million, with 122 more expected by the end of 2015; and by July 2015, the HVIP program has processed 281 vouchers for a total of $7.3 million. Additionally, from 2013 to 2014, the HVIP Plus-Up disbursed 109 rebates totaling $2 million. While the growth in ZEV purchases can’t be attributed to any one incentive alone, it does indicate that incentives have likely helped. According to a 2013 California Plug-in Electric Vehicle Driver Survey, 91% of San Joaquin Valley respondents said the state rebate was an important motivation for buying a PEV, with 68% claiming it was “very” or “extremely” important. As for increasing the availability of public charging stations, according to a Center for Sustainability report on San Joaquin Valley PEVs, there were 38 public Level 1 and 2 and 7 public direct current (DC) fast chargers in the San Joaquin Valley in November 2013. By July 2015, the user-generated website listed 128 public Level 1 and 2 chargers and 12 public DC fast chargers. Thus, SJVAPCD’s EVSE Charge! program seems to be influential in expanding the charging station network.


Source: Center for Sustainable Energy, 2013.

The BAAQMD shows a similar increase in PEV adoption and an expected increase in charging station installation. According to a 2010 U.S. automotive market study by Deloitte, 70% of consumers cite price as the main consideration for buying a PEV. They believe that price should be cost competitive with non-PEV models. There were 13,000 PEVs in the BAAQMD in 2013, and over 44,000 by August 2015, according to the Bay Area PEV Readiness Plan and the CVRP. PEV adoption is increasing quickly in the region, and incentives will be key to maintaining adoption trends. From HVIP’s inception through July 2015, residents in the BAAQMD have received 464 incentives for a total of $15.5 million, and the Vehicle Buyback and PEV Purchase Incentive is expected to encourage adoption of 50,000 vehicles. Regarding charging stations, as of July 2015, listed 842 public Level 1 and 2 charging stations and 97 public DC fast charge stations throughout the air district. With the average Bay Area commute distance being 13 miles, more local charging stations should substantially increase the ratio of electricity-powered miles to gasoline-powered miles traveled by PHEVs. Plus, the Charge! EVSE program stipulates that 20% of DC fast chargers will be installed in “Impacted/Environmental Justice” designated communities. Combined, these steps can be expected to foster widespread PEV adoption across income levels.

The Bay Area’s PEV Readiness Plan suggests its initiatives will produce numerous GHG reduction benefits. Its Clean Vehicles Feebate Program is expected to reduce per capita emissions reductions 0.7%, its Vehicle Buyback and PEV Purchase Incentive is expected to reduce per capita emissions reductions 0.5%, and its Regional EVSE Network is expected to reduce per capita emissions reductions 0.3%.

California regional incentive programs offer varying levels and types of financial support for ZEV purchase and EVSE installation. Some can be coupled with state and federal incentives; some are designed to particularly benefit businesses, fleets, multi-unit housing or low-income communities; and some are targeted at heavy-duty vehicles. In the next post, I’ll discuss why a ZEV incentive program may be particularly useful for the San Diego region to meet its regional and state GHG emission reduction goals for 2050. How many ZEVs are presently in the region? How many more would be needed to meet state goals? What are the current incentives, and are there any unique opportunities or challenges for the San Diego region?

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San Diego Regional Planning for Greenhouse Gas Reduction and the Role of Electric Vehicles

August 25, 2015 in Clean Air, Electric Vehicles

In addition to considering the air quality benefits of zero emission vehicle (ZEV) adoption, as discussed in a recent post, the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) has extensively considered means to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation countywide. The state-administered Advanced Clean Car Program and Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS), and the San Diego region’s Sustainable Communities Strategies and regional transportation demand and system management strategies (TDM and TSM) will be the main means to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the transportation sector. According to SANDAG, these measures could reduce GHG emissions from cars and light duty trucks from 35,000 tons/day in 2012 to 17,000 tons/day in 2035 (San Diego Forward: The Regional Plan, Appendix D). However, to continue progress toward the California goal of 80% GHG emissions reductions by 2050, SANDAG has assessed the GHG reduction impact of various additional avenues.

EV charging

Source: San Diego Association of Governments, 2015.

In San Diego Forward: The Regional Plan, SANDAG considered several transportation policy scenarios that could help reach an 80% reduction in regional GHG emissions by 2050. These are informed by both California Air Resources Board and Caltrans statewide transportation GHG emissions reductions scenarios, outlined in the ARB Draft Vision for Clean Air and the Caltrans Draft California Transportation Plan 2040. While the more ambitious scenarios SANDAG considers that achieve an 80% reduction require new state and federal policies, the less ambitious scenarios are centrally composed of transportation policies outlined in San Diego Forward: The Regional Plan. SANDAG’s first scenario is a baseline, projecting the impact of California policies already in place, plus proposed TDM and TSM strategies. Policies factored into the baseline scenario include the Advanced Clean Car Program, the California Renewables Portfolio Standard, and the LCFS. TDM and TSM strategies include freeway and roadway management, advanced transportation and vehicle technology, transportation hubs, bike parking, vanpooling and carpooling, and expanded electric vehicle charging, among other programs (Appendix D). All of these are incorporated in the Regional Plan. The first scenario also assumes additional TDM and TSM strategies beyond 2035 continue to decrease emissions. These would produce a statewide GHG reduction of over 50% from 2012 by 2035 (Figure D.1). Scenario 2 is more ambitious, and falls just shy of meeting the California goal of an 80% GHG emission reduction by 2050. It follows the assumptions of Scenario 1 to 2035, then includes a phase-in of alternative fuel vehicles and ZEVs, as well as other measures to decrease vehicle miles traveled (VMT) (Figure D.1). Several transportation programs in the Regional Plan would accomplish a significant reduction in VMT. SANDAG also notes Scenario 2 would require significant state and federal policy changes in addition to aggressive regional measures (Appendix D). The third and fourth scenarios would require even more ambitious adoption of alternative fuel vehicles and ZEVs, accompanied by VMT reduction measures (Appendix D). SANDAG shows that these would be necessary for the region to reduce GHG emissions from the transportation sector by 80% by 2050 (Figure D.1). Thus, to meet state emissions goals, regional ZEV incentives would be particularly useful.


Figure D.1. Total Projected Carbon Dioxide Emissions from Cars and Light-Duty Trucks for the San Diego Region. The red line, dashed yellow, peach, and orange lines show expected emissions reductions from scenarios 1-4, respectively. Source: San Diego Association of Association of Governments, 2015. Appendix D, San Diego Forward: The Regional Plan.

The next post will further explore ZEV incentive programs and how they have contributed to GHG reductions in other regions. In particular, I’ll discuss incentives offered by the BAAQMD and SJVAPCD, as well as the state of California. How have their programs been implemented? What achievements have they produced of do they expect to produce? Then, in the next post, I’ll consider implications for vehicle incentives on San Diego County’s own GHG goals.

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Natural Gas Vehicle Incentive Project Accepting Applications

August 6, 2015 in Alternative Fuel Vehicles, Alternative Fuels, Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), Funding

CEC logo

The California Energy Commission funded Natural Gas Vehicle Incentive Project (NGVIP) will begin accepting applications on Friday, August 7, 2015. NGVIP provides incentives to reduce the purchase price of new on-road natural gas vehicles in California. The program has a total of $10.2 million in funding, and incentives range from $1,000 to $25,000 depending on the gross vehicle weight. Vehicles must be registered in California and operated in-state at least 90% of the time for three years. Applicants must receive an incentive reservation confirmation before purchasing an eligible vehicle. Incentives are available on a first-come, first-served basis. NGVIP will be administered by the Institute of Transportation Studies at University of California on behalf of the California Energy Commission. To read more details and to apply, please visit

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ZEV Readiness Part II: Best Practices for Regional Electric Vehicle Programs

August 6, 2015 in Charging Stations, Clean Mobility, Electric Vehicles, Infrastructure

New regional electric vehicle charging plans contain many of the same key recommendations, along with unique components reflecting regional characteristics. Two distinct regions that offer insightful plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) plans include the San Francisco Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) and the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (SJVAPCD). While San Francisco is the state and national per capita leader in PEV adoption with 37% of California registered PEVs, the San Joaquin Valley, with 1% of California registered PEVs, is in the beginning phase of expanding its PEV infrastructure. The San Joaquin Valley has simultaneously been making strides in PEV adoption, particularly since fall 2012. Despite their differences, both the San Francisco Bay Area and San Joaquin Valley regions offer useful regional PEV plans with best practices for nationwide PEV adoption.

SJV EV Picture

Nissan Leaf charging at Visalia’s Fox Theater. Source: Center for Sustainable Energy, 2013.

As of late 2013, the SJVAPCD’s jurisdiction had only a limited number  of Level 2 charging stations, mostly located in the eight towns of Modesto, Stockton, Tracy, Lodi, Fresno, Clovis, Visalia, and Bakersfield, and no direct current (DC) fast charge stations. PEV ownership is concentrated in these eight towns. Considering the geographic extent of the San Joaquin Valley, one of the most apparent barriers to PEV adoption is a lack of infrastructure to support PEV charging and use. Fortunately, as Phase I of its PEV Readiness Plan notes, the SJVAPCD began studying best infrastructure siting and deployment in 2014. Other central recommendations identified to increase PEV adoption in the San Joaquin Valley include creating zoning, signage and parking policies, updating building codes, providing incentives for education of maintenance personnel, increasing resources available to municipal planning agencies that often have limited staff to update zoning codes, communicating to businesses and residents about the benefits of PEV adoption, and using the San Joaquin Valley Plug-in Electric Vehicle Coordinating Council to direct regional implementation of state and national best practices. More general guidelines that apply to most regions considering PEV implementation plans include encouraging workplace and multi-unit dwelling charging, managing grid impacts by working with utilities to encourage charging during off-peak hours, increasing public agencies’ PEV fleets, and charging infrastructure on public property.

The BAAQMD PEV Readiness Plan reflects the extensive infrastructure already in place around the San Francisco Bay Area. In juxtaposition with the San Joaquin Valley plan, it offers an example for PEV planning after adoption has become more widespread. Like the SJVAPCD plan, the BAAQMD plan highlights a need for continued education and outreach to familiarize the local community with PEVs; increasing collaboration between local groups, public agencies and private businesses in deploying PEV infrastructure; offering incentives including a vehicle buyback program to increase PEV ownership among lower income households and increase fleet adoption; continued expansion of charging infrastructure; refined permitting and building codes; refined zoning and parking codes; education of maintenance personnel and other stakeholders; and decreased utility grid impacts by communicating with local utilities.

Thought they are in very different stages of PEV adoption and infrastructure deployment, both the SJVAPCD and BAAQMD regions offer PEV implementation plans that comprehensively address the regions’ present needs and position them to confront the broader challenges to increasing PEV adoption. By including both regionally specific and broad PEV deployment challenges, the San Joaquin and San Francisco PEV readiness plans offer insight on best practices for PEV implementation planning nationwide.

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DC Fast Charging Grant Available for North-South California Highway Corridors

August 3, 2015 in Funding, Infrastructure

The California Energy Commission’s (CEC) Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program announced a new grant last week for organizations interested in helping to expand direct current (DC) fast charging along California’s North-South highway corridors. Grant Funding Opportunity 15-601, “DC Fast Chargers for California’s North-South Corridor,” will offer up to $10 million for proposals that help to increase charging stations along I-5, Highway 101, and CA-99 from San Jose south. The final deadline to submit a funding application for GFO-15-601 is November 19th, and a pre-application workshop will be held by the California Energy Commission in Sacramento on August 7th. It can also be attended by web conference. Read more about the funding, application, and deadlines here, or visit the CEC Networking Hub on Linkedin for more resources on funding and partnership opportunities. See some of the other projects CEC has funded here.

The California Energy Commission (CEC) grant is meant to complete California’s portion of the West Coast Electric Highway, which extends from British Columbia to Baja California. Oregon completed its portion of the Electric Highway in March, having installed 44 DC chargers. Each charger cost about $100,000, and construction costs were subsidized with $910,000 from the U.S. Department of Energy and $3.34 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation. BMW, Volkswagen and ChargePoint have also recently announced a joint DC fast charge project with chargers at regular intervals along routes from both San Diego to Portland and Washington to Boston. It will add a total of about 100 privately funded DC fast chargers. The Electric Highway and the DC fast charge project should help alleviate electric vehicle “range anxiety” and increase consumer comfort with using electric vehicles for long distance trips as well as urban commutes.

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