Some of the biggest names in trucking are calling for federal support of electric trucks and buses

By Jason Mathers

Momentum is building for federal support of truck electrification, and today’s launch of the National Zero-Emission Truck Coalition is a great example of how federal incentives are urgently needed to clean up our air, create tens of thousands of jobs and solidify American competitiveness in the global zero-emission truck market.
Organized by CALSTART, the ZET coalition is a group of America’s biggest truck equipment manufacturers, suppliers and key stakeholders, such as Cummins, Daimler, PACCAR, Eaton, Tesla, Rivian along with Environmental Defense Fund. This knowledgeable set of stakeholders is advocating for federal charging and refueling infrastructure and increased federal investments in advanced clean transportation technologies.
The group is also advocating for a national point-of-sale incentive program to help drive the near-term production of zero-emission trucks and buses in the United States — a policy that for the last decade has stood out for its effective support of clean vehicles at the state level. Also called a “voucher incentive program,” this incentive structure streamlines access to grants that directly support the purchases of clean trucks and buses, including battery electric and fuel cell vehicles.

Proof of success
Voucher incentive programs have been highly effective in states across the country because their design comes directly from fleet owners and breaks through the chicken-and-egg dilemma: Manufacturers will only ramp up production with sufficient demand, but that demand will only emerge with lower prices resulting from scaled production.

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Nearly a decade ago, EDF worked with CALSTART, fleet owners and other stakeholders to develop the voucher program model , which follows a simple five-step process:

Manufacturer or authorized dealer applies to list vehicles for voucher eligibility.
Vendor selling approved vehicle(s) applies to be approved voucher recipient.
Fleet purchases an eligible vehicle from an eligible vendor with voucher amount subtracted.
Vendor works with Voucher Processing Center to process voucher request.
Once vehicle is delivered and all documentation is submitted, vendor is reimbursed.

A CALSTART analysis of point-of-sale incentives across the U.S. has shown that voucher programs are among the most effective policies for incentivizing clean trucks and buses because of their ease of use and administration.
Here are a few examples of where these programs have resulted in more zero-emission trucks on the road:

California: Voucher incentive programs have delivered more than $589 million in incentives and added 4,400 ultra clean medium- and heavy-duty vehicles to California roads today. Additionally, the program has...