Steps to Transition
Learn the Basic Steps to Take in Order to Successfully Transition to Using Zero-Emission Vehicles
1. Learn about zero-emission vehicles
There is a lot to learn when it comes to battery electric vehicles, hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles, fueling, infrastructure, regulations, and available incentives. Spend time tuning into a training course or visit the numerous resources linked on this page.
Drive Clean Glossary of Terms
Green Cars Electric Car Terminology
Cars.com - Electric Vehicles: Understanding the Terminology
Run on Less: Electric Truck Education Boot Camp Training
HVIP Informational Video Library
Video: Save Money with Zero-Emission Trucks
Video: Jay Leno Hauls Tesla Semi with Tesla Semi
2. Identify your fleet needs
A few questions to ask yourself include: How far do I typically drive my vehicle per day? Am I doing local deliveries and trips, maybe 50 to 150 miles a day, or am I driving longer distances like regional or over-the-road work? Next, where and when do I have vehicle downtime? Is the vehicle coming back to a yard or depot after a day shift? Answering these questions on a vehicle-by-vehicle basis will help you to decide what sort of vehicles you need to purchase and what type of fueling infrastructure and locations you will need access to.
Cal Fleet Advisor (Video Introduction)
HVIP Purchaser Guide
Fleet Electrification Solution Center
Transit Infrastructure Planning Toolkit (PDF)
School Bus Infrastructure Planning Toolkit (PDF)
Infrastructure Planning Toolkit (PDF)
3. Define your team and contact your utility (if going to battery electric)
Building a team is critical for success and coordinating early is key. Potential team players include the fleet manager or owner, the electric utility, the dealer and vehicle manufacturer, the charger manufacturer, a design/engineering firm or consultant, staff at any incentive programs you will use, and the permitting agency or authority having jurisdiction. Working with your utility from the onset of the planning process is critical to understand potential build out requirements, cost and development timelines, rates, demand charges, and incentives they offer.
4. Choose a vehicle
According to CALSTART Zero-Emission Technology Inventory Analytics, it is estimated that there are over 100 Class 2b-8 ZEV models commercially available in North America from multiple manufacturers in every vehicle weight class category. Most trucks and vans operate fewer than 100 miles per day and many zero-emission configurations are currently available to serve that need. As technology advances, zero-emission vehicles will become suitable for more applications. Most major truck manufacturers have announced plans to introduce market ready zero-emission trucks.
Market Availability Resources:
5. Plan timeline and permitting
If you decide that you will need to build charging infrastructure, it will take time to plan, develop, and deploy your electric charging infrastructure. It may also take time to secure your new vehicle from the manufacturer. Full deployment of your project can take months or much longer depending on how large or complex the project requires. Start early to help meet your desired timeline.
CAL Fleet Advisor
CALSTART Infrastructure Insite Planning Tool
California Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Project (CALeVIP) Planning your Installation
GoBIZ Electric Vehicle Charging Station Permitting Guidebook (PDF)
GoBIZ Hydrogen Station Permitting Guidebook (PDF)
EDF Fleet Electrification Solution Center
6. Plan for financing and apply for funds
Consider how you will finance the upfront cost of infrastructure and your new zero-emission vehicles. Some companies have capital constraints and may look at an “energy as a service” model where a third party pays the upfront costs to install all charging infrastructure, then charges the truck owner a monthly fee to use the equipment. Several incentive programs are also available to assist with upfront costs. You should also consider the Low Carbon Fuel Standard credits that can help reduce your total cost of ownership.
Funding Finder - CALSTART Rebate Finder
Low Carbon Fuel Standard
Hybrid & Zero-Emission Truck & Bus Voucher Incentive Program (HVIP)
Truck Loan Assistance Program
Carl Moyer Program
ZEV Total Cost of Ownership Calculator (EXCEL)
EnergIIZE Commercial Vehicle Project
7. Build out infrastructure
Infrastructure needs vary depending on fueling strategy, fleet size, technology used, charging equipment, access to the grid, and power demand. New battery electric charging equipment will vary in costs and depend on the required utility upgrades, transformers, trenching, conduit, station installation, charge management, and any energy storage or generation like solar.
Build Out Resources:
8. Ensure driver and maintenance staff training
New technology means new policies and procedures for the operators of the zero-emission vehicles. Including the operator early in the process and getting feedback is a good way to ensure a successful transition for your business.
9. Get Recognized for Your Efforts
Join the free Sustainable Fleets program to earn recognition for achieving zero-emission vehicle targets, access resources to help achieve your sustainability goals, and get hired by a shipper committed to clean transportation.