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AQMD Receives $45.4 million Grant


August 7, 2009

The South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) was awarded a $45.4 million grant from the Department of Energy this week from a program in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act designed to accelerate the development of U.S.-manufactured next-generation batteries and electric vehicles.

AQMD’s proposal to develop a fully integrated, production plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) system for medium-duty utility and delivery trucks and shuttle buses received more than 10 percent of all available funding for that category.

The grant covers approximately half of the total $90 million project cost. The additional $45 million comes from several sources: $5 million from the California Energy Commission’s Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program; $32 million from utility and fleet participants; $5.5 million from Eaton Corporation of Galesburg, Mich., which will produce the PHEV system; and $2.5 million from the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) of Palo Alto, an independent, non-profit company which performs research, development and design in the electricity sector.

“This is a significant investment by the federal government and will help accelerate the development of cleaner, medium-duty work vehicles and reduce the amount of air pollution in Southern California as well as the nation,” said Barry Wallerstein, AQMD’s executive officer.

“Currently, utility vehicles such as bucket trucks run at idle to produce enough power to lift a utility worker into the air. These next-generation plug-in hybrid vehicles will do this using battery power alone to reduce smog-forming and greenhouse gas emissions. This also reduces the exposure of workers to harmful tailpipe emissions,” he said.

AQMD, in partnership with EPRI, will oversee the development of 378 demonstration vehicles over the three-year project cycle. More than 100 of these vehicles will be demonstrated in California with the remaining vehicles delivered for nationwide testing in daily long-term fleet use. EPRI estimates that the fleet demand of PHEVs will grow to more than 46,000 vehicles by 2015.

“At the end of the demonstration project our partners will have a fully operational production line that will pave the way to the commercialization of PHEV vehicles,” said Mark Duvall, director of Electric Transportation at EPRI. “The benefits of commercialization will be fully realized as fleet providers retire their polluting vehicles and trade-up to the cleaner plug-in hybrid systems.”

Altec Industries of Elizabethtown, Ky., an authorized original equipment manufacturer, will incorporate the PHEV system developed by Eaton Corporation. All 378 PHEV vehicles will be utilized by utility and fleet partners.

AQMD is the air pollution control agency for Orange County and major portions of Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Riverside counties.

This page updated: August 07, 2009