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