California offering $120k vouchers for a new Class 8 zero-emission truck

June 15, 2021

Tyson Fisher


California-based trucking companies have another opportunity to switch to zero-emission trucks with the relaunch of the Hybrid and Zero-Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project, also known as HVIP.

Recently, the California Air Resources Board and nonprofit organization Calstart announced that the zero-emission truck and bus voucher program began accepting new voucher requests on June 8. This year, $165 million will be available to California-based businesses that want to transform their fleets with new, zero-emission trucks and buses.

One barrier to zero-emission trucks is the relatively high price tag compared to traditional, diesel-powered trucks. The voucher program makes the clean technology vehicles as affordable as fossil-fueled trucks. This allows smaller fleets to transition to advanced, clean technologies to reduce emissions and air pollution. California has among the strictest climate goals and emissions standards in the nation.

Incentives for zero-emission trucks range from $45,000 for Class 4 trucks to $120,000 for Class 8 trucks.

Currently, there are six Class 8 trucks eligible for the vouchers, all of which are battery electric and have a $120,000 incentive amount:

  • BYD 8TT Class 8
  • Freightliner eCascadia
  • Kenworth T680E
  • Lion Electric Lion8T
  • Peterbilt 579EV
  • Volvo VNR Electric

For more information, including approved dealers, go to

There are some changes to this year’s voucher program. The Hybrid and Zero-Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project will launch in two phases. Half of the $165 million in funding was released on opening day, June 8. The remaining half of the funds will be available at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 10. The program is hoping the phases will give more opportunities to smaller fleets.

However, Class 8 trucks performing drayage operations as well as vehicles purchased by public agencies will be exempt from the two-month pause. Those operations will be exempt to support CARB’s Project 800 initiative, which sets out to support the deployment of zero-emission trucks at California ports by setting a goal of 800 zero-emission drayage truck orders this year.

California’s strict emissions standards

In December, CARB approved of $28 million in Air Quality Improvement Program funding. The money went toward two incentive programs in California: the Hybrid and Zero-Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project and the Clean Cars 4 All program.

California’s zero-emission truck voucher program was launched in 2009. Calstart, a national clean transportation nonprofit consortium, administers the program on behalf of CARB. According to a news release, the program has provided more than $400 million, supporting more than 1,400 fleet purchasers. More than 7,000 clean vehicles have been deployed as a result, with more than half operating in disadvantaged and low-income communities, which are disproportionately impacted by air pollutants and subject to heavy truck traffic.

California has been tightening emissions standards the past several years.

In June 2020, CARB passed the Advanced Clean Trucks regulation. According to the regulation, manufacturers that certify Class 2b-8 chassis or complete vehicles with combustion engines must sell zero-emission trucks as an increasing percentage of their annual California sales from 2024 to 2035. By 2035, 75% of Class 4-8 straight truck sales and 40% of tractor sales must derive from zero-emission truck/chassis sales.

In September, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order that addresses emissions standards in passenger and commercial vehicles. The executive order expands on the CARB regulation. Whereas the Advanced Clean Trucks requires 40-75% of sales to include zero-emission trucks by 2035, depending on the truck type, Newsom’s order moves that up to 100% of sales by 2045. The executive order also requires 100% of the sales of new passenger vehicles in California to be zero-emission by 2035.

The new zero-emission standard applies only to operations where feasible. However, the standard applies to all drayage trucks by 2035. Consistent with Newsom’s order, CARB’s recent incentive funding emphasizes immediate support for zero-emission short-haul (drayage) trucks, as well as direction to develop new and innovative programs for owner-operators and small fleets. LL