The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

Calif. Awards $9.6 million for EV, Alt-Fuel Projects

November 09, 2010

SACRAMENTO, CA - The California Energy Commission has approved eight grants to fund projects aimed at advancing the manufacture of electric vehicles and vehicle batteries, adding vehicle charging stations, and encouraging the use of biofuels. The grants leverage more than $9.6 million in state funding with $11.9 million in private funds. 

The total of $9,612,515 in state funding comes from the Energy Commission's Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Transportation program.

"Three years ago, California crafted innovative legislation that is paying dividends in groundbreaking advances in transportation," said Energy Commissioner Anthony Eggert. "Partnerships between government and the private sector are encouraging new industries that can rebuild California's manufacturing base. The projects the commission approved will improve California's economy and its environment by fostering green, clean advancements in transportation."

Here is a summary of the eight projects, their costs and benefits:

  • Electric vehicle manufacturing -- $1 million to TransPower, a clean energy company headquartered in Escondido to study the feasibility of manufacturing large electric-drive trucks in or near San Pedro by 2013. By combining several processes and companies under one roof, the vertically integrated facility for electric truck manufacturing would combine the building of components like advanced converters or battery modules with their assembly into electric drive systems. These would then be installed on site into mass-produced truck bodies made elsewhere. Project partners will provide $1 million to match the state grant. The goal is to ramp up production to 2,500 trucks by 2020, creating 1,500 high-paying jobs. Each electric truck that replaces a diesel model can save an estimated 75 tons of CO2 a year.
  • Electric vehicles components -- $505,381 to San Francisco-based Mission Motor Co. to help it bring its prototype electric vehicle components to commercial production. In 2007 the company developed Mission One, a high-performance electric motorcycle. The company used that technology to create battery modules and motor control systems that will work in other electric motorcycles, scooters, cars, buses and even outdoor power equipment. Along with the Energy Commission grant, Mission Motor Co. will provide match funding of $623,581 to create an assembly facility in downtown San Francisco that should be capable of producing 30,000 battery packs and motor control systems each year by 2015, creating as many as 100 jobs. If used in a motorcycle, the resulting powertrain will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 72 percent and save 70 gallons of petroleum each year. If used in a light-duty passenger vehicle, the powertrain will cut emissions by the same percent as it displaces 575 gallons of petroleum yearly.
  • Electric vehicles components -- $2,962,743 to Leyden Energy Inc. to help it create a production line capable of assembling its lithium-ion cells into 10 battery packs per month for its partner in the project, electric vehicle manufacturer Green Vehicles of Salinas. Leyden Energy Inc. is a battery developer and manufacturer based in Alameda County. The two companies will provide $2,963,000 to match the Energy Commission funding. The project will create 11 technical and production jobs immediately, with another 500 anticipated to be added at Leyden Energy's Fremont headquarters and at a future commercial-scale production facility planned for Salinas. Each battery pack that goes into a light-duty electric vehicle is expected to reduce petroleum use by 575 gallons per year and reduce the resulting greenhouse gas emissions by 72 percent. Large battery systems with thousands of cells are the single most expensive component in an electric vehicle, accounting for up to 50 percent of the purchase price.

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