Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley used the occasion of the HTUF 2011 National Conference & Expo, held in Baltimore, MD, earlier this week, to announce the two new programs to further efforts to promote the use of hybrid and electric heavy vehicles and buses.
HTUF (Hybrid, Electric and High Efficiency Truck Users Forum) is a national, multi-year, user-driven program to speed the commercialization of medium and heavy duty hybrid and high-efficiency technologies.
One program is the Electric Truck Voucher. Through the Maryland Energy Administration and Maryland Department of Transportation, it is a pilot program that offers a $20,000 voucher to purchase a commercial, 100-percent electric, zero-emission heavy vehicle.
“This initiative will lower the cost of choosing clean electric trucks over diesel vehicles, providing drivers and fleets with a quicker return on their green investments, significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions and the need for fossil fuels,” O’Malley said.
The voucher applies to electric trucks purchased and titled in the State of Maryland, with a gross vehicle weight of more than 10,000 pounds.
O’Malley also announced the state’s newest - the third - diesel emission reduction project: The Maryland Idle Reduction Grant Program.
This program “will provide financial assistance to cover the cost of equipment and installation for on-board idle reduction technologies,” said the governor. “These technologies include: auxiliary power units, fuel operated heaters, automatic stop-start systems, electric truck refrigeration units, as well as several others.
“Vouchers will be used to reduce half of the installed equipment costs, up to a maximum of $4,000 per on-highway Class 6 to Class 8 truck registered in Maryland, and go to the dealer through the reimbursement process, as to minimize the up-front cost to the truck owner.”
The Maryland Idle Reduction Grant Program is a federally funded public-private partnership led by the Maryland Energy Administration, the Department of Environment and the Maryland Motor Truck Association.
O’Malley noted that the State of Maryland has been doing a lot to promote hybrid and electric heavy vehicles. Among its initiatives:
- Participation in the Mid-Atlantic Dray Truck Replacement Program. Supported by a $3.3 million grant from the U.S. EPA, it offers qualified applicants a $20,000 down payment towards the purchase of trucks that meet more stringent emissions standards.
“Based on similar clean truck programs that are sweeping the country, we believe the Dray Truck program will remove some of the oldest, dirtiest trucks from the fleets that serve the Ports of Baltimore, Virginia, Philadelphia and Wilmington,” he said.
- Participation in the Metropolitan Washington Anti-idling and Driver Recognition Program. Managed by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments and developed using federal funds, the initiative coordinates multi-state efforts to increase awareness of the economic and environmental benefits of diesel idle reduction.
- The Maryland Hybrid Truck Goods Movement Initiative. Funded through President Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the program aims to curb emissions, reduce petroleum consumption and provide enhanced economic benefit in the movement of local goods.
“This is another public-private partnership between the Maryland Energy Administration, Maryland Clean Cities and several private fleets companies - like Aramark, Efficiency Enterprises, Nestle Waters of North America, the Sysco Corporation and UPS,” said O’Malley. “All told, the initiative will form the largest collaborative hybrid truck project in the nation, and serve as a model for similar projects around the country.”
- Deployment of hybrid buses through the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA), which currently operates 193 hybrid local buses and is expecting 57 more in the next 5 months.
“With these new buses, the size of MTA’s hybrid fleet will increase to 250 buses, which will represent 35 percent of the active fleet,” he pointed out.
“In addition, over the last year, the MTA has increased the number of its diesel electric hybrid buses to 42.
“We’ve found the advantages of a hybrid fleet to be significant,” the governor went on.
“With the current diesel fleet, major road calls occur once about every 5,700 miles. With the hybrid fleet, they occur once about every 18,500.
“Hybrid fuel mileage is 20 percent higher, brake life is 25 percent longer and the buses are found to be 50 percent quieter than diesels. For these reasons, our Maryland Transit Administration expects to operate a fully hybrid fleet by 2018.”