California's Advanced Clean Fleets Regulation: Five Things for State and Local Governments to Consider | Centrica Business Solutions
California Air Resources Board Advanced Clean Fleets Regulation

California's Advanced Clean Fleets Regulation: Five Things for State and Local Governments to Consider

Under the California Air Resources Board (CARB) mandate for electric vehicle conversion and the Governor's Executive Order N-79-20, State and Local Government fleets, including city, county, and special districts, will be required to ensure 50% of vehicle purchases are zero-emission beginning in 2024, and 100% of vehicle purchases are zero-emission by 2027.

For public entities in California, the movement towards zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) and near zero-emission vehicles (NZEVs) will need to accelerate to meet the Advanced Clean Fleets (ACF) regulation. Once the Office of Administrative Law approves the proposed legislation, State and Local Government entities will require quick and sound decisions on EV technology and the corresponding charging infrastructure. If you're a decision-maker contemplating this transition, here are five things to consider before taking action:


1. Fleet Charging Station Requirements

Once you have a ZEV or NZEV in mind, it's essential to understand the unique needs of your community and how best to keep the vehicles charged. Here are some guiding questions:

  • What is the preferred type of charging solution (Level 1, Level 2, or DC fast charging)?
  • At what times during the day or night is charging possible?
  • How might charging times affect operations?

Understanding these high-level details will help in selecting the right type of charging stations. It’s likely that multiple charging station levels are required for different vehicles or driving applications at the same location.

2. Site Assessments and Infrastructure Installation

Before selecting charging station technology, it’s important to assess the following:

  • The electrical/grid capacity of your site.
  • Space availability and feasibility for charging infrastructure.
  • Accessibility requirements and lot improvements that may be necessary as part of the construction.

Your community might also benefit from on-site solar generation and battery storage to power charging stations. This approach lessens grid dependence, cuts carbon emissions, and reduces operational expenditures.

3. Long-term Planning and ROI

While the initial investment is often a barrier to adoption, the full life-cycle cost of your fleet and charging infrastructure will have the most significant impact on your budget.

  • Total Cost of Ownership: This includes the purchase price, operational costs, maintenance, and the residual value of ZEVs.
  • Future Expansion: As technology evolves and more ZEVs/NZEVs become available, public entities in California should keep room for expansion and upgrades.
  • Return on Investment (ROI): This can go beyond monetary to include regulatory compliance, environmental impacts, and the health benefits from reduced emissions. 

Compliance with the ACF regulation will require careful planning to implement the right technology for your unique circumstances. Cities, Counties, Special Districts, and State agencies could benefit from a partnership with an energy services company (ESCO) to ensure efficiency and innovation, provide budget forecasting, leverage incentives, and maintain infrastructure for optimal performance.

4. Available Funding via Tax Credits, Rebates, and Grants

While the ACF regulation sets aggressive targets, there are several incentives that can help fund fleet conversion and charging infrastructure projects.

  • Incentive programs offered by the California Air Resource Board, California Energy Commission, and local utilities
  • Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021
  • Inflation Reduction Act of 2022

Public entities in California can leverage these incentives to their full potential, making projects more financially feasible to implement. Like most incentives, early adopters often benefit from higher values and fewer requirements to qualify.

5. Contracting Options

Working with an ESCO like Centrica Business Solutions can facilitate compliance with California’s regulations and streamline the implementation process to help your community comply with the electric vehicle mandates. Contracting options to consider include:

  • Design Build
  • Energy Savings Performance Contracting
  • Efficiency-as-a-Service

Performance-based contracts cover end-to-end services, including design, installation, and maintenance. The ESCO ensures that charging infrastructure remains in prime condition and can adapt to changing regulatory landscapes for the duration of the contract. If your community still needs an in-house expert ready to respond to the ACF regulation, working with a turnkey provider may be the right path to stay compliant.

Transitioning to a zero-emission fleet in California offers public entities a golden opportunity to lead by example, driving toward a more sustainable and eco-friendly future. By considering the factors above, public entities can ensure a smooth transition, maximizing both financial and environmental returns.