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New Tool Provides ‘Ins and Outs’ of Electrifying Fleets

California school bus operators are eligible to use a new interactive program designed to provide information tailored to individual fleets on how to best transition to electric vehicles.

Clean transportation advocate and consultant CALSTART unveiled its Cal Fleet Advisor last week at the Zero-Emission Truck and Off-Road Showcase Ride + Drive in Fresno, California. Its goal is to make it easier for fleets to make informed decisions on how to meet the state’s “ambitious” zero-emissions requirements.

“California has adopted a number of regulations that will require medium- and heavy-duty fleet operators to transition to zero-emission vehicles in the coming years. There are lots of options and rules fleets are faced with, and it can be overwhelming to figure out where to start,” said Clare Bachman, fleet technical assistance project manager at CALSTART. “By adding a human element to information sharing around zero-emission vehicles and funding, we will be able to help fleets determine exactly what they need to do, rather than have them take time out of their busy schedule to do it alone.”

Developed in partnership with the California Air Resources Board, which organized the June 21 event, Cal Fleet Advisor (CFA) is available to any medium- or heavy-duty operator in the state.

CALSTART added that the tool is primarily intended for smaller businesses and independent owner-operators in underrepresented and disadvantaged communities that CALSTART said have neither the time nor the resources to “effectively research and implement the steps necessary to transition to zero-emissions vehicles.”

“CFA will also provide tracking and document collection and filing assistance to fleets, answer questions, offer advice, and smooth the process in transitioning to zero-emission technologies,” CALSTART added.

A CALSTART spokesperson told School Transportation News the tool is only the second of its kind nationwide known to formally advise fleets, the other being the Mass Fleet Advisor in Massachusetts.

However, the World Resources Institute’s Electric School Bus Initiative earlier this year released a step-by-step guide based on electrification projects conducted in Columbia and Mexico, and another involving 100,000 electric buses deployed in 20 cities around the world. WRI says its guide has been tested with U.S. school districts through workshops held in New York City and Washington, D.C. in 2021 and 2022.


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