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General Alternative Fuel Vehicle Resources

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U.S. Department of Energy Clean Cities Vehicle Buyer's Guide for 2016

There are an increasing number of alternative fuel vehicle (AFV) models available to public and private fleets, now numbering hundreds of specific modes.

This Clean Cities 2016 Vehicle Buyer's Guide guide provides a comprehensive list of the 2016 light-duty models that use alternative fuels or advanced fuel-saving technologies. 


Information on Northern California AFV Incentive Programs

Vehicle purchase incentives are available at the California state and regional (air quality management district) levels as well as at the U.S. National level. See the following links for the main Federal, State, and regional level incentive programs available for Northern California.

Bay Area Air Quality Management District Programs:

Sacramento Air Quality Management District Programs:

 

Electric Vehicles

Ford C-Max hybrid electric car

Electric vehicles derive all or part of their motive power from energy storage and are propelled all or in part by an electric motor.  Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are also electric vehicles, but are covered separately below.

Hybrid Electric Vehicles

Hybrid-electric vehicles (HEVs) are powered by an internal combustion engine or other propulsion source that can be run on conventional or alternative fuel and an electric motor that uses energy stored in a battery. HEVs combine the benefits of high fuel economy and low emissions with the power and range of conventional vehicles.

A wide variety of models of hybrid-electric vehicles are currently available. Although HEVs are often more expensive than similar conventional vehicles, some cost may be recovered through fuel savings and state incentives.

For more information:

 

Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid electric car

Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles

Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) use batteries to power an electric motor and use another fuel, such as gasoline or diesel, to power an internal combustion engine or other propulsion source. Using electricity from the grid to run the vehicle some or all of the time reduces operating costs and petroleum consumption, relative to conventional vehicles. PHEVs might also produce lower levels of emissions, depending on the electricity source.

 

Heavy-duty vehicles can be converted to PHEVs and a few light-duty PHEVs are commercially available. Although PHEVs are generally more expensive than similar conventional and hybrid vehicles, some cost can be recovered through fuel savings, a federal tax credit, or state incentives.

 

For more information:

 

Nissan Leaf battery-electric car

Battery Electric Vehicles

Fully electric vehicles (EVs) use a battery to store the electrical energy that powers the motor. EVs are sometimes referred to as battery electric vehicles (BEVs). EV batteries are charged by plugging the vehicle into an electric power source. Although most U.S. electricity production contributes to air pollution, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency categorizes all-electric vehicles as zero-emission vehicles because they produce no direct exhaust or emissions. Because EVs use no other fuel, widespread use of these vehicles could dramatically reduce petroleum consumption.

Both heavy-duty and light-duty EVs are commercially available. EVs are typically more expensive than similar conventional and hybrid vehicles, some cost can be recovered through fuel savings, a federal tax credit, or state incentives.

For more information:

 

Biofuel Vehicles

Dodge Dart flex-fuel car

Ethanol Flex Fuel Vehicles

Flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs)—which can run on E85 (a gasoline-ethanol blend containing 51% to 83% ethanol), gasoline, or any mixture of the two—are available in a variety of vehicle makes and models.

For more information:

 

Dodge RAM 1500 diesel truck - B20 Compatible

Biodiesel Vehicles

Biodiesel vehicles are essentially the same as conventional diesel vehicles, but powered in part by renewable biodiesel fuel. Although light-, medium-, and heavy-duty diesel vehicles are not technically "alternative fuel" vehicles, many are capable of running on biodiesel blends. Biodiesel, which is most often used as a blend with regular diesel fuel, can be used in many diesel vehicles without any engine modification. The most common biodiesel blend is B20, which is 20% biodiesel and 80% conventional diesel. B5 (5% biodiesel, 95% diesel) and B10 (10% biodiesel, 90% diesel) are also commonly used in fleets.

For more information:

 

Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles

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Toyota Mirai hydrogen fuel cell vehicle

Fuel cell electric vehicles, also known as FCEVs, are powered by hydrogen and have the potential to revolutionize motor vehicles. They are more efficient than conventional internal combustion engine vehicles and produce no harmful tailpipe exhaust—they emit water vapor and warm air. Fuel cell vehicles and the hydrogen infrastructure to fuel them are in an early stage of deployment, but with a turning point in 2015 where they entered commercial reality. Hyundai and Toyota are currently selling and leasing fuel cell vehicles, with several other automakers expected to enter into the market in 2016-2017. The U.S. Department of Energy and California Fuel Cell Partnership are leading government and industry efforts to make hydrogen-powered vehicles an affordable, environmentally friendly, and safe transportation option.

For more information:

 

Medium Duty Alternative Fuel Vehicles - Hydrogen Fuel Cell

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Picture of Medium Duty Vehicle

Medium Duty Electric Fuel Cell Vehicles are categorized as Class 4-6. Today, medium duty vehicle drive trains are available from companies like Hydrogenics and Transpower, two companies leading the way in medium and heavy duty drive trains. 

For more information:

 

Heavy Duty Alternative Fuel Vehicles - Hydrogen Fuel Cell

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Toyota "The Next Turning Point" - Possible new Hydrogen Fuel Cell semi-truck

Heavy Duty Fuel Cell Vehicles are those classified as Class 6-8. These vehicles are often semi-trucks, or tractors, that require power trains that run at 60-200 KW and have peak efficiencies around 50-55%. Hydrogenics and Toyota are some of the first to consider sale of a heavy duty, electric fuel-cell semi-truck. Toyota's newest project, follwoing the Mirai is being called "The Next Turning Point."

For more information:

 

Medium Duty Alternative Fuel Vehicles - Biofuel

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Dodge Ram 1500 EcoDiesel 

Biodiesel vehicles are essentially the same as conventional diesel vehicles, but powered in part by renewable biodiesel fuel. The most common biodiesel blend is B20, which is 20% biodiesel and 80% conventional diesel. B5 (5% biodiesel, 95% diesel) and B10 (10% biodiesel, 90% diesel) are also commonly used in fleets. Many major manufacturers are now promoting their trucks and vans as being capable of using biofuels. 

For more information:

 

Heavy Duty Alternative Fuel Vehicles - Biofuel

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Mack Sleeper Cab

According to the Green Truck Association, any diesel vehicle manufactured after 1993 is capable of using biofuel. With almost 10 million trucks in the U.S. run on diesel, the capacity for greenhouse gas reduction is huge. Though manufacturers first warned against use of biofuel in their vehicles, many are now getting on board. Massive market players such as Mack and Volvo are now openly approving of biofuel use. 

For more information:

 

Medium Duty Alternative Fuel Vehicles - Electric

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ZeroTruck

With the advancement of battery technology, medium duty vehicles are now able to be fully electric. The ZeroTruck boasts a range of 100 miles, overnight charge, and an onboard charger. Some corporate brands have made large investments in electric trucks for delivery that can haul as much as 16,000 pounds. This market is supposed to grow to 25% by 2020. 

For more information:

 

Heavy Duty Alternative Fuel Vehicles - Electric

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Nikola One - full electric semi-truck

A great breakthrough in alternative fuel vehicles has been the emergence of electric semi-trucks. Nikola, a Utah-based truck company, announced the Nikola One, an all electric semi-truck that debuted in December 2016. Though the price tag was place at $375,000, twice that of a regular truck, Nikola recieved over $2 billion dollars in pre-orders. Although most U.S. electricity production contributes to air pollution, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency categorizes all-electric vehicles as zero-emission vehicles because they produce no direct exhaust or emissions. Because EVs use no other fuel, widespread use of these vehicles could dramatically reduce petroleum consumption.

For more information: