California Clean Bus Voucher Process Reopens March 30
California Clean Bus Voucher Process Reopens March 30

California’s Hybrid and Zero-Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project (HVIP) is set to reopen for voucher request applications on March 30.

The Public School Set-Aside of $122 million for school buses, managed by the California Air Resource Board, is intended to cover most, if not all, of the full cost of new electric school buses for eligible applicants.

According to the HVIP website, eligible applicants in small and medium air districts must serve K-12 students and may include:

  • California public school districts
  • California public charter schools
  • California Joint Power Authorities (JPAs)
  • California County Offices of Education (COEs)
  • Division of State Special Schools of the California Department of Education

About Those Buses, Old and New

When applicants make their initial funding request, they must identify any buses that they want to scrap, but aren’t immediately required to know which buses they may purchase to replace them. Old school buses can be any internal combustion engine (ICE) using any fuel type. It doesn’t have to be the same bus type or vehicle weight class as the planned new bus.

Old bus eligibility requirements include:

  • Chassis must be 2007 model year or older. Bus chassis age is verified by the model year listed on the DMV registration form.
  • Bus must be owned by the applicant. It can’t have a lienholder listed on the DMV registration form.
  • Bus must have a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) greater than 14,000 pounds.
  • Bus must be compliant with the California Truck and Bus Regulation to receive a full voucher amount.

To receive funds from the set-aside, applicants select an HVIP-eligible vehicle with vehicle-to-grid (V2G) functionality, but aren’t required to use V2G.

Who Can Provide the New Buses?

Approved school bus manufacturers under the HVIP guidelines include:

  • Blue Bird
  • BYD Motors
  • GreenPower Motor Company
  • Navistar/IC Bus
  • Lightning Systems
  • Lion Electric
  • Micro Bird
  • Motiv Power Systems
  • Phoenix
  • Thomas Built Buses

In a news release, GreenPower’s director of contracts and grants, Michael Perez, said the company looks forward “to leveraging this year’s funding to put even more vehicles on the road.”

“Purchasers who partner with GreenPower to obtain HVIP vouchers seize a rare opportunity to acquire best-in-class battery-electric vehicles at dramatically discounted prices,” said Ryne Shetterly, vice president of sales and marketing for GreenPower.

In a statement last month, Sam Kang, BYD’s head of total solutions for North America, said that “BYD can offer parents something no other school bus manufacturer can top – peace of mind. BYD’s lithium iron phosphate batteries have been put through rigorous testing and proved to be safe when burned, overheated, dropped, perforated, and crushed.”

What Happens Next?

The set-aside follows a two-step application process, starting with the completion and submission of the application by the applicant.

After HVIP team review, the applicant may advance to Application Part B, selecting a V2G-capable vehicle and communicating with an HVIP-approved dealer selling the vehicle. The dealer will submit Application Part B on the applicant’s behalf in the form of an HVIP voucher request. Those selected to proceed to Application Part B will be contacted directly by HVIP staff and have 30 calendar days to submit Part B.

Within 90 days of the start of Part A submissions, HVIP will prioritize funds to applicants located in a disadvantaged community and within what’s known as a “small-sized air district,” as defined by the California Air Pollution Control Officers Association. After the 90-day application window, any remaining funds would be allocated to requests received during the window in the following order:

  • Applicants in small air districts but not in disadvantaged communities.
  • Applicants in medium-sized air districts and in disadvantaged communities.
  • Applicants in medium-sized air districts but not in disadvantaged communities.

After that initial 90-day window, requests are first-come, first-served for all eligible applicants in small- and medium-sized air districts, pending availability of funds.

Small Air Districts

  • Amadar County APCD
  • Antelope Valley AQMD
  • Butte County AQMD
  • Calaveras County APCD
  • Colusa County APCD
  • El Dorado County AQMD
  • Feather River AQMD
  • Glenn County APCD
  • Great Basin Unified APCD
  • Imperial County APCD
  • Lake County AQMD
  • Lassen County APCD
  • Mariposa County APCD
  • Mendocino County AQMD
  • Modoc County APCD
  • North Coast Unified AQMD
  • Northern Sonoma APCD
  • Shasta County AQMD
  • Siskiyou County AQMD
  • Tehama County APCD
  • Tuolumne County APCD

Medium Air Districts

  • Eastern Kern APCD
  • Mojave Desert AQMD
  • Monterey Bay Unified APCD
  • Placer County APCD
  • San Luis Obispo County APCD
  • Santa Barbara County APCD
  • Ventura County APCD
  • Yolo-Solano AQMD

Preparing for Part A

Eligible applicants getting ready for March 30 opening day should prepare by gathering the following information:

  • Applicant information, including name, mailing address, and air district.
  • Old bus data: make, model, model year, vehicle identification number, GVWR, engine serial number, name of DMV-registered owner, California Highway Patrol certification information.
  • Supporting documentation, such as a letter of intent signed by an authorized applicant representative stating intent to participate.