New state clean air regulations could end up costing the city an estimated $30 million to transition hundreds of city vehicles to zero-emission vehicles in the coming years.
Two new policies from the California Air Resources Board, one of which is under review, could require the city to begin replacing municipal vehicles starting in 2024.
The Advanced Clean Trucks rule adopted by CARB in 2020 requires new truck sales in this state to include a certain percentage of zero-emission vehicles. By 2045 it would require every new truck sold in the state to be zero emission.
But a different policy, the Advanced Clean Fleet program, which could be adopted by the end of the year, would require half the new truck purchases by the city to be zero-emissions starting in 2024. It would apply to trucks over 8,500 pounds, or the equivalent to a Ford F-250, according to a city memo.
The Clean Fleet rule would require all purchases to be zero-emission by 2027 if it’s adopted as written later this year.
The city memo from John Gross, the city’s director of financial management, said that Long Beach has about 410 vehicles that would be subject to these rules and replacing them could cost between $70,000 and $200,000 each, depending on the vehicle.
Public Works has the most of any city department with 191 vehicles that might have to be replaced. The city’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Marine has 66 vehicles up for replacement. In total, 10 departments could be affected by new air quality legislation.
The city’s Water and Harbor Departments would also be affected but are not managed by the city’s fleet services bureau.
Gross wrote that the new rules would be “transformative, tremendously expensive, and potentially disruptive” to city operations. New truck purchases could cost the city about $1.5 million per year starting in 2024 with an additional $10 million investment needed to fund the heavy-duty charging stations that would be needed to power the new trucks.
Half of the charging station costs ($5 million) and $500,000 per year for truck purchases would come out of the general fund. The purchasing plan would run through 2036, according to a city representative, driving the total up to $19.5 million for replacing the city’s fleet.
The memo cautioned that the costs are “preliminary ballpark numbers” and grant funding could be available.
“Hopefully, grant funding will be significant,” Gross wrote.
Southern California Edison funded the light-duty chargers used for commuter vehicles in the city’s fleet and the city is hopeful that it can help with the larger ones needed to power heavy-duty vehicles.
Paul Griffo, a communications representative for Edison, said that Edison would install the infrastructure in the ground up to the point where the charger is installed and the city would have to buy the charger and pay for the installation, but there could be rebate opportunities for the city’s purchase of the chargers.
Doing this work is like any other construction project and would require time for planning and permitting in addition to construction time, Griffo said.
Edison launched its Charge Ready Transport program in July with five sites in the Antelope Valley, Visalia and Porterville at a cost of $356 million.
Those sites power 80 buses, according to a blog post on Edison’s website. Edison says it has plans to install 870 other commercial charging stations over the next five years that can power nearly 8,500 industrial electric vehicles.
Edison declined to discuss what it might cost to bring Long Beach enough power stations for its 410 trucks that would need replacement, noting that they can be different based on the needs of each customer.
Griffo said a charger can generally power multiple vehicles; depending on the charger, that could be anywhere between two and four vehicles. But those vehicles can be charged in shifts with some vehicles being plugged in while others are in service.
The City Council will be updated on any changes to projected costs for replacement vehicles once the the air resources board votes on the Advanced Clean Fleet rule later this year.