Ontario Offering Incentives For Hybrids, Anti-Idling Systems
December 1, 2008
TORONTO, Ont. -The Ontario government is making $15 million available for the purchase of environmentally- friendly commercial vehicles, including hybrids. The four-year program was announced Oct. 30 ...
HELP AT LAST: The Ontario government will help offset the high purchase price of hybrid trucks and anti-idling systems through a new grant program.
TORONTO, Ont. -The Ontario government is making $15 million available for the purchase of environmentally- friendly commercial vehicles, including hybrids. The four-year program was announced Oct. 30 and will cover hybrid and alternative fuel commercial vehicles.
Under the plan, Ontario trucking companies will also be able to apply for grants towards the purchase of anti-idling devices such as auxiliary power units (APUs) or in-cab heaters. Companies will have to collect data on the fuel savings from the green technologies as part of a longer-term effort to reduce GHG emissions.
The province said it hopes the fuel-saving data collected through the program will serve as an incentive for other fleets to adopt environmentally- friendly technologies.
Applications for the grants will be available Nov. 28.The funding is also available retroactively, for purchases dating back to August 2007, the launch date of the McGuinty government’s Go Green Action Plan which includes ambitious targets for greenhouse gas reductions by the freight transportation sector, the province announced.
“Our Green Commercial Vehicle Program could take up to 40,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions out of our air every year. Helping big and small companies to operate greener, more fuel-efficient vehicles will help us all breathe a little easier,” said Transport Minister Jim Bradley.
Reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40,000 tonnes is equivalent to taking about 8,000 cars off the road each year, according to MTO.
“Helping businesses make the switch to fuel-efficient trucks will put Ontario companies at the forefront of green innovation and reduce pollution,” added Environment Minister John Gerretsen.
The Ontario Trucking Association is calling the program “a good first step that is consistent with the industry’s enviroTruck initiative.”
The OTA has been working with the province for the past year in developing the program.
“The current economic times make it tough for the industry to make capital investments,” says OTA president, David Bradley.
“Through the Canadian Trucking Alliance’s enviroTruck program, we have been calling upon both the federal and provincial governments to provide incentives to accelerate the penetration of proven fuel-saving technologies and devices into the marketplace. While the Green Commercial Vehicle Program is modest in terms of the overall grants available to the industry, it is a good start and something we can build upon. While we have yet to see all of the details, we think MTO is taking the right approach.”
OTA estimates that APU technology can reduce idling by up to 90% and save up to 7,200 litres of diesel fuel per year for a typical tractor-trailer configuration.
However, the purchase price of the technology is expensive, averaging from $8,000 to $10,000 per unit.
OTA says that a previous federal APU rebate program (which ran from August 2003 to March 2006) showed that these sorts of incentive programs can work.
Under that program, the federal government invested less than $6 million in APU rebates of up to 20% of the purchase price.
In return, the industry invested about $30 million, representing the purchase of over 13,000 auxiliary heating/cooling systems.
According to Natural Resources Canada, this contributed to average reductions in idling of 2,200 hours from each of the trucks equipped with the devices, translating into annual emission reductions of over 185,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases as well as over 45 million grams of particulate matter and almost five billion grams of nitrogen oxide -the two major precursors of smog.
OTA continues to pursue other elements of the enviroTruck initiative -weight allowances for wide-base single tires that are equivalent to conventional duals, an accommodation in the dimensional regulations for tractor and trailer aerodynamic enhancements, and longer combination vehicles.
“There is a lot the trucking industry can and is doing to reduce its carbon footprint,” says Bradley.
“Our economic goals are more aligned with society’s environmental goals than ever before so we welcome cooperative initiatives with government.”
Also tipping its hat to the Ontario government’s plan is Eaton Corporation, a manufacturer of hybrid-electric power systems.
“Ontario is to be commended for their commitment to deploy hybrid vehicle technologies that will significantly reduce fuel consumption and emissions; both particulate matter and NOx emissions. Fleets stand to compound these benefits with the cost saving advantages that hybrid vehicles can provide by displacing fuel usage when operating these hybrid trucks,” said Christopher D. Hess, manager of public affairs for Eaton. “The incentives program is a win-win for the environment and for fleets by significantly reducing their operational costs.” •
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