SACRAMENTO, CA - The California Energy Commission recently approved nearly $12.6 million for nine projects aimed at developing cleaner transportation. These include programs to manufacture electric vehicles and vehicle batteries, add vehicle charging stations, and encourage the use of biofuels.
The $12.6 million in awards will leverage more than $16.1 million in private funds. The awards are funded from the commission's Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Transportation (AB 118) program.
"Innovative companies are beginning to make California a manufacturing center for cutting-edge transportation choices," said Energy Commissioner Anthony Eggert. "Just as the ideas of Silicon Valley helped drive our economy in the last decade, transportation innovation is helping to restore California's prosperity and rebuild our manufacturing base."
Here is a summary of the nine projects (totaling $12,590,686):
- Electric vehicles -- The Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Transportation program will provide $2,052,560 to Green Vehicles Inc. to help it build 2,000 Triac electric vehicles a year in Salinas. The Triac, priced at $24,995, is a two-passenger, three-wheeled, battery-powered freeway commuter car that has a top speed of 80 miles per hour and a range of 100 miles. Participants in the Triac project include Fremont-based Leyden Energy, supplier of the vehicle's lithium-ion batteries; Automotive Technology Group, an Irvine-based engineering and management firm that designs and manufactures concept vehicles; and the city of Salinas. The project team will provide $2,878,611 to match the state grant. The overall project is expected to add nearly 500 new employees working in assembly, supply and electronics for the new electric vehicles. Each Triac car sold is expected to cut petroleum use by 575 gallons a year and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 72 percent.
- Electric vehicles components -- Quantum Fuel Systems Technologies Worldwide Inc. of Lake Forest, Calif., will use an Energy Commission grant of $1,371,679 to manufacture and test its Q-Drive, a hybrid powertrain for electric, hybrid and plug-in hybrid cars. Quantum, a co-founder of electric vehicle manufacturer Fisker Automotive, expects to produce 36,000 of the new combination inverter/charger units each year at an existing facility in Lake Forest. In addition to the Energy Commission's grant, Quantum will provide match funding of $1,760,000 to upgrade the facility with testing equipment, a pilot production line, and ultimately a high-volume production line that will directly create 30 to 40 jobs. More jobs will follow if Quantum's second-generation Q-Drive is successful. If it replaces a traditional internal combustion system, each powertrain is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 48 percent and gasoline use by 270 gallons annually.