WASHINGTON – As part of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)'s National Clean Diesel Funding Assistance Program, fleets are offered an incentive to go green — money towards a new, cleaner vehicle for each diesel truck replaced, according to Transport Topics.

The $156 million in funds, part of the federal economic stimulus legislation, is in addition to federal tax credits of $6,000 to $12,000 per vehicle.

Fleets can receive up to 25 percent of a new vehicle's cost for every diesel truck it replaces with a diesel-electric hybrid, liquefied natural gas, or other alternative-fueled engine.

Private fleets must provide proof that an exisiting diesel truck has been taken out of service for each hybrid purchased and cannot apply directly for the grants.

However, manufacturers such as Eaton Corp. and Kenworth Truck Co. are offering these fleets assistance with the applications.

Dontia Warren, Eaton market development manager, said Eaton has been working with industry experts, nonprofit organizations, and professional grant writers to help fleet owners complete grant applications, according to TT.

"If applicants fail to get the grant, they don't have to go through with the purchase," Warren said. "There is a sense of urgency to our effort, since the submission period for EPA regional applications...ends April 27. Our goal is to identify all of our customers who qualify and want to take advantage of this opportunity by no later than April 1."

The grants are made to nonprofit organizations that have jurisdiction over air quality for projects that reduce diesel emissions, Eaton said. The nonprofit organizations submit applications to an EPA regional office.

Paccar Inc.'s two subsidiaries, Peterbilt Motors Co. and Kenworth Truck Co.; Navistar Inc.'s International Trucks; and Daimler Trucks North America's Freightliner all offer diesel-electric hybrids in Classes 6-7, including Class 7 tractors, using Eaton hybrid systems.

The truck manufacturers' hybrids combine a regular diesel engine with an Eaton integral transmission-mounted motor/generator with a frame-mounted 340-volt, lithium-ion battery pack.

In braking, the generator built into the transmission charges the battery, and the truck draws on the battery to drive the electric motor used for acceleration or for assisting the diesel engine.

Powertrain controls monitor driving conditions and automatically select the optimum power mode, switching among electric-only, combined diesel and electric, and diesel-only power modes.

Program details are available at www.epa.gov/otaq/eparecovery.