Company gets ARB’s first total hybrid-vehicle truck certification

The Air Resources Board has awarded its first total hybrid vehicle certification for trucks and buses to a national school bus and truck manufacturing firm, Navistar. The move comes on the heels of CARB’s new promotion of hybrid vehicles, which includes a $25 million program to provide vouchers to purchasers of hybrid vehicles.

“Hybrids will help reduce particulate emission in California,” said ARB spokesman Dimitri Stanich. “Diesel emissions are responsible for as much as 70 percent of the pollutants in California. By using the hybrids we can not only benefit the environment, but benefit the public health as well as reduce our pollution and dependence on petrol.”

According to the ARB, the Navistar’s hybrid van and truck technologies helped it achieve certification from the board. The company’s line of hybrids includes school buses which can achieve 13 mpg, as opposed to 7 mpg or less.

The first buses were delivered to the Napa Valley School District in August of 2007.

Navistar was also recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency in 2001, for being the first engine manufacturer to meet the new emission standards.

“This is a win-win for everyone in California,” said Jack Allen, Navistar president, North American truck group. “By working together we created the opportunity to put more clean diesel hybrid trucks and buses on California’s roads, and we’re proud that Navistar’s hybrid leadership directly puts money back in our customers’ pockets.”

With the new “Cash-For-Clunkers” bill proposed in Washington, as well as gas prices rising above $3 per gallon, the certification might not have come at a more perfect time.

The incentives offered by the voucher program can range anywhere from $10,000 to $35,000 depending on the weight class of the vehicle. In addition purchasers of the CARB- certified DuraStar Hybrid models or IC Bus hybrids will receive additional vouchers worth $5,000 from the incentive.

The incentives come from the Assembly Bill 118, authored by the former Speaker Fabian Nunez, in an attempt to cut greenhouse emissions from California Vehicles. The bill was signed into law by Gov. Schwarzenegger in October 2007.

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