The Valley Air Board approved a $13.1 million pilot program that will deploy 50 zero-emission Tesla semi trucks and fast-charging infrastructure at the Pepsi Beverages Company located in South-Central Fresno. Source: Valley Air

March 16, 2023 — San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District Board

Documented by Kendra Staub

What happened: A new fleet of 50 zero-emission battery electric semi trucks will hit the road this summer delivering goods from the Pepsi Beverages Company in South-Central Fresno.

The fleet of Class 8 Tesla semi trucks, fast-charging infrastructure, and a battery energy storage solution are all part of the South-Central Fresno Zero-emission Delivery Truck Demonstration Project, which was approved for $13.1 million in state cap and trade funding by the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District Board on March 16.

The fleet will travel approximately 1,000,000 zero-emission miles annually, delivering goods for Pepsi from South-Central Fresno, which is designated as an AB617 Community as it has been disproportionately burdened with pollution. Staff said they expect the trucks to roll out by June or July.

The project is also expected to develop an alternative fuel vehicle workforce training opportunity in South-Central Fresno for 100 Pepsi employees as a direct result of project implementation, with over 100 students developing skills in the field of electric trucks and infrastructure maintenance annually.

Educational partners for the project include Fresno Unified’s Duncan Polytechnic High School and Reedley College, according to the agenda packet.

Boardmember Alvaro Preciado said that he would also like to see collaboration with colleges already offering electric vehicle programs, such as Bakersfield College, which he said is already offering classes focused on electric trucks and infrastructure.

The program is funded with a combination of California Air Resources Board (CARB) Low Carbon Transportation (Cap and Trade) Funding and California Energy Commission (CEC) Clean Transportation Program funds. 

And also: The board received the district’s annual Toxic Air Report for 2022, which is now available for the public to view online.

Based on the latest California Toxics Inventory, 14% of all air toxics in the San Joaquin Valley are now emitted from stationary sources of pollution under the direct control and regulation of the district, while 52% come from mobile sources such as cars and trucks, and the remaining 34% is emitted from area-wide sources like road dust, paints, solvents, and other consumer products. 

According to the district, its implementation of AB 2588, California’s Air Toxics “Hot Spots” Information and Assessment Act, in conjunction with local, state, and federal air toxics reduction measures, has resulted in dramatic reductions in emissions of air toxics from existing sources in the San Joaquin Valley. Staff said they have seen a 75% decrease in diesel PM emissions.

Up next: The Valley Air Board will meet again on April 20 at 9 a.m.

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The Fresno Documenters are a group of local residents who are trained and paid to attend and take notes at local public meetings where officials decide how to spend public money and make important decisions...