A $56 million grant from the Federal Highway Administration will help build out two electric vehicle charging stations for heavy trucks along the San Joaquin Valley stretch of Interstate 5.
The money comes amid the state’s plan to phase out the sale of new diesel-powered haulers by 2036.
The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District will partner with Long Beach-based WattEV to construct the two charging stations — one in Taft in Kern County and the other in Gustine in Merced County, according to a news release from the Valley Air District.
“We’re proud to be leading the build-out of the West Coast’s ‘electric highway’ from San Diego to Seattle, and the San Joaquin Valley is a critical link in the network,” said WattEV CEO Salim Youssefzadeh. “We’re delighted to be in partnership with the Valley Air District on these projects in Taft and Gustine.”
Vehicle Pollution Is Valley’s Biggest Air Challenge
Forty-five percent of truck traffic in California goes through the San Joaquin Valley, according to the air district. I-5 is one of the nation’s busiest freight corridors.
The award from the federal government is the highest dollar amount in California and the third-highest in the nation.
The Valley Air District says mobile sources account for the single-largest source of ozone, PM 2.5, toxic diesel particulate matter, and greenhouse gas emissions.
California regulators voted to ban the sale of new diesel rigs by 2036. By 2042, all trucks will have to be zero-emissions vehicles.
The funding will help build and buy a collective 63 acres of solar panels and 5.5 megawatts of electric battery storage between the two charging stations.
The Air District expects to break ground on the project by 2025, according to a representative from the agency.
“This funding award is a significant milestone for the region and state as a whole, and is a testament to the Valley Air District’s commitment to reducing air pollution, improving public health, and supporting the Valley’s economy,” said Samir Sheikh, executive director for the Valley Air District.