California’s Zero-Emission Truck Goals and Policies: Implications for Small Drayage Fleets

Research Team: Stephen G. Ritchie (lead), Craig Rindt, Youngeun Bae, Marshall Miller, and Lew Fulton

UC Campus(es): UC Davis, UC Irvine

Problem Statement: California has established aggressive goals to transition medium- and heavy-duty vehicle (HDV) fleets to zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs). There is limited understanding of how HDV fleets will respond to these goals and policies, and there is even greater uncertainty around how one segment of the HDV fleet population will manage: small fleets. Small fleets, including owner operators and small motor carriers such as those with 20 or fewer vehicles, tend to lack knowledge and understanding of state policy. Furthermore, they account for a considerable portion of the fleet population, over 65% in the California drayage industry. Consequently, disruptions to this segment that result from ZEV goals and policies would seriously impact overall freight operations. Therefore, it is critical to understand how small fleets, especially small drayage fleets, will respond to the policies and move to adopt ZEVs.

Project Description: No two small fleets are alike; they operate in diverse applications and have unique needs. For this reason, researchers will conduct either one-on-one interviews or focus groups with approximately 20 operators of small and drayage fleets. The qualitative research will explore vehicle adoption processes (e.g., leasing versus purchasing, or truck as a service), motivators and barriers to ZEV adoption, potential impact of policies (e.g., a mandate, or financial incentives) on purchase behavior, and labor issues or concerns. The findings will inform policy options that may ease these fleet operators’ concerns and facilitate ZEV adoption, thereby contributing to achieving California’s heavy-duty ZEV targets.

Status: In Progress

Budget: $95,000