Clean transportation utilizes technology to replace or reduce the direct use of fossil fuels. Clean transportation includes plug-in hybrid electric, battery electric, hydrogen fuel cell, ethanol, biodiesel, natural gas, and propane-powered vehicles.

Benefits of Clean Transportation

Transportation contributed to approximately 39% of Commonwealth greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in 2014. Therefore, the adoption of clean transportation vehicles and infrastructure has the potential to address Massachusetts’ energy and pollution challenges. Massachusetts’ thriving innovation sector can also foster the development of cutting-edge clean transportation technologies and the growth of clean transportation companies.

Alternative transportation is growing in the Commonwealth. According to the MassCEC Industry Reports, businesses supporting alternative transportation technologies grew by 18% from 2015-2016. As of June 2016, there has been an uptick in charging station construction and fleet grants, despite lower gasoline and diesel prices than in previous years. In the first two quarters of 2017, a total of 2,256 zero-emission vehicles were sold in Massachusetts, compared to 114 vehicles sold in all of 2011.

 

 Massachusetts Policy

  • Global Warming Solutions Act (the “GWSA”): The GWSA was created in 2008 to reach a target of 25% reduction of GHG emissions by 2020 and an 80% reduction by 2050, compared to 1990 levels. The GWSA calls out specific requirements for the transportation sector in order to establish an annually declining aggregate GHG emissions limit. 

  • Executive Order No. 569, Establishing an Integrated Climate Change Strategy for the Commonwealth: Signed by Governor Baker in 2016, this Executive Order addresses areas of vulnerability and increase the adoption of strategies that help combat climate change. The transportation sector is a main target under this Order.

  • Senate Bill 2505: An Act Promoting Zero Emission Vehicle Adoption: Signed by Governor Baker in 2017, this Act allows towns to take specific action regarding electric vehicles, and it also requires studies on offsetting gas tax revenue loss and the electrification of the state fleet.

  • Executive Order No. 579, Establishing the Commission on the Future of Transportation in the Commonwealth: Signed in January 2018 by Governor Baker, this Executive Order created a Commission to compile a report analyzing how a variety of factors—such as demographics, climate, and vehicle use patterns—will affect future transportation plans in the Commonwealth. The Commission will analyze the period between 2020 and 2040.

MassCEC Programs

For several years, MassCEC has been supporting the advancement of clean transportation technologies and companies in Massachusetts through a suite of programs designed to accelerate the commercialization of promising clean technologies. MassCEC has awarded over $1.45 million to 15 clean transportation technology projects.

XL Hybrids, a company specializing in the electrification of commercial fleet vehicles, has benefitted from MassCEC’s DeployMass, Investments, Internship, and InnovateMass programs. A DeployMass award allowed the company to lower the costs of retrofitting its hybrid vehicles, which were then used by the Massachusetts Environmental Police (MEP) and the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR). XL Hybrids received an InnovateMass grant to retrofit vans and shuttles for use by Square One Daycare and Door2Door, an elderly mobility service company.

MassCEC also funds academic research to spur advances in clean transportation. MassCEC’s Catalyst program awarded Dr. Vijaya Chalivendra, Ph.D. of UMass Dartmouth to research lightweight, reinforced jute fiber that would decrease vehicle weight and thus increase fuel efficiency.

Other MassCEC programs that have awarded funding for transportation-related projects include AmplifyMass and AccelerateMass.

 

Contact Information

If you would like to be added to our MassCEC Clean Transportation email list, please email cleantransportation@masscec.com with the subject “Clean Transportation Stakeholder.” We thank you for your interest in clean transportation.

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