Chicago Area Green Fleet Grant Program

A subsidiary of the Illinois Clean Diesel Grant Program

Summary and Applicant Information

Summary

The Illinois EPA received $3 million in federal funding to further promote natural gas and propane vehicles and certain types of alternate fuel-powered off-road equipment in the Chicago area. A major focus of this funding is medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, such as trucks and buses, operated by government or public sector fleets as well as some private fleets whose vehicles serve the public (e.g., commercial school buses, airport or hotel shuttle buses, etc.). In addition, some light-duty vehicles for government fleets will be considered. The funding can also be used as an incentive for the purchase of new off-road equipment that operates with natural gas, propane, or electricity, in which such equipment would normally run on diesel fuel. Specifically, this funding is to be utilized for the following:

  1. For the purchase of new natural gas and propane on-road vehicles
  2. For converting existing conventional vehicles to natural gas or propane using EPA-certified or approved conversion systems, and
  3. For the purchase of new off-road mobile equipment (e.g., construction, quarry, airport, rail yard) that would normally run on diesel fuel to be powered by natural gas, propane, or electricity.

This grant program is separate from the Illinois Alternate Fuels Rebate Program. The grants are provided as “competitive awards” to selected fleets and only for the future purchase or conversions of the vehicles or for the future purchase of the alternate fuel equipment. Current or past vehicle purchases, vehicle conversions, or equipment purchases are ineligible. The $3 million in funding is to be awarded in calendar years 2014, 2015, and 2016, with $1 million budgeted for each year.

Eligibility

Applicants: Eligible applicants include public sector fleets, such as local government units, school districts, and universities, as well as small businesses and companies whose vehicles serve the public. In addition, companies that have off-road mobile equipment are eligible for consideration. This grant program is not open to the general public.

Chicago Area: Eligibility is limited to applicants located in the Chicago air quality nonattainment counties of Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, and Will, along with Aux Sable and Goose Lake townships in Grundy County and Oswego Township in Kendall County. In addition, the vehicles or off-road equipment funded by a grant must be located and operated in the Chicago area.

Eligible Fuels: For this grant award, only compressed natural gas (CNG), liquefied natural gas (LNG), and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG or propane) on-road vehicles are eligible. For off-road equipment that would normally operate with diesel fuel, natural gas, propane, and electricity are eligible.

Note: With the exception of electric-powered off-road mobile equipment, electric vehicles are not included in this program as the Chicago Department of Transportation is administering a similar grant program for electric trucks in the Chicago area. To inquire about grants for larger electric vehicles, please contact Samantha Bingham at 312-744-8096 or email Samantha Bingham. Also, the Illinois EPA administers the Alternate Fuels Rebate Program which offers rebates up to $4,000 for electric vehicles for both fleets and the general public.

Eligible Vehicles and Off-Road Equipment: For on-road vehicles, the Illinois EPA is looking to fund school buses, medium- and heavy-duty trucks, public works trucks, park/forest preserve vehicles, police vehicles, university campus vehicles, shuttle buses, transit buses, delivery trucks, and similar public sector or business fleet vehicles that serve the public and would greatly benefit air quality in local communities. Medium- to heavy-duty vehicles that would normally operate with diesel fuel and offer significant reductions in particulate emissions using natural gas or propane are a major focus for this grant program, but some light-duty vehicles owned by public sector fleets will also be considered.

For off-road equipment units, larger mobile equipment that would normally operate on diesel fuel but will operate with natural gas, propane, or electricity will be considered for funding. Examples include bulldozers, graders, and similar types of construction equipment, airport service equipment, units used in quarry or mining operations, and rail yard equipment. Stationary generators and other types of equipment that are not “mobile” will not be considered.

New vehicles or equipment that will be leased and not outright purchased by the applicant are not eligible. In addition, existing vehicles that are leased are ineligible for a conversion grant and prior purchases and conversions are not eligible for this program. The conversion system for the vehicle must be certified and approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) or the California Air Resources Board (CARB) for the particular make, model, model year, engine size, etc. This certification and approval is demonstrated by a federal Certificate of Conformity, CARB certificate, or, for older vehicles, are currently on the U.S. EPA’s approved conversion list.

Vehicles that have received a rebate in the Illinois Alternate Fuels Rebate Program or have been funded or partially funded by other federal Congestion Mitigation & Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) funding sources are not eligible.

Grant Award Amounts

The table below identifies the amounts of the grant awards for each alternate fuel vehicle or equipment unit:

Vehicle or Equipment UnitVehicle DescriptionGrant Amount per Vehicle or Equipment Unit
Purchase of new Class 1-3 natural gas or propane vehicleVehicles up to 14,000 GVWR, such as police vehicles, public works trucks, park/forest preserve vehicles, university campus vehicles, school buses, shuttle buses, and delivery trucks50% of the incremental cost of the new alternate fuel vehicle compared to the conventional make and model, up to $10,000
Purchase of new Class 4-8 natural gas or propane vehicleVehicles greater than 14,000 GVWR, such as school buses, public works trucks, larger delivery trucks, shuttle buses, transit buses, and waste hauler refuse trucks50% of the incremental cost of the new alternate fuel vehicle compared to the conventional make and model, up to $20,000
Conversion of a Class 1-3 vehicle to natural gas or propaneVehicles up to 14,000 GVWR, such as police vehicles, public works trucks, park/forest preserve vehicles, university campus vehicles, school buses, shuttle buses, and delivery trucks50% of the cost of the certified/approved conversion of a conventional vehicle to operate on natural gas or propane, up to $10,000
Conversion of a Class 4-8 vehicle to natural gas or propaneVehicles greater than 14,000 GVWR, such as school buses, public works trucks, larger delivery trucks, shuttle buses, transit buses, and waste hauler refuse trucks50% of the cost of the certified/approved conversion of a conventional vehicle to operate on natural gas or propane, up to $20,000
Purchase of a new off-road mobile equipment unit to operate on natural gas, propane, or electricityOff-road equipment, such as airport service equipment, construction equipment, units used in quarry or mining operations, and rail yard equipment50% of the incremental cost of the alternate fuel version of the new equipment unit compared to the cost of the same type of diesel unit, up to $100,000

Note: If an application is selected for funding, the Illinois EPA may need to negotiate the number of vehicles/equipment units involved in the project and/or the amount of the grant award prior to the development and execution of a grant agreement, based on the remaining funding levels or the size and scope of a proposed project.

Application Review and Selections

Since the Illinois EPA will have funding for this program for at least the next three years, applications are being accepted on a rolling basis with no specific deadlines. The selection of projects will be in favor of those that meet the eligibility criteria, are consistent with the major focus areas, and provide for greater air quality improvements. In addition, other factors will include where the vehicles or equipment will be located and operated, the utilization of the vehicles or equipment, the number of annual miles driven or annual operating hours, potential fuel consumption, access to fuel, how the vehicles or equipment will serve and be a benefit to the public and communities in which they operate, the number and type of applications received, and the amount of remaining funding.

Application Components

Please provide all requested information on the application form and the vehicle information spreadsheet. The following is what we will need for a complete application:

  1. The “Chicago Area Green Fleet Grants” application form
  2. The “Chicago Area Green Fleet Grants Vehicle Information Spreadsheet”
  3. As an attachment to your application, please provide a typed narrative with the following information in order to assist us in evaluating your overall application and proposal:
    • Background information on your organization and its fleet operation and how the vehicles or equipment in this application will be utilized
    • Your plans for implementing alternate fuel vehicles or equipment and accomplishments to date in implementing clean fuels and vehicles
    • Where the proposed alternate fuel vehicles or equipment will be located or domiciled. If these will be at multiple sites, provide a list of the locations (with addresses) and the number of vehicles or units listed in this application at each one
    • Where the proposed alternate fuel vehicles or equipment will primarily operate. For example, for vehicles that have specific routes or regions in which they are driven, provide information regarding the areas where they will operate.
    • How you will refuel the vehicles or equipment and the location(s) of the fuel site(s) and an estimate of how much fuel these vehicles or equipment units will collectively consume each year. Note: To quickly calculate the Diesel Gallon Equivalents (DGE) or Gasoline Gallon Equivalents (GGE) for CNG, LNG, LPG, or electric kilowatt-hours (kWh), go to the California Energy Commission’s Energy Almanac web page.
    • Environmental, health, or other issues that you are trying to address
    • Other benefits that will be realized if your project is selected
    • Any additional information that you would like to provide

If your application is selected, you will be contacted regarding other needed documents, the grant agreement, and the next steps that will lead to the start of your project. Please note that no vehicle or equipment purchases, nor vehicle conversions, to be funded by this grant are to take place prior to the execution of a full grant agreement and subsequent written approval from the Illinois EPA.

Please mail the completed application and attachments to:

Illinois Environmental Protection Agency
Chicago Area Green Fleet Grants #6
P.O. Box 19276
Springfield, Illinois 62794-9276

If you have any questions that are not addressed in the provided materials, please call us at (217) 557-1441 or email Darwin Burkhart.