Motiv Power Systems Influences Policy Makers to Release $500 Million in CARB Funding for Truck and Bus Pilots


”While California’s political leadership claims to care about the environment, public health, and economic growth, the investment signals are not aligned with the stated goals. Until our governor and legislators recognize the urgency of sustainable funding for proposed programs, these plans are not worth the paper they’re printed on, and will remain unrealized fantasies. If you are a California resident who values clean air and a sustainable future, call your state representatives today and remind them that funding delays are unacceptable, and that you support fully funding our state’s low carbon transportation plans.” – Charged Electric Vehicles Magazine


Motiv Power Systems is a California-based company that manufactures all- electric chassis used in medium- and heavy-duty vehicle applications, such as delivery trucks, work trucks shuttle buses, and school buses.


To reduce the overhead of scoring grants and support a more significant number of projects, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) combined the Fiscal Year 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 allocations for Truck and Bus Pilots. In March of 2016, Motiv and its partners won three grant solicitations from the California Air Resources Board (CARB) funded by the 2016-2017 California budget. Motiv’s share of these grants totaled $12.4 million.

However, due to political negotiations, the funding for all EV programs run by CARB was pulled out of the June budget signed by the governor, as that funding was held up by the broader debate about the state’s Cap-and-Trade future. The lack of urgency of the state legislature about the specific fiscal year meant it was uncertain that the EV programs, including Motiv’s grants, would be funded in the September budget trailer bill. Motiv’s funding for the grant projects was already public. If the money was pulled, the company would not only lose its largest orders, it would signal to private investors would be the market was not yet ready for prime time.


The legislature was uncertain about the value of these programs, which were critical to Motiv. In addressing the funding uncertainty, there were two key audiences the company needed to influence. First, the legislative members responsible for allocating funds and were delaying them based on the Cap-and-Trade debate. Second, the CARB staff who were responsible for making cuts if the allocation of the funds failed to pass. Technica Communications worked with Motiv’s Director of Marketing & Business Development Urvi Nagrani, to draft, edit and publish two opinion pieces in Charged EV magazine and Fleets & Fuels that described the role of these funding programs within the Cap-and-Trade portfolio. The timing of the placement matched the August recess and allowed it to reach stakeholders before members returned for budget negotiations at the end of the legislative session. The specificity of the placement in influential industry outlets frequently read by stakeholders and industry professionals ensured that other companies in a similar situation and also lobbying for their funds, had a public piece to reference. This helped align other industry stakeholders on Motiv’s talking points during the remaining lobby days in the session, resulting in a unified message from a chorus of industry voices.


Ultimately, this thought leadership campaign increased California’s legislative and regulatory awareness of specific at-risk programs within the portfolio of projects funded by the Cap-and-Trade program. The think pieces accelerated and bolstered discussion and planning around funding and assisted in the reauthorization of SB32. Ultimately this allowed Motiv to raise its profile as a thought leader within industry coalitions while moving forward with planned projects that had been stalled. The full Charged EV Magazine article can be found here. Since the second article’s publication, Fleets and Fuels as discontinued publication.

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