Published : Monday, February 11, 2019 | 4:35 PM
As more companies resort to green fuel technologies, growth in the commercial truck and bus industries in California have surged significantly in recent years.
So says, Calstart, a Pasadena-based nonprofit organization that’s working nationally and internationally to develop clean and efficient transportation solutions.
A report in the trucking industry website Trucks.com quotes Calstart as saying green trucking and transport now account for at least 10,000 jobs in the state. A decade ago, there were only a few hundred such jobs in the industry.
Including green passenger car makers like Tesla and Karma Automotive, the total of jobs would reach over 20,000, the report said.
A Calstart tally shows more than 50 companies in California are now involved in manufacturing electric commercial vehicles and parts or providing support for those manufacturers.
In 2017, only 20 California manufacturers were building zero- and low-emission trucks and buses, according to the California Air Resources Board.
Chinese electric bus and truck manufacturer BYD now employs more than 800 at its U.S. headquarters in Los Angeles and its electric bus and truck facility in Lancaster, Calif. That’s up from a few dozen in 2014.
Proterra, a large electric bus company, moved its headquarters to Burlingame, Calif., from North Carolina in 2015. It now employs more than 250 at a new bus plant in Industry Calf., and at a new research office and electric vehicle battery pack manufacturing plant in Burlingame, according to the report.
Other companies hiring in the sector include: Thor Trucks, a startup that develops batteries and all-electric chassis for Class 8 trucks; and Lion Electric, a Canadian electric school bus manufacturer that opened a plant in Sacramento last year.
The report said more new technology and manufacturing businesses are moving to California because of new rules mandating more zero-emission trucks and buses.
Bill Van Amburg, executive vice president of Calstart, said many of the new jobs in the electric truck and bus industry are well-paying blue- and white-collar posts – mostly engineering, software and design professionals, and manufacturing, electrical installation, sales, and repair and maintenance workers.
“One surprise is that we’re seeing this bring back manufacturing jobs, which had been going out of state,” Van Amburg told Trucks.com. “They are coming here because this is an early launch state for electric buses and trucks.”