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  • Writer's pictureMichelle

CPUC-Authorized Program to Spur Adoption of Electric Tractors

Gridtractor commends the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) on its recent decision authorizing $5 billion to be spent over 5 years beginning in 2025 toward electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) rebates. This is a big deal for spurring adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) and helping California reach its decarbonization targets. Gridtractor is excited to support customers in the agricultural sector as the rebate program is further designed and launched. In particular, Gridtractor found several sections of the framework adopted by the decision relevant to Gridtractor customers, including:

  1. 70% of funding spent in the first program cycle (called “FC1”) is earmarked for the medium and heavy-duty (MDHD) sector. This is relevant because tractors fall in the MDHD category according to the broad definition adopted by the decision.

  2. Higher rebates are authorized for disadvantaged communities (DACs). This is important for helping spur adoption of electric tractors in agricultural communities. For example, the poverty rate in California’s Central Valley is high even though its agricultural productivity is soaring. Gridtractor believes that the key to accelerating vehicle electrification in agricultural communities involves increased investment in R&D and rebates/incentives along with comprehensive technological support and planning services. The higher rebates offered by the FC1 program for DACs (and targeted outreach to rural communities discussed below in #4) will be significant to accelerating electric vehicle adoption in agricultural communities.

  3. The Commission adopts consideration of potentially higher rebates for small fleet customers. Tractor fleets tend to be on the smaller scale - fleet sizes ranging from 1-10 tractors, in comparison to transit or delivery truck fleets. A significant portion of farmers in California’s Central Valley are unlikely to adopt electric tractors without the support of rebates and targeted programs due to a lack of access to upfront capital.

  4. The decision authorized targeted outreach to rural communities. This is important because in Gridtractor’s exploration of farmers in California’s Central Valley, one of the main barriers to EV adoption is the lack of awareness of whether electric tractors can do the job of diesel tractors and do so reliably. Targeted outreach efforts on all fronts will be key to educating end-users on the availability and benefits of EVs.

  5. Lastly, a carveout of up to $25 million of the FC1 budget is authorized for targeted pilots to explore the best rebate design approach for reaching tribal communities or small fleet customers in DACs. Farmers (which typically operate small fleets of tractors in DACs) have unique challenges that may not be addressed via broad rebate design. Therefore, these targeted pilot programs to address the unique needs of customers in DACs will help further EV adoption where electrification has been more challenging.

Gridtractor is excited about the focus of the EVSE rebate program on the medium- and heavy-duty sector (e.g. electric tractors) and rural/disadvantaged communities, and is looking forward to participating in the upcoming stakeholder processes that will kickoff additional scoping and design of the program.


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