Alternative Fuel Vehicle Finance Initiative

In early 2013, C2ES, in partnership with the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO) and with funding from the U.S. Department of Energy's Clean Cities Program, began a two-year initiative to develop innovative finance mechanisms aimed at accelerating the deployment of AFVs and fueling infrastructure. As part of this initiative, C2ES has assembled an advisory group of experts on AFVs, infrastructure, and finance from the public and private sectors to help guide its work. The AFV Initiative aims to:

  • Identify barriers that hinder private sector investment;
  • Develop innovative vehicle and infrastructure financing models to make AFVs more accessible to consumers and fleet operators; and
  • Stimulate private sector investment in AFVs and associated infrastructure deployment, building upon investments previously made by the public sector.

The initiative’s first output was a white paper on the financial barriers.  C2ES also finished the first of two case studies on business models that could be applied to the AFV market. The next steps are to finish the second case study and develop business models that state partners can consider piloting at the project’s conclusion:

Why focus on AFVs?

Decreasing reliance on petroleum has important economic, security, and environmental benefits for the United States. The nation’s dependence on foreign oil comes at a high price. In 2011, the U.S. transportation sector consumed 71 percent of the country’s petroleum supplies. Dependence on oil in transportation makes the United States subject to price shocks largely outside of its control since it is a globally priced commodity. Researchers at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory estimate the total economic loss associated with oil dependence in the United States was $2.1 trillion from 2005 to 2010. These economic losses are due to oil price shocks and oil market influence by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). From an environmental perspective, motor vehicles are also responsible for half of smog-forming air pollutants, about 75 percent of carbon monoxide emissions, and more than 20 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.

Most AFVs do not rely on petroleum, are more energy efficient than their conventional counterparts, and have lower or no tailpipe emissions. However, market volatility, technological uncertainty, information failures, and regulatory hurdles and uncertainty – each of which can vary by fuel type – have stymied AFV and infrastructure deployment. Recent large investments by the federal government in AFVs and other clean technologies will be winding down in the coming years. New private financing mechanisms are therefore needed to fund these vehicles and associated infrastructure to enable wide-scale adoption.

AFV Advisory Group

C2ES has assembled an advisory group of experts on AFVs, infrastructure, and finance from the public and private sectors to help guide this initiative. The AFV Advisory Group provides valuable expertise on barriers to private investment in alternative fuel vehicles and fueling infrastructure and possible solutions. Members also will help disseminate lessons learned and will work with C2ES and other project partners to implement recommendations, including piloting new business models developed through the initiative. The AFV Advisory Group serves in an advisory capacity only and does not explicitly endorse any project content.

AFV Advisory Group members include:

Black Coral Capital


Coalition for Green Capital

Colorado Energy Office*

DBL Investors

General Electric

General Motors

Google, Inc.

Johnson Controls, Inc.

National Association of State Energy Officials*

New York State Energy Research and Development Authority*

NRG Energy

Office of the Oklahoma Secretary of Energy

Puget Sound Clean Air Agency


State of California


Transportation Energy Partners*

Trillium CNG

* Indicates project partner