Electric trucks get real boost from California with new zero-emission truck program

Electric trucks get real boost from California with new zero-emission truck program

California has adopted its new zero-emission truck program, which should help accelerate electric truck production and deployment.

In many markets, trucks represent an important source of pollution.

It’s certainly the case in California, where trucks are responsible for “70 percent of the smog-causing pollution and 80 percent of carcinogenic diesel soot even though they number only 2 million among the 30 million registered vehicles in the state.”

In order to remedy the situation, the California Air Resource Board has officially adopted a clean-truck standard – the first of its kind.

CARB Chair Mary D. Nichols commented on the initiative:

“For decades, while the automobile has grown cleaner and more efficient, the other half of our transportation system has barely moved the needle on clean air. Diesel vehicles are the workhorses of the economy, and we need them to be part of the solution to persistent pockets of dirty air in some of our most disadvantaged communities. Now is the time – the technology is here and so is the need for investment.”

The program is similar to CARB’s ZEV program for passenger cars, which has made California the leader in EVs in the US.

The clean truck proram will force manufacturers of Class 2b (larger pickup trucks) to Class 8 chassis (semi trucks) to gradually increase the percentage of electric trucks they sale starting in 2024.

They wrote in the new program:

“Zero-emission truck sales: Manufacturers who certify Class 2b-8 chassis or complete vehicles with combustion engines would be required to sell zero-emission trucks as an increasing percentage of their annual California sales from 2024 to 2035. By 2035, zero-emission truck/chassis sales would need to be 55% of Class 2b – 3 straight truck sales, 75% of Class 4 – 8 straight truck sales, and 40% of truck tractor sales.”

The regulation is estimated to bring over 300,000 electric trucks, including 17,000 semi trucks, to California by 2035.

By 2045, they want every new truck sold in California will be zero-emission.

Electrek’s Take

While this sounds like great news, I’m not sure it will have a great impact – certainly not anything like the ZEV regulations had on passenger electric cars.

They are giving truck manufacturers a break by only starting the requirements in 2024 even though several electric trucks are expected to come out in the next few years.

I think those electric trucks, like the Tesla Cybertruck, which is a class 2B, and Tesla Semi, which is a class 8, are going to be popular regardless of the new rule and likely cover the requirements.

Tesla even argued with CARB that the requirements for class 2B vehicles should be included sooner into the program because of electric pickups, like the Cybertruck, coming to market as soon as 2021.

In short, I think all-electric trucks are going to get so much better than diesel trucks in the next few years that all new trucks are going to be electric by 2045 regardless of this new program.

As a matter of fact, I think all new trucks are going to be electric by 2030.

It’s quite simple. As soon as they enable long distances, which seems around the corner, and the cost of ownership drops below diesel trucks, it would make no sense for a fleet operator to buy anything else.

What do you think? Let us know in the comment section below.

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