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California Air Resources Board unanimously adopts Advanced Clean Cars Package

ACC combines three sets of regulations to reduce emissions from light-duty vehicles and build the market for advanced zero emission vehicles. Source: ARB. Click to enlarge.

In a unanimous vote on Friday, the California Air Resources Board (ARB) adopted the Advanced Clean Cars (ACC) regulatory package (earlier post), launching California into another round of major automotive regulations for model years 2015-2025 that are designed to deliver cleaner air, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and to help build the future market for battery-electric and fuel-cell electric vehicles.

This package of regulations is both visionary and absolutely feasible,” said Mary Nichols, ARB Chairman, at the opening of the hearing on the rules on Thursday. “The goal is to accelerate a transition already in process and to make sure it succeeds. This marks a new chapter in the history of ARB.

This program will make the cleanest cars and the new technologies commonplace. The Advanced Clean Cars package will help clean our air, help us fight climate change, and perhaps most important for average citizens, save thousands of dollars over the life of the vehicles. It also gives use the ability to brag that we are the clean car capital of the world.

—Mary Nichols

The Advanced Clean Cars program has been in development over the past three years and comprises three main packages of regulations, formulated as amendments to existing regulatory programs:

  • LEV III combines the control of soot and smog-causing pollutants (down to a SULEV level) and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions into a single coordinated package of requirements for model years 2017 through 2025.

    On the criteria pollutants side, LEV III reduces fleet average emissions of new passenger cars (PCs), light-duty trucks (LDTs) and medium-duty passenger vehicles (MDPVs) to super ultra-low-emission vehicle (SULEV) levels by 2025.

    The replacement of separate NMOG and oxides of nitrogen (NOx) standards with combined NMOG plus NOx standards. The combined ROG+NOx standard will decline from 0.100 for passenger cars and light-duty trucks and 0.119 for light-duty trucks and medium duty passenger vehicles in 2015 to 0.030 for all vehicle categories by 2030.

    Life durability requirements are increased from 120,000 miles to 150,000 miles.

    The regulation also reduces the PM standard to 0.001 gram per mile, phasing in to 100% compliance by 2028 for all light-duty vehicles. (The stringency of the PM standard was a topic of some discussion during the Board meeting, bute the Board chose to run with the regulation as proposed by staff, and monitor and review the level (and compliance technologies), especially given data anticipated from current European efforts to regulate particle number instead of mass.)

    The new regulation also implements zero fuel evaporative emission standards for PCs and LDTs, and more stringent evaporative standards for medium-duty vehicles (MDVs).

    The greenhouse gas standard approved today builds on California’s first-in-the-nation standard that was later incorporated in 2010 by the federal government as part of a national program. The new rules strengthen the greenhouse gas standard for 2017 models and beyond. They were developed in tandem with the federal government over the past three years, including a joint fact-finding process with shared engineering and technical studies.

    The current California program constitutes a separate set of rules with minor variations due to separate legal structures but is designed to parallel the proposed federal joint rulemaking the Obama administration announced last summer. Once the proposed federal standards are adopted, they will be deemed sufficient for compliance in California. This responds to the desire for a streamlined set of rules for new cars and light trucks and creates a single national program for manufacturers that addresses both greenhouse gas and fuel economy standards.

    The new standard drops greenhouse gas emissions to 166 grams per mile, a reduction of 34% compared to 2016 levels. This will be achieved through existing technologies, the use of stronger and lighter materials, and more efficient drivetrains and engines.

  • The modified Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) regulation—the “technology-forcing piece” of the package—requires minimum numbers of battery electric and fuel cell electric vehicles to be sold into California, with an anticipated target of 15.4% of new vehicles by 2025 (i.e., one in 7 new cars). Other advanced cars (such as hybrids) are relegated to LEV III.

    The ZEV regulation will result in more than 1.4 million ZEVs on the road by 2025 in order to be on track to reach the 2050 greenhouse gas reduction goal. A transitional model—the plug-in hybrid car—will play a significant role over the next 20 years, but by mid-century, 87% of cars on the road will need to be full zero-emission vehicles to achieve climate goals, according to ARB.

    The new ZEV regulation moves to a simplified scheme for credits based on zero emission range; for example, a 100-mile battery-electric vehicle receives 1.5 credits, while a 300-mile fuel-cell electric vehicle receives 3.5 credits.

    There is a new category—BEVx—for battery-electric vehicles with a small range-extender (i.e., a limp-home capacity, not a Volt-like capacity).

    A special provision allows automakers who overcomply with the GHG fleet standard (under LEV III) to offset their ZEV requirements from 2018-2022. Manufacturers must overcomply by at least 2gCO2e each year for all four years.

    This provision also generated substantial discussion as it was feared that it would reduce the number of real ZEVs on the road.

  • The modified Clean Fuels Outlet (CFO) regulation is intended to assure ultra-clean fuels such as hydrogen are available to meet vehicle demands brought on by these amendments to the ZEV program.

    The CFO regulation required the construction of alternative fuel outlets for a particular fuel when there are 20,000 alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs) using that fuel. The modified CFO adds a 10,000-vehicle activation trigger that would apply to an air basin before the statewide trigger of 20,000 is reached. The lower trigger complements auto manufacturers’ early commercialization plans to marketing FCVs in regional clusters.

    Since the trigger is activated by automakers’ projections, the regulation assigns a penalty for undercompliance, if ARB can prove that the automakers knowingly falsified the report.

    As an alternative to the CFO,automakers, industrial gas suppliers, NGOs and the state are negotiating a Memorandum of Agreement to support up to 100 stations. If the MOA succeeds, the requirement to build stations is zero, and the CFO sunsets for hydrogen. If the MOA process fails, CFO requirements are in force.

    The regulation requires evaluation of EV charging infrastructure needs by the end of 2014.



Stan Peterson

I welcome a portion of the the new regulation. Reducing toxic emission levels to T2B2 or pristine air is welcome and thus ends the journey and search for cleaner and cleaner vehicles.

When ICE cars equal EVs for cleanliness, as these new end-all regulations mandate, and even exceeed EVs by cleansing the air in addition, we have reached the logical endpoint of needing regulations.

The Job is done. Let us move on to address other problems that we need address.

The stupid, irrelevant, and wholly uneccessary regulation of GHGs for a now disproven hypothesis of the mid 20th century, serves only as a justification for continued large CARB existence.

CARB's job will be done with LEV III emissions levels, other then as a much smaller agency to merely inforce regulations first offered by the automotive industry to CARB, in lieu of other stupid regulations, like quotas on types of vehicles, and is already being being met in the marketplace with new car models.

Once again the power mad, cloacalcavities in CARB have decreed what the auto makers must produce. the have decreed yet another "Gold Star" program of quota required vehicles by motive type, irrespective of technology availability or price acceptable to buyers.

I hope the automakers call their bluff and tell them to take their production quotas and stuff them where the Sun doesn't shine,and force them to cave.

CARB was created and chartered to clean the Air. Now taht the job is nearing completion, they are on a mission to find new reasons for continued existence, and bring their view of Utopia to the World for no reason except to maintain and grow their bureaucratic empires. Mary Nichols and Doctor Quack, deserve a gold watch and a hearty well done, while being pensioned off into deserved obscurity.

Stan Peterson

CARB's raison d'etere has expired with the posting of the LEV III portion of the proposed regualtions. Their JOB is done. The Air is getting Cleaner and will be absolutely Pristine, when the auto fleet meets the pristine air requirements of sub T2B2 or CARB-speak SULEV II levels.

Unlike any other regulation, LEV III is essentially a dead letter merely codifying what exists today. The entire fleet will likely be compliant the day it goes into force, since 25% of the existing auto fleet already complies with the proposed LEV III specifications and the entire fleet will turn over before it is in force. Current new car models have been and are compliant today with the LEVIII regulation to go into effect in 2017-2025.

All the rest is pure dreck and uneccessary. CAGW is fully disproven and not in their charter in any case. California's contribution to GHGs is miniscule and irrelevant and the North American continent emits no CO2 on net.

Utopian visions of how the World must be, and how its automobiles must be powered, irrespective of techological readiness, or cost and price acceptability to buyers, are not their charter either.

The power-mad cloacal cavities in CARB are desperately casting about for some reason and justification to continue their bureaucratic empires. Normal businesses cease when no longer needed. The buggy whip makers are defunct, but when does a government agency ever die, when no longer needed?

It is time to fashion a silver spike to drive into the heart of the CARB Vampire.

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