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California ARB approves ACC II rule; 100% of LDVs to be PHEVS, ZEV by 2035; LEV IV emissions requirements

The California Air Resources Board approved the Advanced Clean Cars II (ACC II) rule. The rule establishes a year-by-year roadmap so that by 2035 100% of new cars and light trucks sold in California will be zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs).


The ACC program was first adopted by CARB in 2012, including the Low-Emission Vehicle (LEV) III Criteria Regulation; the LEV Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Regulation; and the Zero-Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Regulation. ACC II establishes the next set of LEV criteria and ZEV requirements to reduce emissions of criteria air pollutants (including precursors) and GHGs from light- and medium-duty vehicles in California further.

The main objective of ACC II is to maximize criteria emission reductions from internal combustion engine vehicles (ICEVs), while accelerating the transition to deployment of ZEVs through both increased stringency of requirements and associated actions to support wide-scale ZEV adoption and use.

The new LEV IV Criteria Regulation will aim to reduce emissions by tightening standards where necessary and adding requirements that translate to real-world emission benefits, such as ensuring that cold-start emissions are well-controlled, revising medium-duty vehicle standards to cover a broader range of in-use driving conditions, and strengthening emission standards for aggressive driving.

In addition to increasing the new vehicle sales requirements to 100% plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and ZEVs by 2035 in California, ACC II aims to ensure that ZEVs will eliminate emissions from conventional engines by being fully capable of replacing conventional vehicles for all drivers, for both new and used markets, and through requirements for manufacturers to provide consumers comparable information, durability, and access to maintenance and repairs for ZEVs as for conventional engines.

These requirements include ZEV assurance measures, such as requiring a consumer-facing battery state of health indicator, adding ZEVs into existing service information requirements, and adding useful life and minimum warranty requirements for ZEVs.

Many states and nations have set targets and goals to phase out the sale of internal combustion cars. California’s is the most aggressive regulation to establish a definitive mechanism to meet required zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) sales that ramp up year over year, culminating in 100% ZEV sales in 2035.

ZEV. The new regulation accelerates requirements that automakers deliver an increasing number of zero-emission light-duty vehicles each year beginning in model year 2026. Sales of new ZEVs and PHEVs will start with 35% that year, build to 68% in 2030, and reach 100% in 2035.

The regulation applies to automakers (not dealers) and covers only new vehicle sales. It does not impact existing vehicles on the road today, which will still be legal to own and drive.

Plug-in hybrid, full battery-electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles count toward an automaker’s requirement. PHEVs must have an all-electric range of at least 50 miles under real-world driving conditions. In addition, automakers will be allowed to meet no more than 20% of their overall ZEV requirement with PHEVs.

Battery-electric and fuel cell vehicles will need a minimum range of 150 miles to qualify under the program, include fast-charging ability and come equipped with a charging cord to facilitate charging, and meet new warranty and durability requirements.

The new regulation also takes regulatory steps to assure that ZEVs can be full replacements to gasoline vehicles, hold their market value for owners, and that used car buyers are getting a quality vehicle that will not pollute.

By model year 2030, the rules require the vehicle to maintain at least 80% of electric range for 10 years or 150,000 miles. (Phased in from 70% for 2026 through 2029 model year vehicles.) By model year 2031, individual vehicle battery packs are warranted to maintain 75% of their energy for eight years or 100,000 miles. (Phased in from 70% for 2026 through 2030 model years.) ZEV powertrain components are warranted for at least three years or 50,000 miles.

Increasing Access to Zero-Emission Vehicles. Governor Newsom proposed, and the Legislature has approved, $2.7 billion in fiscal year 2022-23, and $3.9 billion over three years, for investment in ZEV adoption, as well as clean mobility options for California’s most environmentally and economically burdened communities. These programs support the new regulation by increasing access to ZEVs for all Californians, including moderate- and low-income consumers. They include:

  • Clean Cars 4 All provides up to $9,500 to low-income drivers who scrap their older vehicles and want to purchase something that runs cleaner.

  • The Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP) provides up to $7,000 for income-qualified drivers to buy or lease a ZEV.

  • The Clean Vehicle Assistance Program provides low-income car buyers with special financing and up to $5,000 in down-payment assistance.

  • The Governor’s ZEV budget includes $400 million over three years for the statewide expansion of Clean Cars 4 All and for a suite of clean transportation equity projects. The budget also includes $525 million for the Clean Vehicles Rebate Project (CVRP). In addition, there is $300 million for more charging infrastructure, especially for those consumers who may not have a garage where they can charge their EV.

LEV IV. Existing LEV III standards require the light-duty vehicle fleet to meet a declining fleet average standard for non-methane organic gases and oxides of nitrogen (NMOG+NOx) that reaches 0.030 grams per mile in the 2025 model year. Currently, manufacturers factor in all ICEVs, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), and ZEVs when calculating compliance with the LEV fleet average regulation.

As ZEV sales grow, automakers could (under the current standards) increase emission rates from conventional vehicles and continue to meet the existing emission standards. To prevent any potential backsliding, LEV IV maintains the fleet average at 0.030 grams per mile beyond the 2025 model year, while gradually phasing-out ZEVs from the NMOG+NOx fleet average by the 2029 model year.

This proposal will guarantee that ICEVs will not backslide on emissions as they will be required to meet a fleet average of 0.030 grams per mile on their own in 2029 and subsequent model years, regardless of how many ZEVs are sold.

Staff is also proposing new rules that will clean up or eliminate the highest-emitting vehicles in the fleet. To account for emissions during urban driving, existing regulations allow manufacturers to certify ICEVs using the urban Federal Test Procedure (FTP) test cycle in discrete emission bins, ranging from 0.020 grams per mile to 0.160 grams per mile. LEV IV eliminates the dirtiest FTP emission certification bins and add cleaner emission bins to provide more options for manufacturers to certify vehicles at lower emission levels. As a result, this will move the ICEV fleet to cleaner emission bins by reducing the upper limit to 0.070 grams per mile and extending the lower limit to 0.015 grams per mile.

LEV IV also reduces the US06 PM standard from 6 mg.mike to 3 mg/mile. Certification data indicate that more than 80% of current vehicles already emit below 3 mg/mile on the US06 cycle. Therefore, the aim is to clean up the worst emitting vehicles and to ensure those that are already cleaner do not get worse.

Other modifications include:

  • The new rules also regulate cold-start emissions during a broader range of driving conditions than current certification tests.

  • Reducing the evaporative emission running loss standard from 0.05 grams per mile down to 0.01 grams per mile.

  • Special sealed non-integrated refueling canister only system (NIRCOS) gasoline tanks are common on PHEVs (and some HEVs). The carbon canister is one of the main components of an evaporative system and absorbs and stores gasoline vapors. ARB staff found that these canisters may be undersized sometimes for real world driving conditions. The new rules specify a minimum canister size for vehicles with a NIRCOS fuel system and other vehicles which have fuel tank pressure exceeding a specified threshold.

  • Requiring that chassis certified medium-duty vehicles (MDVs) with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) above 14,000 lbs meet a new in-use requirement like the heavy duty (HD) moving average window (MAW) requirement. The test procedures and standards for this new in-use requirement will be similar to those adopted as part of the HD Low NOx Omnibus rulemaking adopted by the Board at the August 2020 board hearing. This proposal would ensure emissions are adequately controlled during all engine operations that occur on-road, especially during towing.

  • Lower fleet average emissions standards for medium-duty fleet.

  • Requiring all vehicles to certify aggressive driving emissions using a stand-alone standard for the aggressive test cycles such as the US06 or hot 1435UC/LA92 cycle depending on the category to which the vehicle is certified.


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