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CARB adopts Advanced Clean Fleets rule; 100% medium- and heavy-duty ZEV sales starting in 2036

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) adopted the Advanced Clean Fleets rule (earlier post), which will require a phased-in transition to zero-emission medium-and-heavy duty vehicles.

While trucks represent only 6% of the vehicles on California’s roads, they account for more than 35% of the state’s transportation-generated nitrogen oxide emissions and a quarter of the state’s on-road greenhouse gas emissions. California communities that sit near trucking corridors and warehouse locations with heavy truck traffic have some of the worst air in the nation.

California is set to invest almost $3 billion between 2021 – 2025 in zero-emission trucks and infrastructure. This investment is a part of a $9-billion multi-year, multi-agency zero-emissions vehicle package to decarbonize equitably the transportation sector.

Under the new rule, fleet owners operating vehicles for private services such as last-mile delivery and federal fleets such as the Postal Service, along with state and local government fleets, will begin their transition toward zero-emission vehicles starting in 2024. The rule includes the ability to continue operating existing vehicles through their useful life.

Due to the impact that truck traffic has on residents living near heavily trafficked corridors, drayage trucks will need to be zero-emissions by 2035. All other fleet owners will have the option to transition a percentage of their vehicles to meet expected zero-emission milestones, which gives owners the flexibility to continue operating combustion -powered vehicles as needed during the move toward cleaner technology.

The flexibility is intended to take into consideration the available technology and the need to target the highest-polluting vehicles. For example, last mile delivery and yard trucks must transition by 2035, work trucks and day cab tractors must be zero-emission by 2039, and sleeper cab tractors and specialty vehicles must be zero-emission by 2042.

The rule also allows fleet owners to receive exemptions based on available technology to make sure fleet owners continue to replace their older polluting trucks with ones that have the cleanest engines in the nation. There are already about 150 existing medium- and heavy-duty zero-emission trucks that are commercially available in the US today.

The Advanced Clean Fleets rule includes an end to combustion truck sales in 2036, a first-in-the-world requirement that factors in public commitments to transition to zero-emission technology by truck manufacturers, potential cost savings for fleets, and accelerated benefits for California communities. The rule also provides fleet owners flexibility and provides regulatory certainty to the heavy-duty market.

An analysis of the sales and purchase requirements estimates that about 1.7 million zero-emission trucks will hit California roads by 2050. To support the needed infrastructure and services to make this transition, agencies across government have committed to the Zero-Emission Infrastructure Joint Agency Statement of Intent.

For more than a decade, California has been making investments in infrastructure and to support the development and adoption of zero-emissions vehicles. The Joint Statement of Intent lays out the basic tools for direct communication and collaboration between CARB, the California Energy Commission, the California State Transportation Agency, California Transportation Commission, California Department of Transportation, the Department of General Services and the Governor’s Office of Economic and Business Development. These agencies will plan, develop, deploy and help to fund the extensive network of electric charging and hydrogen stations required to help get California to zero-emissions by 2045.

As part of the vote, board members directed staff to coordinate with relevant state agencies on how non-fossil biomethane from sources related to the state’s wastewater and food waste diversion requirements under SB1383 can be used in hard-to-decarbonize sectors as part of the transition, and to report to the Board, by the end of 2025, any actions needed to accomplish the transition.

Advanced Clean Fleets follows the 2020 adoption of the Advanced Clean Trucks rule (earlier post), which put in place a requirement for manufacturers to increase the sale of zero-emission trucks and its waiver was recently granted by the Biden Administration’s Environmental Protection Agency.



The report fails to discuss the expected re-charge price point (and to a lesser degree the capital/ repair costs) that would need to be acceptable in order to maintain at least 50% of the roadway-cargo-transportation business size as it is today - if having that industry matters - maybe it doesn't. How many of these businesses are under a few $million in revenue - couriers? speciality food companies? Saying that this needs to be done because of alleged 'worst in the nation' air quality is not saying the air quality is bad just that it is 'relatively low'. This is an endlessly moving target and not supported by what the regular person considers reasonable. The environment 'first' and economy 'whenever' will eventually bite the region at some point - especially if funding, if ever, needs to be brought in from a federal level.

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