California Flips Switch Toward Electric Trucks

On June 26, 2020, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) adopted the Advanced Clean Truck rule, a first-of-its-kind regulation requiring medium and heavy duty truck and van manufacturers to transition to producing zero-emission electric trucks. Beginning in 2024, CARB will require manufacturers’ new truck sales in California to be comprised of a certain percentage of zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs). For example, 9% of new class 7 and class 8 trucks (the largest classes of trucks) in model year 2024 must be zero-emission and that percentage must increase to 75% by 2035. For vehicles in the tractor group, 5% of sales must be zero-emission in 2024, reaching 40% by 2035. CARB further announced that by model year 2045 every new truck sold in California must be a ZEV.

Manufacturers may begin generating “credits” for the sale of zero-emission trucks beginning with model year 2021 and those credits may be saved and applied toward future years’ sales requirements. These credits may also be traded or sold to other manufacturers for their use. However, all such credits expire by model year 2031. Manufacturers are required to report annually to CARB both their zero-emission truck sales data and any information regarding credit transfers, beginning with model year 2021. CARB further has the right to audit manufacturers’ records and a civil penalty may be levied for failure to comply with the rule’s requirements.

According to the final environmental document released on June 23, 2020, CARB is taking this action to help the state meet its greenhouse gas emission reduction targets and to improve air quality.

Beveridge & Diamond's Transportation practice helps clients address challenges associated with balancing ever-increasing transportation demands and environmental impacts and regulations, as well as anticipate emerging legal and regulatory issues, such as those associated with electric vehicles and charging infrastructure. For more information on the topics covered in this article, please contact the authors.