What can be achieved by ZEV adoption: Lessons learned from California

What can be achieved by ZEV adoption: Lessons learned from California

California has a significant number of zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) in comparison to other U.S. states.

In 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order mandating that all new passenger vehicles sold in the state be zero-emission by 2035. The goal of this order was to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and oxides of nitrogen emissions from cars statewide. Two years later, in 2022, Governor Newsom introduced a $10 billion ZEV package to support the adoption of clean-energy vehicles, including heavy-duty zero-emission vehicles and infrastructure. As a result, California has a significant number of zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) in comparison to other U.S. states.

While California was the first state to implement the Advanced Clean Truck Rule for heavy-duty vehicles, seven other states, such as Oregon, Washington, Vermont, and New York, have adopted the regulation; Maryland and North Carolina are in the process of doing so. The California Air Resources Board also initiated the Advance Clean Cars II Rule in 2022, which has guidelines for vehicle emissions and ZEV adoption.

Consider the potential benefits of broad Advanced Clean Truck Rule adoption:

  • Environmental Improvements: California has implemented 70 Climate Investment programs aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. These efforts have contributed to improved air quality, allowing for clearer views of natural landmarks such as the Sierra Nevada and the state’s coastline.
  • Public Health Initiatives: California’s Smog Check Program is directed at improving air quality, especially around major highways and ports. The heavy-duty inspection and maintenance program for trucks, initiated at the Port of Los Angeles in 2023, is projected by the California Air Resources Board to deliver significant health benefits. Additionally, parts of the ZEV package funds are allocated for low-income consumer purchases of zero-emission vehicles and expanding ZEV infrastructure in disadvantaged neighborhoods.
  • Industry Developments: In 2021, Irvine-based company Rivian released its R1T, an electric pick-up truck, which received necessary clearances for distribution across the U.S. other companies, including Chevrolet, GMC, and Ford, have since developed electric vehicle models.
  • Job Opportunities: The transition to zero-emission vehicles brings new job opportunities in various sectors. According to a 2023 Department of Energy report, the energy sector added almost 300,000 jobs from 2021 to 2022. In the same period, California reported the creation of 485,000 clean energy jobs.
  • Alternative Transport: Electric bikes and scooters are emerging as alternatives to traditional vehicles. The California Air Resources Board is preparing a $10 million e-bike incentive program, set to launch in the latter half of 2023, targeting Californians with specific financial criteria.

Overall, California’s initiatives illustrate the environmental and health benefits of adopting zero-emission vehicles and policies aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

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