The California Air Resources Board (CARB), on August 25, 2022, voted to pass the second version of the state’s lengthy and complex zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) regulations, now on the point of completely eliminating the sale of conventional gas-powered vehicles. by 2035. The regulations, which are part of the Advanced Clean Cars II proposal, accelerate sales of required ZEVs that automakers must deliver each year, increasing year-on-year from 2026. new ZEVs (up to 20% of which may be in hybrid electric vehicles) are expected to account for 35% of new car sales in 2026, rising to 68% in 2030 and 100% in 2035.
Already in California, ZEVs are on the rise. In the second quarter of 2022, ZEVs accounted for 16.5% of new car sales in California, up from 12.4% last year. But California’s new rule is expected to have far-reaching effects beyond its borders. California is the largest automotive market in the United States, accounting for 11% of the national market for new vehicle sales. More than a dozen other states generally follow California’s lead when setting their own auto emissions standards, accounting for a combined 40 percent of the nation’s new-vehicle sales market. It can therefore be expected that the new regulations will affect car manufacturers who sell cars all over the country.
Additionally, California’s announcement is part of the state’s ZEV market development strategy and commitment to invest $2.7 billion in fiscal year 2022-23, plus 3, $9 billion over the next three years, in ZEVs. At the federal level, the Infrastructure Investment and Employment Act (IIJA) and Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) are expected to provide ZEV-related benefits, including funding to help develop infrastructure refueling. To date, California has more than 70,000 public (or shared private) electric vehicle chargers and 60 public hydrogen fueling stations.
CARB approved the first iteration of its Advanced Clean Cars program in 2012, which requires automakers to reduce emissions from internal combustion engine vehicles and increase the number of ZEVs and plug-in hybrids sold in California. CARB completed a mid-term evaluation of the Advanced Clean Cars program in 2017, concluding that complementary policies should be extended to help the growing ZEV market and directing staff to develop higher standards for the year model 2026 and beyond.
Governor Gavin Newsom issued Executive Order N-79-20 in September 2020, setting the goal of phasing out sales of new gasoline vehicles in California by 2035. The U.S. Clean Cars II ZEV regulations combine regulatory work underway to directive under the Governor’s Executive to produce the next iteration of California’s advanced vehicle standards.
Section 209 of the Clean Air Act (CAA) allows the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to grant California a waiver to set its own vehicle emissions standards, which may be more stringent than those of the federal government. Section 177 of the CAA allows other states to adopt these same standards. To date, 17 states have adopted some or all of California’s vehicle regulations, with 15 states adopting the ZEV regulations. In March, the Biden administration reinstated California’s Section 209 waiver, which had previously been halted under the Trump administration.
Sales requirements for new zero-emission electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids
As noted above, the new ZEV regulations set accelerated annual targets for sales of new ZEVs and plug-in hybrids from 2026 to 2035 to maximize the sale of clean passenger vehicles (see figure below). Under the regulations, ZEVs include fully battery electric vehicles and hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles. Plug-in hybrid vehicles – vehicles with a rechargeable battery but also a standby petrol engine – are also permitted (subject to limitations) to maximize emissions reductions. Automakers can achieve up to 20% of their annual target with plug-in hybrids, provided the vehicles have at least an all-electric range of 80 km. Like the original Advanced Clean Cars program, the annual goals below apply to automakers (not dealerships) and do not affect existing vehicles, which will remain legal to own and drive.
Standards Required for the Sale of New ZEVs to Accelerate Adoption and Increase Consumer Confidence
The new regulations include a variety of additional regulatory measures (ZEV assurance measures) to increase consumer confidence in ZEVs as a full replacement for familiar gasoline vehicle options.
For example, new ZEVs under the regulations must have at least 150 miles of electric range and be designed to retain the majority of that range over a 10-year period. The regulations also establish new minimum warranty requirements that display the health status of the vehicle’s battery to the owner (or used car buyer) to remove any uncertainty about the condition of the vehicle’s battery. the vehicle battery. New ZEVs must be sold with a charging cord that allows Level 1 or Level 2 charging and must meet at least one fast charging standard.
Recognizing that other states may adopt California’s ZEV requirements, CARB continues to allow automakers to “bundle” excess electric values into ZEVs and plug-in hybrids in a state that has adopted California’s ZEV requirements. ZEV to be used for compliance in another state, up to a capped permit through the 2030 model year. CARB says this will ease the burden of complying with California ZEV requirements” by helping manufacturers manage year-to-year fluctuations in vehicle volumes in California.”
Additionally, the settlement includes a new environmental justice component that allows automakers to earn compliance credits when they participate in certain efforts to increase affordable access to ZEVs in communities most affected by air pollution. related to transport. Options for automakers include: (1) selling ZEVs or plug-in hybrids at a discount through community clean mobility programs, (2) supplying ZEVs or plug-in hybrids outside leasing to dealerships for the purpose of participating in a low-income ZEV financial relief program market, or (3) pricing ZEVs or plug-in hybrids under $20,275 for passenger cars and $26,670 for light trucks.
Stricter emission standards for other gasoline vehicles
Along with changes to the ZEV component of the Advanced Clean Cars II regulations, CARB also voted to further tighten emission standards for the remaining internal combustion engine vehicles (the LEV regulations). Under the old LEV regulations, ZEVs could be included in fleet average calculations for emissions standards. However, with a significant increase in ZEV sales on the horizon, CARB voted to remove ZEVs from certain emissions calculations to avoid a potential “emissions rollback” from conventional gasoline vehicles. In the future, conventional gasoline vehicles will have to meet the standards without the advantage of ZEVs in the calculation of the average fleet. The new LEV regulations also focus on tightening emissions control standards for aggressive driving scenarios and cold starts (when the car’s engine is colder than its normal operating temperature), where the majority occur. vehicle emissions.
With these new goals and supporting regulatory measures, California becomes one of the first jurisdictions to establish a legally binding and enforceable roadmap for a future without new gas-powered vehicles. State regulators estimate the new rule will reduce smog-forming pollution from light-duty vehicles by 25% by 2037 and greenhouse gas emissions from light-duty vehicles by more than 50% by 2040, compared to levels of reference.
Then, CARB will submit the regulatory package to the California Office of Administrative Law (OAL) for review and approval. California will also seek a waiver from the EPA to enforce the regulations, to the extent required by CAA Section 209, and will provide the regulations as part of California’s implementation plan to achieve national federal standards. ambient air quality (NAAQS). It is expected that the 17 states currently following some or all of California’s vehicle regulations through CAA Section 177 will seek to independently adopt the new regulations through their own state-level processes.