CARB passes nation’s strictest truck emissions standards

June 26, 2020

Tyson Fisher

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The California Air Resources Board passed the Advanced Clean Trucks regulation, establishing the nation’s strictest truck emissions standards for manufacturers.

On Thursday, June 25, CARB voted to move forward with the Advanced Clean Trucks regulations, which expedites the transition to zero-emission trucks for Class 8 vehicles. The new regulation requires truck manufacturers to increase the percentage of their zero-emission truck sales.

According to the regulation, manufacturers that certify Class 2b-8 chassis or complete vehicles with combustion engines will be required to sell zero-emission trucks as an increasing percentage of their annual California sales from 2024 to 2035. By 2035, 75% of Class 4-8 straight truck sales and 40% of truck tractor sales must derive from zero-emission truck/chassis sales.

Larger fleets are also affected by the Advanced Clean Trucks rule.

Fleets with 50 or more trucks will be required to report about their existing fleet operations. This information would help identify future strategies to ensure that fleets purchase available zero-emission trucks and place them in service where suitable to meet their needs, according to CARB.

Addressing concerns about availability of electric trucks, CARB states that there are more than 70 models of zero-emission vans, trucks and buses commercially available. It goes on to claim that most trucks and vans operate less than 100 miles per day and several zero-emission configurations are available to serve that need.

Opposition from the trucking industry

The Advanced Clean Trucks act attracted a lot of attention from both those supporting it and those opposed. Nearly 600 comments were received during three separate comment periods.

In its comments, the Truck and Engine Manufacturers Association argued that zero-emission trucks are not ready for prime time.

“In essence, CARB’s pending (Advanced Clean Trucks) proposal would put the cart before the horse by mandating that manufacturers sell an increasing percentage of zero-emission heavy-duty and medium-duty vehicles (ZEVs), without first ensuring that the requisite ZEV recharging infrastructure and ZEV-purchasing requirements will be in place,” the association stated. “Until those two critical legs of what should be a three-legged rulemaking are established, the proposed ACT regulation is likely to collapse.”

The Motor and Equipment Manufacturers Association supports the idea of the Advanced Clean Trucks rule but finds issues with how the goals are being achieved.

In its comments, MEMA states the proposed targets are too aggressive. Originally, CARB set the sales target at 50% for Classes 4-8 straight trucks and 15% for Class 7-8 tractors before increasing those to 75% and 40%, respectively.

“While MEMA generally supports extending these sales requirements beyond 2030 to demonstrate continuity of these requirements, MEMA strongly recommends setting more realistic targets,” MEMA said in comments. “Achievable targets are particularly important for model years 2024-30 when the (heavy duty) industry is going through its learning curve with perfecting and correcting these important (heavy duty) technologies. MEMA recommends, at a minimum, CARB maintain the original sales percentage requirements for (model years) 2024-30, rather than revising them upward per the revision proposed May 1, 2020.”

The California Trucking Association also offered broad support to transitioning to electric trucks.

Much like MEMA, CTA is also concerned about the ambitious sales targets. However, CTA voiced those concerns back when the sales targets were lower.

“CARB estimates that electric and plug-in hybrid electric cars made up 7.8% of new light duty sales in 2018,” CTA said in comments submitted in December. “Achieving up to 50% of Class 4-8 vocational and 15% Class 2b-3/Class 7-8 tractors new sales as electric-drive capable by 2030 would require technology to advance at a pace we have not seen in the light duty market, where such vehicles have already been commercialized and whose performance expectations are dramatically lower.”

In a statement sent to Land Line, Chris Shimoda, CTA’s vice president of government affairs, said the following: “In order to ensure the nation’s first electric truck standard can succeed there is a lot of work that needs to be done on infrastructure, incentives and other important issues. In the midst of a coming recession, having the state’s support to incentivize the purchase of these vehicles has never been more important.”

Tyson Fisher

Tyson Fisher joined Land Line Magazine in March 2014. An award-winning journalist and tireless researcher, his news reports, features and blogs bring depth to our editorial content, backed with solid detail. Tyson is a lifelong Kansas Citian.