California are getting serious about reducing air pollution, approving a new proposal that tackles emissions from semi-trucks, delivery trucks and buses.
Trucks currently account for as much as 50% of greenhouse gas emissions when including emissions from fuel production, and more than 95% of toxic diesel particulate matter emissions.
To tackle this issue, the California Air Resources Board are mandating that if you make trucks, a majority of them need to be zero-emission by 2035. Going further than that, in by 2045, 100% need to be zero-emissions.
Given how large the Californian market is, this decision is likely to have widespread consequences. Given the economics of vehicle manufacturing, a new regulation like this, in a high-volume state like California, will likely mean it’ll be unviable for truck and bus manufacturers to make anything else but zero-emission.
The large R&D effort required to make a new vehicle needs to be focused, now more than ever in today’s economy, so having multiple efforts run in parallel is unlikely.
In an Australian context, we import virtually all of our vehicles, so if truck manufactures are going electric (or hydrogen) then we need to prepare to see them on our roads. That also means we need to consider new truck stops, ones that facilitate rapid fast charging at an entirely new scale than we’ve seen with electric ars.
Zero emission trucks, also includes those who are heading down the hydrogen path, like Nikola Motors.
It is an interesting approach to tackle this from the supply side, rather than mandating that trucking company’s purchase a certain level of zero-emission vehicles.
California’s goals are pretty aggressive:
- 40% reduction in greenhouse gases (GHG) by 2030;
- 80% reduction in GHGs by 2050; and
- 50% reduction in petroleum use by 2030
The newly approved Advanced Clean Truck Regulation includes:
- Zero-emission truck sales: Manufacturers who certify Class 2b-8 chassis or complete vehicles with combustion engines would be required to sell zero-emission trucks as an increasing percentage of their annual California sales from 2024 to 2035.
By 2035, zero-emission truck/chassis sales would need to be 55% of Class 2b – 3 truck sales, 75% of Class 4 – 8 straight truck sales, and 40% of truck tractor sales.
- Company and fleet reporting: Large employers including retailers, manufacturers, brokers and others would be required to report information about shipments and shuttle services.
Fleet owners, with 50 or more trucks, would 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, there is as many as 70 different models of zero-emission vans, trucks and buses that already are commercially available from several manufacturers.
In terms of businesses affording the new vehicles which do attact a higher up-front cost, there are several funding programs are available to support the use of advanced technologies which come from federal, state, and local districts.