California approves 1st-in-US electric truck sales rule

California regulators approved new rules on Thursday that would force automakers to sell more electric work trucks and delivery vans, a first-of-its-kind rule aimed at helping the nation’s most populous state clean up its worst-in-the-nation air quality.

Posted: Jun 26, 2020 10:55 AM

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California regulators approved new rules on Thursday that would force automakers to sell more electric work trucks and delivery vans, a first-of-its-kind rule aimed at helping the nation’s most populous state clean up its worst-in-the-nation air quality.

The rules require a certain percentage of work truck sales each year to be zero emission vehicles. By the time its fully implemented in 2035, the board estimates at least 15% of the 1.2 million trucks on the road would run on electricity and that it would create thousands of new jobs.

Over 100 people called into the California Air Resources Board’s meeting Thursday, mostly offering their support during hours-long public comment. Dozens said their neighborhoods were choking on air pollution from diesel fuel, particularly threatening the lung health of poor and minority communities, which has gained more prominence amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“California is once again leading the nation in the fight to make our air cleaner, becoming the first place in the world to mandate zero emission trucks by 2045,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a statement. “Communities and children of color are often forced to breathe our most polluted air, and today’s vote moves us closer toward a healthier future for all of our kids.”

Supporters included a group representing environmental agencies from eight states in the Northeast, from New York to Maine, whose officials said it would create a road map for reducing emissions on trucking routes and propel the market toward electrification.

“It’s the only way we think we can make significant progress on the most stubborn air pollution problems,” said Mary Nichols, chair of the board. “This will have a really transformational impact not just in our state but around the world when people see that it can be done.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Regulators said they were determined to quickly address fears electric trucks would go unsold, aiming to establish rules next year that would require companies to purchase zero emission trucks from manufacturers, meant to ensure there is demand for the supply.

The Truck and Engine Manufacturers Association argued the new rule would eventually “collapse” because there are not enough charging stations.

“They cost more than traditional fuel trucks, because there’s no charging infrastructure and developing one is very expensive,” Jed Mandel, president of the association, said during public testimony. “And there is inadequate incentive funding available.”

Meanwhile, a representative for Tesla, which is preparing electric pickup truck and semitruck models for production in 2021, endorsed the measure. “Charging infrastructure can and will be built,” said Andy Schwartz, a policy advisor at Tesla.

Work trucks and delivery vans, while just a small fraction of all vehicles on the road, are some of the largest sources of air pollution in the transportation sector. They travel many more miles than passenger vehicles and often have diesel engines, which are more powerful but produce more pollution than gasoline engines.

California has lots of these trucks on the road because it is home to two of the largest ports in the world at Los Angeles and Long Beach, where heavy duty trucks are constantly hauling freight to and from warehouses in the Inland Empire while spewing harmful pollutants into the air.

The American Lung Association’s State of the Air report for 2020 said seven of the 10 most ozone-polluted cities in the U.S. are in California, with 98% of its residents living in counties with poor air quality.

The rules, which would not take effect until 2024, will require at least 40% of all tractor trailers sold in California to be zero emission by 2035. For smaller trucks, including models like the Ford F-250, 55% of all sales would be zero emission by 2035. The standard is the toughest for delivery trucks and vans, with 75% of sales required to be zero emission by 2035.

California already has similar rules in place for passenger vehicle sales. But no one has yet imposed rules like these for work trucks, which unlike passenger vehicles are purchased with the intent of returning a profit.

At the last minute, the board also set a goal of making government fleets and last mile delivery trucks entirely electric five years earlier than previously envisioned, by 2035.

Critics argue requiring the industry to sell more electric trucks won’t succeed without first requiring companies to buy more of them. Staff for the board said work on such rules is ongoing and added that demand already exists for bulk orders of electric trucks.

Nichols said the board plans to adopt rules next year requiring fleets to have a certain percentage of electric trucks.

“First you have to make sure the engines and the trucks are going to be available, then you have to ensure there is a market for them,” she said. “We’re proceeding methodically to make that happen.”

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 526685

Reported Deaths: 9684
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles1958054760
Riverside38487738
Orange38066653
San Bernardino34017477
San Diego30516568
Kern21228151
Fresno15759138
San Joaquin11958180
Alameda11909192
Santa Clara11030192
Sacramento10174148
Tulare9990193
Imperial9513232
Stanislaus9308135
Contra Costa8176131
Ventura787777
San Francisco698961
Santa Barbara652663
San Mateo5744120
Marin518076
Monterey496634
Merced458351
Kings445356
Solano380638
Sonoma311339
Madera211432
Placer195318
San Luis Obispo192616
Yolo161442
Santa Cruz11964
Butte10128
Napa9809
Sutter8406
San Benito6894
El Dorado6681
Lassen6320
Yuba5334
Shasta3979
Colusa3574
Mendocino3419
Glenn3321
Nevada3161
Tehama2461
Humboldt2454
Lake2111
Mono1451
Tuolumne1442
Amador1370
Calaveras1361
Del Norte900
Siskiyou880
Inyo641
Mariposa592
Plumas330
Trinity50
Modoc40
Sierra30
Alpine20
Unassigned00
Chico
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 68°
Oroville
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 68°
Paradise
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 68°
Chester
Clear
54° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 54°
Red Bluff
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 73°
Willows
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 68°
It was a slightly cooler day for northern California today, but a more significant cooling is arriving tomorrow, along with a slight chance for showers and thunderstorms over the mountains of northwest California.
KHSL Severe
KHSL Radar
KHSL Temperatures

Community Events