New California rules require electric vehicles

Ten other states have already adopted California’s ZEV program, nearly tripling the impact of California’s program on the electric-car market.

“California is putting the pedal to the metal on electric cars and healthier air by strengthening its clean-car standards,” said David Friedman, deputy director of the Union of Concerned Scientists’ (UCS) Clean Vehicles program. “With these new standards, California will give car buyers a real choice between the fuels of the past and the clean cars of the future.”

The newly approved standards address two of the most important environmental and public health threats facing the state by significantly reducing or eliminating heat-trapping emissions that drive climate change from cars and trucks, and contribute to unhealthy levels of smog and particulate pollution.

The package of initiatives will save Californians $22 billion through 2025, according to ARB analysis. By 2025, the program will create 21,000 new jobs across the state as consumers spend less on gasoline and shift that money to more productive parts of the economy. Individual consumers will save $4,000 over the life of the typical car sold in 2025, even after paying for clean car technology. The added cost of the technology improvements would be fully recovered from fuel savings within the first three years of owning the vehicle.

One key improvement to California’s clean car standards is the most significant change to the Zero Emissions Vehicles (ZEV) program in its 20-year history—requiring battery, fuel cell, and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles to account for up to 15 percent of California’s new vehicle sales by 2025. Overall, the program will result in more than 1 million such vehicles being sold in the state between 2018 and 2025.

"These robust, zero-emission vehicle standards will provide the market assurance automakers and the energy industry need to transform the electric vehicle into a mass-market success," said Don Anair, senior engineer with the UCS Clean Vehicles program. "This landmark initiative will strengthen California’s emerging electric vehicles industry, creating jobs and making zero-emission vehicles more affordable for consumers."

Ten other states have already adopted California’s ZEV program, nearly tripling the impact of California’s program on the electric-car market.

“A successful electric-car industry will further California’s legacy as a leader in economic and environmental innovation,” said Anair.

Another allows vehicles with a small gasoline engine and at least 75 miles of all-electric range, typically considered a range extender hybrid, to get the same credit as a pure battery electric car. This provision could reduce an automaker’s pure electric vehicle requirements by up to 50 percent.

"These provisions will require close scrutiny in the coming years to ensure they do not undermine the promise of the program for putting over 1 million electric cars on the road in California," said Anair.

Other complimentary measures adopted by ARB include:

Clean Fuels Outlet (CFO) rules that require oil companies to install hydrogen refueling stations as automakers ramp up sales of fuel-cell vehicles, ensuring consumers have access to fuel for these vehicles. The rules also require California to study infrastructure needs for vehicles that recharge from the electric grid.

A 75 percent reduction in smog-forming emissions from the tailpipes of new cars and light trucks, the near elimination of evaporative emissions, and a reduction in toxic particulate matter, all by 2025.

Global warming standards for vehicles built between 2017 and 2025 that require a reduction in a vehicle’s emissions to 166 grams per mile—about half of current levels and a 34 percent reduction from 2016 requirements. These new global warming pollution standards are part of a coordinated effort between California and federal agencies to establish a single, nationwide set of global warming pollution and fuel efficiency requirements for automakers. If federal global warming pollution standards remain on course, California will accept those standards as an alternative to its own. The state will still, however, maintain its separate vehicle smog, particulate, ZEV and CFO requirements.

“With this new, stronger clean cars program, California continues to be a model for the rest of the country,” said Friedman.