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California approves Advanced Clean Fleets regulation

28 April 2023

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) approved the Advanced Clean Fleets (ACF) regulation that requires a phased-in transition for California fleets toward zero-emission medium- and heavy-duty vehicles.

The ACF rule is intended to help California to fully transition the trucks that travel across the state to zero-emissions technology by 2045 “everywhere feasible”. It is a companion rule to the Advanced Clean Truck (ACT) regulation adopted in 2020. While the ACT rule imposes ZEV mandates for truck manufacturers to ensure that ZEV trucks become available, the ACF regulation ensures that ZEV trucks are purchased by California fleets.

Under the new rule, high priority fleets (large fleets and federal government agency fleets), along with state and local government fleets, will begin their transition toward zero-emission vehicles starting in 2024. The rule includes the ability to continue operating existing vehicles through their useful life (see our summary of February 2023 for more details).

Under an optional ZEV Milestone Phase-In program, fleets have the option to transition a percentage of their vehicles to meet expected zero-emission milestones, which gives owners the flexibility to continue operating combustion-powered vehicles as needed during the move toward cleaner technology. The flexibility is intended to take into consideration the available technology and the need to target the highest-polluting vehicles. For example, last mile delivery and yard trucks must transition by 2035, work trucks and day cab tractors must be zero-emission by 2039, and sleeper cab tractors and specialty vehicles must be zero-emission by 2042.

Due to the impact that truck traffic has on residents living near heavily trafficked corridors, all drayage trucks will need to be zero-emissions by 2035.

The Advanced Clean Fleets rule also includes a 100% ZEV requirement from 2036, when all Class 2b-8 vehicles sold in California must be ZEVs (except for authorized emergency vehicles).

The rule allows fleet owners to receive exemptions based on available technology.

CARB estimates that the ACT and ACF regulations together will result in about 510,000, 1,350,000 and 1,690,000 ZEVs in California in 2035, 2045, and 2050, respectively.

To support the needed infrastructure and services to make this transition, California agencies have committed to the Zero-Emission Infrastructure Joint Agency Statement of Intent. The Statement lays out the basic tools for direct communication and collaboration between CARB, the California Energy Commission, the California State Transportation Agency, California Transportation Commission, California Department of Transportation, the Department of General Services and the Governor’s Office of Economic and Business Development. These agencies will plan, develop, deploy and help to fund the extensive network of electric charging and hydrogen stations required to help get California to zero-emissions by 2045.

As part of the vote, Board members directed staff to coordinate with relevant state agencies on how non-fossil biomethane from sources related to the state’s wastewater and food waste diversion requirements under SB1383 can be used in hard-to-decarbonize sectors as part of the transition, and to report to the Board, by the end of 2025, any actions needed to accomplish the transition.

Source: CARB