California readies regulations for zero-emission truck fleets

California is getting ready to put regulations in place for truck fleets that run on zero emissions

California is getting ready to put regulations in place for truck fleets that run on zero emissions

  • On Monday, the California Air Resources Board released new draft language for the Advanced Clean Fleets regulation. This rule will require medium and heavy-duty truck manufacturers to sell only zero-emission vehicles beginning in 2040.
  • This updated proposal follows a series of public workshops that happened last year. The new proposal includes requirements for the purchase of electric vehicles by state, municipal, and drayage fleets as well as federal agencies and private operators with more than 50 trucks starting in 2024. This does not include package delivery vehicles.
  • Electric vehicles are becoming more popular, but electric trucks are not very common yet. David Aspinwall, from a company that makes charging systems for buses, trucks, and electric vehicles in general, says that electric trucks are still in their early stages of production.

CARB's proposed ACF regulation states that all trucks added to the California fleet must be zero-emission vehicles beginning Jan. 1, 2024. All internal combustion engine vehicles must be removed from the California fleet by Jan. 1 of the year following the end of the vehicle’s minimum useful life. This is defined as ranging from 13 to 18 years or 800,000 miles.

California is looking to increase the number of electric trucks in use through its sustainable freight action plan. This plan was created in 2016 in cooperation with the ACF and advanced clean truck regulations. The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach together emit more than 100 tons a day of smog- and particulate-forming chemicals, while diesel-powered trucks and trains create cancer risks and contribute to the region’s haze.

However, the electrification of truck fleets is just beginning. Fleet operators are trying to figure out how this will work. For recharging, some trucks will operate in local service, returning daily to a warehouse or other facility where they can be charged. Over-the-road trucks will require charging stations en route.

A year ago, the first public charging station for box vans and semi-trucks opened in the U.S. This charging station was a partnership between Daimler Trucks North America and Portland General Electric. One of the people involved in this project, Aspinwall, said that "Right now there’s a limitation on the size of batteries and thus the amount of power that the batteries can take." He also said that "the capabilities of chargers are growing quite dramatically." However, he expects that most of the electric truck market will be focused on inner-city and last-mile delivery in the near term.

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