Featured image: Tesmanian
California regulators have approved new rules that would see a massive shift from conventional gas and diesel trucks and vans to ones powered by batteries and zero-emission hydrogen fuel cells.
The first-of-their-kind guidelines, that will take effect in 2024, cover a wide range of truck segments, from medium-duty models up to the "big rigs", which transport huge quantities of goods throughout California and across the country. Current recommendations from the California Air Resources Board (CARB) are already forcing manufacturers to add electric and hydrogen trucks to light-duty segments.
"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," Governor Gavin Newsom said in a Thursday statement.
California has long pushed auto and truck manufacturers to reduce emissions. The state has considerable sway, not only because of the size of its market but also because of a waiver enacted under the federal Clean Air Act.
According to approved guidelines, by 2024, at least 40% of tractor trailers sold in California will need to be equipped with some kind of zero-emission technology. Medium-duty trucks, such as the Ford F-250 or Chevrolet Silverado HD, would be required to switch over 55% of their sales by 2035; and 75% of delivery trucks and vans would have to use zero-emissions powertrain technology by 2035, a point by which fully 100% of government fleets and last-mile delivery trucks would have to meet the target.
For a smooth transition, it will be necessary to expand the charging network. Electrify America announced it had completed a network of chargers spanning the first of two cross-country routes it expects to power up this year alone. ChargePoint and EVGo also plan to expand their charging network.
“Charging infrastructure can and will be built,” said Andy Schwartz, a policy adviser for Tesla. Tesla, meanwhile, has already launched and continues to expand an extensive charging network throughout North America, planning to strengthen its Supercharger network. The company is preparing to increase its impact, both in the domestic market and beyond. Also, they will soon roll out their pickup truck Cybertruck and a large truck Semi, which, in combination with the new California plan, should strengthen the already high demand for Tesla vehicles.