California push for zero-emissions heavy trucks starts in 2024

The goal is to curb the state’s largest source of air pollution.
Ann Smajstrla
A. Smajstrla|06.27.20

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A photo of a Nikola zero-emission semitruck.
Nikola

The state of California is requiring all trucks to be zero-emission beginning in 2024, thanks to a new mandate from the California Air Resources Board. The regulation, which CARB calls the “first in the world,”is meant to be a step towards California meeting its long-term emissions goals.

The rule would apply specifically to medium- and heavy-duty trucks weighing 8,500 pounds or more. Under the mandate, every new truck sold in California will be zero-emission by 2045, according to CARB. It further states that by 2035 the state will have an all zero-emission short-haul drayage fleet in ports and railyards, and that by 2040 there will be zero-emission “last-mile” delivery trucks and vans. 

CARB says trucks account for 70 percent of the smog-causing pollution and 80 percent of carcinogenic diesel soot in California, making them the biggest source of the state’s air pollution. The state is aiming for a 40 percent reduction in greenhouse gases by 2030, an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gases by 2050 -- so, it makes sense bold mandates would be put forth to meet bold goals.

The mandate is just the latest in changes that would make zero-emission trucks more common on the highway. A group of electric utility companies in California, Oregon and Washington state are currently working to propose an EV-truck-friendly highway through the West Coast Clean Transit Corridor Initiative. More vehicle manufacturers, including Nikola, Toyota and Tesla. are trying to be part of the solution by working to get electric semi-trucks onto the market. 

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