Policy update

California’s Advanced Clean Trucks regulation: Sales requirements for zero-emission heavy-duty trucks

On June 25, 2020, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) adopted the final rule for new standards that require the sale of zero-emission heavy-duty trucks (HDTs), starting with the 2024 model year. The Advanced Clean Trucks (ACT) regulation, first of its kind in the world to require manufacturers to sell increasing percentages of zero-emission trucks, is expected to reduce the lifecycle emission of greenhouse gases (GHGs) and eliminate tailpipe emissions of air pollutants. Zero-emission purchase requirements targeting commercial truck fleets operating in California are expected in the next few years.

The ACT rule requires the sale of zero-emission or near zero-emission HDTs starting with the manufacturer-designated model year 2024. Sales requirements are defined separately for three vehicle groups: Class 2b-3 trucks and vans, Class 4-8 rigid trucks, and Class 7-8 tractor trucks. The regulation is structured as a credit and deficit accounting system. A manufacturer accrues deficits based on the total volume of on-road HDT sales within California in a given model year. These deficits must be offset with credits generated by the sale of zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) or near zero-emission vehicles (NZEVs).

Since California holds a sizeable share of the HDT market in the United States, this regulation will have implications far beyond the state’s borders. The truck brands that represent the majority of sales in California sell in multiple regions around the world. As these companies look to disperse their research and development costs by introducing similar technology platforms across international markets, California’s ACT regulation is expected to accelerate the deployment of zero-emission and near zero-emission HDTs globally.

Figure 1