Already leading the United States in most electric vehicles (EV) registered, California had more than 1,900 medium- and heavy-duty zero emissions vehicles (ZEV) on the state’s roads as of July, according to regulators. 


In the fall of 2020, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order (EO) requiring all new vehicle sales be ZEVs by 2035, adding a $3.9 billion funding package for EVs last fall to accelerate the transition. 

Setting Newsom’s EO in stone, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) on Thursday issued a rulemaking on the Advanced Clean Cars II proposal. 

“The Advanced Clean Cars II rule bans the sale of new internal combustion passenger cars, SUVs and pickups,” a spokesperson for CARB told NGI. The legislation would ensure car manufacturers comply with ZEV sales goals such that by 2030, 70% of all new vehicle sales in the state are ZEVs, followed by 100% in 2035. 

CARB estimates this move could result in avoiding the equivalent of 915 million bbls of oil worth of greenhouse gas (GHG) emission from 2026-2040. 

The California Energy Commission (CEC) also created an interactive dashboard that tracks the state’s progress on ZEV registrations for light-, medium- and heavy-duty vehicles.

“California is the new Michigan when it comes to zero-emission vehicle manufacturing, and we are the lead state for deployment of these vehicles whether it’s an electric car, a fuel cell transit bus or an electric delivery van,” said Commissioner Patty Monahan. “These new tools will track our progress toward meeting state goals for zeroing out harmful pollution from transportation and will help identify gaps to ensure all communities are benefitting.”

According to the Medium- and Heavy-Duty ZEV dashboard, California has added 1,943 medium- and heavy-duty ZEVs to the state’s roads as of July, including 1,369 buses, 306 trucks and 268 delivery vans.

Chinese automaker BYD Co. Ltd. is currently the top manufacturer for medium- and heavy-duty ZEVs in the state. It has sold more than 400 trucks and buses across California so far this year, according to CEC’s dashboard.

Since the start of the fiscal year, the state also has seen more than 160,000 sales for light-duty ZEVs, representing nearly 16.5% of total vehicle sales so far in 2022. As of 2021, CEC reported that Tesla Inc. was the top light-duty ZEV manufacturer in the state in terms of sales. 

CEC noted that the state also fosters more than 40 manufacturers of ZEVs and related equipment. According to CARB, the state is now the No. 1 ZEV market in the country.

“There are massive funding and complementary regulations on their way to accelerate the transition of trucks in California to zero-emission technologies and to cleaner air in communities that need it the most,” said CARB Chair Liane Randolph. 

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Most recently, Newsom proposed to earmark $6.1 billion of the state’s $308 billion 2022-2023 budget to be spread over six years for decarbonizing the transportation sector. This is more than one-tenth of the $53.9 billion included in the draft budget for climate-related initiatives. 

Nationwide Funding

Meanwhile, with the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) signed into law last week by President Biden, the electric vehicle industry, and the transportation sector as a whole, could see some major developments. 

Analysts from Rystad Energy estimate the recently signed legislation could push the nation’s yearly EV sales up to 8 million by 2030 based on tax incentives included in the law. In 2021, U.S. EV sales more than doubled year/year to reach 630,000, according to global energy watchdog International Energy Agency.

The act gives consumers tax credits of up to $7,500 to purchase a new light-duty or a smaller medium-duty EV, or up to $4,000 for a used EV.

What’s more, the law provides $3 billion through 2028 to fund the development of “advanced technology vehicles,” with low or no GHG emissions. The act also allocates $2 billion through 2031 for domestic production of hybrid, plug-in electric hybrid, EVs and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles

The funding programs in the IRA would seek “lowering energy costs” and “building a clean energy economy,” the White House said after the bill’s passing. Similar to Newsom’s 2020 EO, the Biden administration last year announced it would target 50% of all new light-duty vehicle sales be ZEVs by 2030.