California announced last month that beginning in 2024 it will begin transitioning to electric commercial and industrial trucks. By 2045, 100 per cent of trucks in the state must be electric. Energi Media interviewed Dr. Sydney Vergis, assistant division chief of the California Air Resources Board (CARB), about the new program. Canadians should pay attention because this is the direction Ottawa and several provincial governments are headed, with more sure to follow in the near future.
The new California rule drives technology and investment, phasing in available heavy-duty zero-emission technology starting in 2024 with full transformation over the next two decades, CARB said in a press release. This sends a clear signal to manufacturers, fleet owners and utilities that the time to invest in zero-emission trucks – and the economy – is now. It builds on California’s leadership as a manufacturer of zero-emission transportation.
“For decades, while the automobile has grown cleaner and more efficient, the other half of our transportation system has barely moved the needle on clean air,” said CARB Chair Mary D. Nichols. “Diesel vehicles are the workhorses of the economy, and we need them to be part of the solution to persistent pockets of dirty air in some of our most disadvantaged communities. Now is the time – the technology is here and so is the need for investment.”
Trucks are the largest single source of air pollution from vehicles, responsible for 70 percent of the smog-causing pollution and 80 percent of carcinogenic diesel soot even though they number only 2 million among the 30 million registered vehicles in the state.
This requirement to shift to zero-emission trucks, along with the ongoing shift to electric cars, will help California meet its climate goals and federal air quality standards, especially in the Los Angeles region and the San Joaquin Valley – areas that suffer the highest levels of air pollution in the nation. Statewide, the Advanced Clean Truck regulation will lower related premature deaths by 1,000.