07 Jul 2020

California’s zero-emissions trucking rule demystified


Dr. Karthik Balakrishnan

President and Co-Founder

On June 25, 2020, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) passed Resolution 20-19 mandating that by 2045 every new truck sold in California will be zero-emissions, as part of the state’s strong push to accelerate the adoption of electric transportation. California's holistic goal, mandated by SB 350, is to reduce total emissions in the state by 80% from 1990 levels over the next three decades, and the new trucking mandate is a significant component of that plan.

The first ZEV sales targets come into effect starting in 2024. To pick this date, CARB looked at where ZEV truck R&D is today, and when such trucks are expected to be readily available for purchase. From 2024 onward, the ZEV targets increase annually based on the class of truck:


Note that the sales target requirements above end at 2035; this is because CARB has not yet set the specific year-by-year targets from 2035-2045, instead opting to wait and see how truck technology evolves over the next 15 years. The figure below shows where we think CARB will eventually set ZEV sales requirements beyond 2035 in order to reach their 2045 goals.


The table at the bottom shows the detailed percentage of trucks sold that need to be Zero Emissions each year from 2024-2035. While their goal is to achieve 100% ZEV sales by 2045, CARB has not yet formalized this goal in their target table, instead in each class set by CARB.

The CARB rules are not exclusive to California. Several other states are following the CARB rules. In fact, over 22% of commercial truck sales occur in states that follow CARB’s requirements. It’s simpler for manufacturers to adopt the CARB standard across the board than to support extra variants. As goes California so goes the nation.


There are several ways to make this switch pay off financially for truckers, fleet operators, and owners of facilities including truck stops and warehouses, even with the costs of changing to zero emissions vehicle (ZEV) fleets. With over three years until the regulation begins, there is ample time for forward-looking operators to plan the integration of these new vehicles into their fleets and operations. Soon, we’ll explore how fleet, infrastructure, and warehouse operators can take advantage of these mandates to generate a windfall for their businesses.

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Illustration by Stefan Gustafsson.

Percentage of new trucks sold that must be zero-emissions by CARB mandate


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