Elon Musk may have threatened to remove his Tesla electric vehicles factories from California for its aggressive pandemic policies, but he’d better start thanking the state for its progressive environmental policies.
The California Air Resources Board adopted a new electric standard for cargo truck manufacturing at the end of June. By 2035, the Advanced Clean Trucks (ACT) Rule will require zero-emissions trucks, meaning large pickups, delivery, and semi trucks, make up a majority of big-rig truck sales.
Starting in 2024, truck makers have to start producing electric or other no-emission trucks in some capacity. State officials note there are already 70 different types of zero-emissions trucks, delivery vans, and buses available from different manufacturers.
For electric truck makers, like Tesla with its Semi truck, this will boost demand for their products — at least in California. Nikola just went public on the expectation of a forthcoming all-electric cargo truck and pickup truck. Both companies only make electric or zero-emission vehicles. The Tesla Semi is expected to have a 300- to 500-mile range. It was supposed to arrive by the end of 2020, but that timeline is unclear after all the coronavirus shutdowns.
Trucking and environmental advocacy groups lauded the decision. A Sierra Club representative wrote in an email statement, “The ACT Rule will ensure a steady supply of zero-emission trucks. It will serve as model regulation for addressing poor air quality and the climate crisis. The future of freight in California is electric.”
Others also emphasized the win for air quality. “California’s adoption of the nation’s first zero emissions truck standard is a historic moment for clean air,” Paul Cort, director of Earthjustice’s Right to Zero campaign, said in another statement.
The new rule is part of California’s goal to reach a 40 percent reduction in greenhouse gases by 2030 and then an 80 percent reduction by 2050. The state already set a requirement for zero-emission buses by 2040.