On April 28, 2023, CARB approved a first-of-its-kind rule to help put California on a path towards accomplishing Gov. Gavin Newsom’s goal of fully transitioning the trucks that travel across the state to zero-emissions technology by 2045. Specifically, CARB approved its Advanced Clean Fleet (ACF) regulation which will require local government medium and heavy-duty fleets to begin a phased-in transition to zero emission vehicles (ZEVs). In doing so, CARB established a number of exemptions and extensions to the ACF and laid out its fundamental implementation timeline requiring 50 percent of all newly purchased medium-duty and heavy-duty vehicles to be ZEV starting January 1, 2024 and 100 percent starting January 1, 2027.
The ACF applies to fleets owned by State, local, and federal government agencies, as well as high priority fleets. State and local government fleets, including city, county, special district, and State agency fleets, are required to ensure 50 percent of vehicle purchases are zero-emission beginning in 2024 and 100 percent of vehicle purchases are zero-emission by 2027. Small government fleets (those with 10 or fewer vehicles) and those in designated counties would start their ZEV purchases beginning in 2027. State and local government fleets may purchase either ZEVs or near-ZEVs, or a combination of ZEVs and near-ZEVs, until 2035. Starting in 2035, only ZEVs will meet the requirements.
A number of changes were made to provide more flexibility for State and local government, including:
1. Per the ZEV Milestone Phase-In Option, State and local governments are also able to use the optional ZEV milestone phase-in option that provides flexibility for fleets to prioritize the phase-in of ZEVs based on suitability.
2. Divisions that have 10 or fewer vehicles, or agencies that are in certain designated counties will remain exempt from the ZEV purchase requirement until 2027.
3. State and local government fleets may now count Near Zero-Emission Vehicles (NZEVs) the same as ZEVs, for the purposes of determining compliance, until 2035. An NZEV is defined as a plug-in hybrid vehicle with a minimum all-electric range.
4. The ZEV Purchase Exemption allows fleets to delay adding certain vehicles to the fleet if they are not yet available and includes two options to use the exemption.
5. The Daily Usage Exemption allows fleets to delay adding certain vehicles to the fleet if they are not yet available and would now include two options to use the exemption.
6. The Infrastructure Delay provision allows fleet owners to receive an extension if the installation of infrastructure at their site was delayed for reasons outside of their control and they took steps to start the project one-year ahead of the next compliance date.
7. Per the Mutual Aid Exemption, fleets that have mutual aid agreements (e.g., public fleets and utilities) would be able to purchase internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles for up to 25 percent of their fleet. Access to this option was improved by reducing the ZEV threshold before a fleet owner could claim the exemption to purchase ICE vehicles and the provision was expanded to allow for ICE vehicle purchases in all vehicle weight classes. The ZEV threshold was reduced from 75 percent ZEVs to a phased in threshold where fleet owners would become eligible if exceeding 25 percent ZEVs until 2032, 50 percent until 2035, and 75 percent thereafter.
“Once again California is leading the nation and the world with a regulation that sets ambitious but achievable targets for ZEV sales. Rapidly accelerating the number of ZEVs on our roads and highways will deliver substantial emission and pollution reductions to all Californians, especially for those who live near roadways and suffer from persistent air pollution,” said CARB Chair Liane Randolph. “The regulation includes ground-breaking strategies to bring ZEVs to more communities and is supported by the Governor’s ZEV budget which provides incentives to make ZEVs available to the widest number of economic groups in California, including low- and moderate-income consumers.”
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Prior to joining the firm, Priscilla practiced as a civil litigator in both private practice insurance defense and in-house representation, during which she used her litigation experience to counsel companies on methods to limit potential liability exposure in areas of labor and employment law as well as overall corporate governance. Over her career, Priscilla has represented public entities, priv...