The California Air Resources Board passed a regulation to ban diesel trucks and require all medium- and heavy-duty trucks to have zero-emission engines by 2036, with a mandate for companies with truck fleets of 50 or more to convert all vehicles to zero-emissions by 2042.
The Air Board passed this regulation with NO assurance that the energy infrastructure required to support this shift would be ready in time. The board members acknowledged that the move would be more disruptive than the ban on gas-powered cars, with the technology and costs for zero-emission long-haul trucks still evolving and no guarantees that the technological advances would be completed or that infrastructure would be available.
They passed this regulation based on an aspirational goal supported with hope.
The ruling is set to affect 1.8 million trucks operating in California. Industry representatives raised concerns that the regulation is not feasible. The California Trucking Association has stated that the need for over 300 DC fast chargers to be installed every week and difficulties connecting to the electric grid in rural regions make the regulation unfeasible.
Representatives from the agricultural industry also expressed concerns about the regulation, citing cost burdens on producers, competitive disadvantages with other states, untested zero-emission vehicle models for specialty vehicles used on farms, and disruptions to the industry that could jeopardize food security.
City, county, and transportation experts questioned how quickly the state’s energy grid operators can ramp up the electricity supply while rapidly installing high-powered chargers throughout the state. Until this infrastructure is in place, there remains considerable uncertainty surrounding California’s move towards zero emissions for all trucks.
With all the numerous concerns, the Air Board members remained confident that the technology and infrastructure would be invented, tested, and implemented by the deadlines they set for the trucking industry.